"Gwen Whiting of The Laundress – Innovation, Big Risks, and Thinking Outside the Box," first aired March 23, 2020.
Success as an Entreprenista involves innovation, taking big risks, and thinking outside the box. In the case of Gwen Whiting '98, Founder of The Laundress, a successful line of eco-friendly laundry and home products, it’s all of these. Inspired with an idea while working in the fashion industry at Ralph Lauren and trying to maintain her wardrobe while using the local laundromat, Gwen teamed up with her friend who had a complimentary skillset to create a solution. Gwen joins Socialfy co-founder Stephanie Cartin for a conversation about building her business and career, and describes her journey to success including how Gwen and her partner found money early on, from business loans to throwing for-profit parties, launching an e-commerce website over 15 years ago when Amazon was still a bookseller, the challenges of building an ecommerce brand and generating buzz in the pre-social media era, how The Laundress got ahead of the market in creating detergents free of petroleum products (long before the trend of green eco-friendly products,) why the co-founders made a risky decision to fund the business by amassing considerable credit card debt rather than taking VC money, the process of selling the brand to Unilever, and why having the right lawyer and a team behind you during such a pivotal time mattered so much.
Check out the Entreprenista website for more episodes.
Read the episode transcript.
Hosted by Stephanie Cartin '06
*The views expressed by Fresh from the Hill hosts and guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Cornell University.
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