An Interview with Jen Gotch
Please briefly describe ban.do and your role.
ban.do is like a candy store—but with clothes, accessories, and things for your home instead of candy. Basically, we make things that make life a little more fun. I’m the chief creative officer, so I get to work on a bit of everything and also be constantly impressed by the amazing team and community we have.
What has surprised you most in the process building the company?
That everything everyone ever said to me about building a brand and growing a business (both good and bad) is true. ALL OF IT!
Was there anything you regret doing in the early days of ban.do?
Honestly, I can’t really think of anything. We always did our best and we always worked hard and got back up when we got knocked down. Knowing all that I know now, the good decisions and the bad ones both contributed to where we are as a business today and I really like where we are. So no regrets.
As a brand, ban.do is all about fun. Is it challenging to make the work environment fun while also productive?
We once had an intern come in and ask us where all the “music and dancing” was, and we were like, “ummmmm, that’s our brand identity, but we are actually serious, smart hardworking women that make work and fun look effortless.” Very little dancing occurs, although I would guess it’s still more than what occurs in most offices. As we grow keeping the mood positive and consistent certainly has its challenges, but we try to hire optimists so I think we’ve been able to pull it off. (I am also an optimist, so I’m always going to see the silver lining. Always.)
What do you think is a key asset of yours that has contributed to your success?
I’m adaptable. In business especially you need to be able to pivot without much notice and I’m pretty good at that. Other than that, I think my sense of humor endears me to people and allows me to get away with some stuff that a very serious person would never be able to achieve.
What keeps you happy + emotionally healthy?
Friends, sleep, wine, massages, and therapy.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A waitress or a novelist. So it’s good to know I’ve surpassed the first one (I was a horrible waitress) and I think I’ll eventually get around to writing a book. Maybe not a novel, but I have a few ideas.
What do you envision for the future of ban.do?
ban.do is going to be America’s next big brand. That’s a bold statement, I know, but that’s how I feel. What’s that look like? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s gonna look a lot like what we’re doing now—just on a larger scale!
What are three things you need to have on hand while working?
Pink legal pad, black LePen, Bulletproof coffee.
What advice do you have for someone looking to start a creative business?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When we do our honor roll (free advice for business people and creatives), a ton of the people I meet confide in me that they’re afraid of putting themselves out there—not just because their ideas will be judged, but they may also be copied. Part of being a creative is about being fearless and the only way to get your business off the ground is to put your ideas out there. There’s no way we could have founded and grown ban.do without that kind of thinking.
What are you most proud of?
ban.do!!!!! And the Mouth Mimosa.
Do you have a motto or mantra that has helped or inspired you?
I DID MY BEST! (’cause that’s really all you can ever do. So as long as that base is covered, there’s nothing to feel bad about.)
Find Jen on:
"There’s this great LA-based organization called WriteGirl. They bring in women writers who work with high school girls on all kinds of creative writing projects. Women helping women is something really important to us at ban.do, so being a fan of theirs is pretty much a no-brainer."