Happy New Year! Are you tired of answering questions about your resolutions? Frustrated with your 2017? Find your escape by reading about ours. We don’t have our 2018 planned yet either.
Cassidy: To My CEO Hivemind,
Happy 2018! Do you remember this time last year? We were gearing up for the Big Idea competition at Colorado College, heady with the possibility that this might actually be something. At that point, Chica was little more than a concept. In fact, it wasn’t even “Chica” yet. We were still calling our project Jade Moon Chocolates, and I had just led you on a highly unnecessary goose chase for the perfect logo. I had a very specific vision of a kung fu chick kicking her period problems in the goddamn jugular. Our only official meeting had been at Breadworks, over liberal doses of caffeine and a giant pretzel. We didn’t know how to pitch, or project our cash flow, or even identify our MVP–the startup lingo might as well have been a foreign language. But, even then, we knew what we wanted.
We envisioned a world where people could feel powerful on their period. Where natural remedies are universally accessible. Where menstruation isn’t stigmatized. We just didn’t know what to do with that vision; how to execute on an idea that just seemed like a pipe dream. The Big Idea was perfect for us; an abrupt yet sheltered introduction to the entrepreneurial landscape. We definitely didn’t register for the pitch competition with the conviction that we would walk away with 10k in seed funding–money was just the incentive and the extremely silver lining. The most important part of the Big Idea was the deadline: we didn’t know how to be our own bosses, but we did know deadlines. Like you’ve said, we’re academics. We’re motivated by pressure. And it made us sit our asses down and get shit done.
We learned how to talk about our idea with eloquence and expertise. We drafted plans to execute. We learned to freaking make truffles. Those first days were messy in the best way: in our parents’ kitchens, splattered in chocolate and watching a YouTube tutorial on how to temper. As it turns out, chocolate has a steep learning curve. Our first prototype of a physical product was, to be completely honest, a hot mess. But those truffles were damn tasty–at least that’s been consistent.
When I think about how far we’ve come, it blows my mind that it has only been a year. This period of time has contained multitudes. We have learned a lot, and we have a lot to celebrate. But this year has also been challenging. It is impossible to conceptualize the time, work, and stress that starting a business requires until you’re balls deep in the experience, and no amount of forewarning can prepare you for the gut-punch realization that people don’t believe in your or your idea. Our growth has been steady, but it has been slow, and I am always frustrated by the sensation that we’re wading through our launch.
As we begin our second year, and prepare for our second round at the Big Idea, I am both excited and exhausted. But mostly, I am terrified of letting you down. You have taken charge of our kitchen while I have been away at school, and I know that this burden has been corrosive. As we move forward, especially as I prepare to move to Latin America for four months, it will be of the utmost importance that I contribute my 200% so it doesn’t stay that way. We will continue to face challenges, and have to overcome them together, because a strong executive partnership will be our greatest challenge to come.
Thank you for everything you do. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!
P.S. Wish your Big Mama congratulations on her nuptials for me! I hope there was cake.
Elise: To my CEO Hivemind,
Let’s get one thing out of the way real quick: my 2017 would be NOTHING without you and Chica’s 2017 sure as hell would be nothing without you. I’m so proud of the amount of brainstorming we’ve shared together, but the feeling that keeps nagging at me is that Chica is still only a side project. I’ve spent the last nine months weary of launching, of growing without any solid ground. I sometimes beat myself up, telling myself that I’m afraid of hard work and rejection. Your description of wading is very apt, and it does make me feel young as I observe the start-up culture around us, which says to take a running leap into the deep end. However, I found comfort during my bus ride to the airport listening to Yvon Chouinard speak about founding Patagonia, and the importance of slow growth and company integrity (you can find it here). I identify with the idea of growing a “mission-driven” company, one that is actually working for some better good in everything from its product, to its advertising, to its hiring, to its charity work, to its community involvement.
There were a lot of moments when I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Then I sat down with you either over the phone or a snack, and I felt the surge of energy return to me. I cherish our accomplishments when I think about 2017, but more than that I celebrate the trusting relationship that we have built. Yes, sometimes I do pick up more slack for now, but know that it is your support that makes me feel good every day. And I will call you out, as you should me ;). I’m very excited to make Chica my everything instead of just my sometimes and I’m very excited to visit you in Chile in March!
There is a glaring hole in this letter which is that we haven’t made any goals for 2018! Are you free for a Hivemind meeting tonight?