Business owners and founders have a lot of responsibility on their plates–they need to make decisions for the good of the company, take charge and lead the company into its future growth, ensure all employees are well cared for, and oversee the smooth day to day operations. With multiple workers looking up to them for advice and direction, business owners need to find their own inspiration in order to keep pushing forwards in a strong trajectory.
We have asked owners and founders who it is that inspires them to be better business owners; their responses are both touching and informative–it is eye opening to realize just how much the determination and drive of those around them lends itself to strong leadership skills. Also know that you, the audience and consumer, also play a huge role in motivating business founders to do what they do.
The Inspiration Behind Successful Business Owners
Keep reading to find out who inspires the owners behind your favorite companies.
The Women In Her Family Who Came Before
Katrina Lake, the founder of the popular clothing subscription box Stitch Fix says she gets her inspiration from her heritage and the women in her family who came before her.
“On my Japanese side, my grandmother [is the one I’m inspired by]. She grew up in Japan and she relocated here, learned English and lived independently in Minnesota. She saw this future for herself and against all odds made it happen. On my American side, there was my great grandmother. Both she and her sister lost their husbands early in life. They were in this tough situation of both being single moms with multiple kids, and they combined their households and raised a bunch of great kids. Those examples have always helped me have a wide lens of what’s possible in life and to be able to believe in things that might be hard,” says Katrina Lake, Founder of Stitch Fix.
David Perkins, the founder of the High West Distillery says his inspiration comes from a more generalized group of people: those who are passionate about their jobs and undergo every task with a smile.
“Being around passionate people [inspires me]. They are always contagious for me and they get my juices going. And they come from all walks of life, not just famous artists or musicians. I remember a summer job I had in college where I worked in a warehouse as a puller and packer. It’s about the most boring job you could ever imagine. I really liked one of the older guys that worked there as he was super intelligent, and we always had great conversations at lunch. He rode the forklift around with a big smile and would tell me to do my best and be the best at the job I was doing, no matter what. He exuded passion for his job when he was on the warehouse floor. It made everyone feel good. I think of him all the time when I interact with anyone on the job,” says David Perkins, Founder of High West Distillery.
Her Niche Customer Base
Lindsay McCormick, the founder and CEO of the Shark Tank-featured company Bite Toothpaste reveals that she gets her inspiration from her niche customer base who understand the important meaning behind the brand.
“Every day I’m inspired to keep creating plastic-free toothpaste by my niche customer base. Other people who also care about abolishing animal cruelty and finding no-waste alternatives to toothpaste tubes found my products and they talked to their friends about me and from there word spread really rapidly. I’m motivated to keep working hard and creating the Bite alternative because of all the people who recognize the same need for clean sustainable products as me and my team,” says Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO of Bite.
Flossy, the affordable dental treatment platform for those without dental insurance, also takes inspiration from its customers, especially when operating from the place of advocating for the many people who lost their coverage due to the pandemic.
“Flossy was born out of the COVID-19 crisis and came from a desire to help freelancers and individuals who lost their dental coverage, and to provide dentists with quick payouts and free marketing compared to the expensive alternatives. Our mission is to bring affordable, high quality dental care to everyone. Flossy is an alternative to expensive dental insurance with its high premiums, complicated co-pays and deductibles, and minimal coverage of major procedures. We are inspired to keep our drive for all the people out there who deserve affordable dental care,” says Miles Beckett, CEO and Co-founder of Flossy.
Men Who Are New to Skincare
Jeremy Gardner, the successful CEO behind the skincare brand MadeMan puts immense time and effort into his business because he wants to tear down the antiquated biases around skincare as effeminate and show other men that they deserve products that truly care for their skin.
“My inspiration with MadeMan comes from the customers. I think a lot of men, particularly boomers and below, are beginning to realize that many of society’s conceptions of masculinity are outright absurd. The notion that taking care of your face may be seen as girly is laughable. Who wants dry skin or breakouts? We have taken a component of personal care that many men fear is effeminate, and not only eviscerate such concerns, but make it totally approachable and easy. Instead of guys asking ‘why should I take care of my skin?’ Now they will be asking ‘why aren’t I taking care of my skin?’ I genuinely believe that when they try MadeMan, not only will they fall in love with the product, they will fall in love with themselves so much more. And I think we need more self-love in the world,” says Jeremy Gardner, CEO of MadeMan.
