Top Takeaways from 2022 for Conscious Gear
Technically I legalized my business in early 2021 but 2022 felt more like the ‘real’ first year of my business and these are my key takeaways.
Ten Traction points for the biz
- Winning $10k at the late Fall 2021 Arizona State University Demo Day pitch event was monumental and provided me with the confirmation that I was on the right track and financial resources to work on design innovations that I can be proud of.
- I was selected to be a part of the first cohort of REI’s Path Ahead Venture Embark accelerator facilitated by Founded Outdoors which came with a $10K grant, forever indebted to this experience, it was the first time I felt affirmed as a black and queer founder in the outdoor industry.
- I was selected to be a part of Target’s Advancing Design Diversity Pro Bono program where they leveraged their connections to manufacturers to help me secure manufacturing that will allow me to grow and scale. Priceless and a real example and demonstration of equity from a major brand. The target team was amazing, I’m forever thankful.
- One of the selected ventures to receive 12 weeks of action-oriented one-one-mentoring through Arionoza State University’s Venture Devils Accel Plus program (Marty & Stephanie are the best)
- Member of the fourth cohort for Waypoint Accelerator in North Carolina, I hope the east coast is ready for me.
- Social Media counts have gone up this year, what started out as less than a hundred, my numbers are climbing even though I’ve neglected this super duper important part of the business
- We’ve finally landed on the hydration vest design that I feel confident about sharing with the public but this was 7th or 8th iteration, who’s counting?
- The Quaterbuck Campaign will be launched in January 2023 after months and months of planning in 2022. The idea came to me back in 2020 but it has taken this long for me to be brave enough to execute it.
- I have finally fallen in love with Conscious Gear. I’ve been in a relationship with this new venture for nearly three years and I hope that next year Conscious Gear puts a ring on it, metaphorically speaking.
- Truth is this, I don’t honor this about myself very often but I’m a writer and a damned good one. I’m learning to use this hidden skill to elevate my brand and tell my story. It’s amazing to see with just a few blogs I’m already seeing the invaluable benefits of truthtelling.
Books in 2022 that helped me become a better person, I love to read
- The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
2. Talking to Humans by Giff Constable
3. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
4. The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford
5. Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis
6. Uphill: A Memoir by Jemelle Hill
7. Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine by Robert Lustig
8. Collective wisdom: lessons, inspiration, and advice from women over 50 by Grace Bonney
9. Rooted In the Earth by Dianne D. Glave
10. The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto
Bonus Book: Oona by Kelly DiPucchio
Charlotte’s top ten favorite tv/movie moments because I’m not a big television watcher
- Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls
- Snowflake Mountain
- Kindred (based on the novel by the late Octavia Butler)
- Doubling Down with the Derricos (the largest black family I’ve ever known)
- Wakanda Forever
- Rap Sh&t
- The Bridgerton’s
- A Black Lady Sketch Show
- POSE — the best thing on television EVER
Ten personal development lessons learned in 2022 that will forever guide my steps
- As an entrepreneur, I need to remember that my vision is for me and I can’t expect others to embrace my vision with the same level of passion and commitment.
- Social media is definitely important to any new business but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle and garnering organic support from those that really believe in your brand will have more benefits than follower counts.
- As sad as this realization is, I had to learn that the outdoor industry is a microcosm of mainstream society and is steeped in systemic racism.
- As a bigger-bodied person, I have experienced anti-fat phobia my entire life but to see how it manifests itself on my entrepreneurial journey has often felt dehumanizing and downright discouraging.
- I know I need capital to continue building my business but what has become even more important is building community for the business.
- As a creator of hydration vests designed by and for bigger bodies, I would discover that hydration vests have been relegated to outdoor enthusiasts and endurance athletes yet it dawned on me that ordinary people can too benefit from wearable hydration.
- As I deal with the inner workings of foreign manufacturing, it has inspired me to really think about creating my own manufacturing plant in the US, so I don’t have to be dependent on production that happens outside our country.
- Before 2022, I never considered myself a designer but with over a hundred different creations made over the last three years, I’ve had to admit to myself that I am a designer and there’s a part of me that really loves the creative process.
- I’ve learned to have mad respect for founders of businesses in the outdoor industry because it’s a tough business and to succeed one must invest high amounts of blood, sweat, and tears to make it.
- Last but certainly not least, FAILURE has nothing to do with my capacity to be successful, it is merely a bump in the road as I move closer and closer to success. I learned in 2022 to not be afraid to fail but to use it as insight and fodder to make better decisions so I can get things done right the next time.
Special thanks to my forever-President, President Obama whose post about takeaways inspired me to write this blog post. I invite and encourage everyone to take a moment to collect your key takeaways from 2022, you’ll be glad you did, peace and blessings!