Startup to Resume

So as some of you may know, I co-founded/am helping build an apparel company. I have had some people telling me I should put it on my resume, and put the work into my portfolio. While I’m sure it would be great to be able to say I started a company and such on my resume, I feel modest about it. Its really not all that big, and it feels like more of a hobby to me, I have a day job. Plus, its hard for me to identify my contributions because I just toss them out over dinner, or in the car. Ill have some thought about the type of experience I want the customers to have when they open the package while we’re on a walk in the park or something.

Does anyone else have any experience with starting a company, and if so when is it really time to put it in your resume/portfolio. Plus, I’m always open to new thoughts about adding this type of stuff to my portfolio.

First off, huge props for starting your own business. That is what it is all about. Small businesses make capitalism work, and when that corner coffee shop in Seattle blows up and gets huge, and gather lots of haters, it still inspires others.

I’ve never started a business, but as someone who hires designers, I’d love to see that on a resume. It shows that you are entrepreneurial, a self motivated self starter with passion and ambition, and lots of other words hiring managers love.

As to how to describe what you do, I’d say to put is as simply as possibly, but don’t leave anything out. It sounds like you are very modest about it, so knowing that is your bias, I would watch out for it and have a friend look it over to see if there is anything you are leaving out.

Thanks yo, I like the Keep It Simple credo, so that will definitely be in the mix. We’ve been doing it since the beginning of the year, my partner likes to sew, so she makes most of the items, and then we purchase and silkscreen shirts.

Most of the design work, as in some of the items, all logos, webdesign (very minor) and screen able graphics are me.

We have also read up on different non-traditional marketing and viral marketing techniques. And I have instilled the experience based design outlook in our products by bringing it up over and over and over…

Another cool thing I did was come up with some image concepts to show off the products, like for instance, we have a black t-shirt for infants, with a skull on it, so set up a photo shoot with a pro photographer (my partner) where we had the baby sitting on the ground with some skaters doing tricks in the background, making sure the logo’s were well placed in the foreground of the frame.

More frequently we have been working with manufacturers to get this stuff made because Steph can’t keep up with the orders anymore. We’re up to around 60 items a month sold, which is way too much for one person.

We also diversified into raw materials, such as printed fabric, to supplement the revenue, even out highs and lows in production and allow us to buy more yardage to cut costs.

So theres all that, but we aren’t in any stores or anything quite yet, its all online, and there aren’t any employees, so I feel strange putting it on my resume, and how do I tell that story? These are the questions I suppose.

On the local tip, not resume related, have you talked to Baby Grand (St. Paul and Hopkins)? They have some more boutique type baby stuff that might get your products sold. Or even (gasp) Uberbaby in Richfield/Edina. Also boutique type stuff…

On the resume note, I’d definitely throw it on there. As Yo said it shows a great deal of passion, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Yeah, we’ve been down to Uberbaby in Edina, and theres a shop out in Hopkins that we’ve been looking into also. Our manufacturer in Duluth seems to be falling apart though, they want like 6 buck per unit for the diapers, which would only retail for around 20! I can’t fit that into my spreadsheet, its just way to much, so now we’re looking at hiring seamstresses. A teacher of mine hooked us up with a store in Wash DC while he was on vacation, so we are working that contact too. Currently, I think Steph has lined up three of four internet shops to get bulk deals to carry our items on their sites. Plus apparently we are multinational. She is working with a store in New Zealand, and we ship regularily to Canada, and Australia.

Back to a more local note, did you know that Burnsville is a cloth diapering hot spot?

Amazing. Who knew?!

So, Mr. ______, I see that you started your own business.

“Why are you seeking a position with our firm? Do you think you would be happy here not directly calling the plays? Do you have any future plans for self-employment?”

Call me Mr. Skeptical, but having been down this particular path, you might consider holding this information close to your vest. At least until some initial interest has been shown by the prospective employer; maybe as a second round interview talking point, when you have a better understanding of the situation?

I’ve never started a business, but as someone who hires designers, I’d love to see that on a resume. It shows that you are entrepreneurial, a self motivated self starter with passion and ambition, and lots of other words hiring managers love.

Yo, that’s what I thought the general impression created would be … my luck to run into a paranoid Design Manager/Co-Owner. Granted my experience was almost twenty years ago. Perhaps times have changed… … . one would think that the more experience an individual has the more the company would benefit.

I only added my “business experience” to my CV after I had sold my share to the other two partners in the company; at that point I hung out my shingle as an independent ID consultant.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Lmo’s comments…times have not changed and there are a lot of people who seem to exhibit the kinds of thoughts that Lmo has outlined.

In an ideal world, having run your own business is an attractive piece of work history. For reasons too numerous to list, it seems that people in hiring positions treat it with skepticism.

Hmmm, now that you guys mention that, I could see that happening. BUT, would you want to work for someone like that anyway? I know that sounds flip, sometimes you need a job, or the opportunity is too good to pass up. I had one boss who saw my extra work for c77 and others as “I must not be giving you enough work to do”. It has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with what I like to do on my own time. Some people gamble, drink, go snowboarding every weekend and come in late Monday exhausted… our friend Carton here successfully starts and runs his own business, giving him a better understanding of how things are done… a hiring manager SHOULD understand that is a a valuable advantage (though noted that not all in practice will!)