As a women-owned business, we want to shine light on women breaking barriers in the business world and shaking up their industries. Nikki Yeager is building a business based on non-gendered children's clothing company called Every Bean; "made for every little bean". We are inspired by Nikki's fierceness to create a company with a mission she believes in, and her interview provides insight into the badass entrepreneurial lifestyle of making things work whatever the circumstances.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Clothing may seem like such an inconsequential topic, but the idea that we tell children not to do or wear something that provides them happiness based on what sex is assigned to them on their birth certificate is ludicrous. Children don't know anything about gender, sexual orientation, social mores, etc. They just know what makes them happy and I want to provide clothing options that make both kids and parents happy. So I made Every Bean for families like ours. Your kid wants to wear a tutu? Great, I sell some killer tutus that will last forever. Your kid wants to wear a headband like mom (or dad)? Perfect, I have those, too. Your kid happens to be male or female? Ok, great. That has nothing to do with clothing, though.
How do you plan to grow your business?
I've been reaching out to local publications and blogs in order to get a few mentions before hitting boutiques for sales. Thankfully I have two boutiques I'm personally connected with who are already willing to carry my products so I'll have a starting point. By the time I'm in several stores and have a bit of press behind me, we should be going into Pride season. At that time I'm planning to donate a small portion of sales to a local LGBTQ organization that works with kids in the community. I'll use that to help promote my rainbow bodysuit and another design that's in the works.
What was something crazy you did while working towards your goal?
The thing I can think of that would probably seem crazy to most people is that I moved to Bangkok with my husband and 4 month old son where we lived for 6 months to avoid the winter weather and save money so we could more easily afford our lifestyle and business costs. I distinctly remember a day I was taking a video call with a room full of potential partners, at 3am my time, with a 9 month old rolling in his bouncy chair just below camera level while I pretended I had my act together. Surprisingly, no one noticed what was going on and to this day, they believe I was sitting in my office in NYC while chatting with them.
What is a common misconception people made about you as a female business owner?
The first business I started was a family business and I often had people assume my actions were driven by family ties or emotional reasons. It was extremely difficult for me, because I pride myself on keeping my work life and my family life separate. For example, I did a demo the day I got home from the hospital after giving birth -- no one on the call even knew I had been pregnant.
What is the best part about having your own business? What's the worst part?
When I have a vision of how I think something should or could be, I get extremely focused. Overall, I'm a very intense person when it comes to work. The best part, for me, of owning a company, is being able to follow that vision without interruptions and not have anyone slow me down in getting to my goal. The worst part? That would be having no backup, no vacations, no breaks. When you own your own company, you can't step away because until the company is past the "small business" stage, it could literally fall apart if you were to truly disconnect. The amount of responsibility is enormous and it never lets up.
How did being a woman help and/or hinder your drive to create your business?
Where drive is concerned, I'd love to be able to say something inspiring and motivational to any woman reading this, but that's not necessarily my truth. I come from a long line of obstinate people on my dad's side and most of my motivation is rooted in me wanting to prove anyone who said I couldn't do something wrong. Someone once said to me that women shouldn't run the finances for a company. So I balance my own books. Someone once said that girls can't travel in foreign countries alone. So I booked up a one way ticket to Cambodia when I was 19. Someone once said that I wouldn't be able to partner with any male-run companies because I was just a young lady. So I focused primarily on old fashioned businesses while looking for partnerships. There are countless people out there telling us, as women, what we can't do. If we were to prove each one of them wrong, we'd have a wild and interesting life.
What advice would you give someone thinking of starting their own business?
My advice for anyone who'd like to start a business, regardless of gender, would be to do it. No one has ever started a business by thinking it into existence. You have to actually build it. So if that's you, stop reading this article and go make something happen!
You can visit Every Bean at https://everybean.boutique