Creative People Who Push the Limits in their Fields
Boye Fajinmi, the president and co-founder behind the uber cool community-based media company The Future Party, which caters to hip creatives who strive to be more informed about new developments in their discipline, looks to this exact community for his inspiration.
“It’s all the creative people who want to push past the limits of technology, entrepreneurship, business, art, fashion, and entertainment who inspire me. They are the reason we created The Future Party and they’re what keeps the spark to continue growing it alive in me,” says Boye Fajinmi, Co-Founder and President of The Future Party.
Michael Jankie, the founder of the insect repellent patch for kids company The Natural Patch Co. is inspired by his team of employees.
“Our hard working team at The Natural Patch Co. is who inspires me to be a better business owner. They have joined in my vision and mission and offered countless hours of their time to allow our business to have grown to all it has become. Because of them I strive to be the best business leader,” says Michael Jankie, Founder of The Natural Patch Co.
The People Who Paved the Way
Mike Clare, CEO of Mood Health, the one stop platform for finding mental health care through its team of specialists and Moodblog of resources, says he learns from the people who came before him.
“I am inspired to be the best version of myself, both in my personal life and professional life, because of all the people who came before me and paved the path. In my own family I have leaders and hard workers I look up to who taught me a strong work ethic. And I also remember those working in the mental health fields who advocated to remove the stigma surrounding mental health treatment. Because of their efforts and belief in the necessity of one receiving the health he needs, we can transition to such convenient and affordable options when it comes to mental health care,” says Mike Clare, CEO of Mood Health.
People Who Want to Be Their Best Version
Ajay Mehta, co-founder and CEO of the company Birthdate Co. that has been featured on Bustle, Teen Vogue, and Buzzfeed says he takes inspiration from those who want to be the best version of themselves.
“There is something so contagious about people who strive to always be growing and learning. I look at their zest for life and lifelong mission to be their best selves, and it reminds me why I do what I do. I want to offer something new and original to the world,” says Ajay Mehta, Co-Founder and CEO of Birthdate.
The Millions Who Suffer from Sleep Apnea
The founder and CEO of the sleep therapy company Lofta, Jay Levitt, keeps pushing forward at work in order to provide improved offerings for his customer base. Lofta aims to help those with sleep disorders like sleep apnea and chronic snoring.
“I always want to offer more and be better for the millions of Americans who suffer from sleep disorders. Sleep apnea affects an estimated 42 million American adults, with roughly 70% of the worst sleep apnea cases going undiagnosed. I and my team at Lofta want to circulate the information about sleep disorders and help those struggling get the care they might not even know they need,” says Jay Levitt, Founder and CEO of Lofta.
Men Everywhere Who Have Placed Skincare On the Backburner
Co-founder Ayal Ebert says that his inspiration comes from the men who have shaped the mission of Particle; primely, men who have spent years, maybe even decades, working up to tough skin that hasn’t received full nourishment.
“I feel an affinity to the men out there who have lived full lives but maybe didn’t place skincare at the top of their priorities; for those who now find themselves with tough, weathered skin that needs deeply penetrating and nourishing products. There are millions of men with rough skin who need more than basic drugstore skincare can provide but maybe don’t even know there is a better option for them. Skin can tell a powerful story about what a person has lived through, but that doesn’t mean one can’t use products designed to reduce the effects of wrinkles and scarring. I am constantly inspired to keep creating by the reminder that there are men, especially men in their prime, who have neglected quality skincare for too long; I want to create products that show them the value of indulging in the act of caring for themselves,” says Ayal Ebert, Co-Founder of Particle.
Jeremy Goldstein, the CEO of the limit-pushing vision technology company Navitar says his biggest inspiration has always been his father, who founded the business that developed into Navitar.
“My inspiration comes from my father who founded Navitar as Elgeet Optical back in 1946. His hard work and ‘quitting is not an option’ attitude led to the creation of the Elgeet-Navitar wide-angle 8 mm F1.5 lens which contributed to the production of the first television infrared observation satellite (TIROS), now residing at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution; his drive also got passed down to me and my brother and fostered our determination. I owe my success to him. Without his penchant for thinking outside the box, none of what Navitar has accomplished would exist and I would not be where I am today,” says Jeremy Goldstein, CEO of Navitar, Inc.
How inspiring it is to hear the reasons behind why the owners of your favorite companies put in the time and effort that has led to the businesses and products we love so much today. Seeing the heart behind their missions offers a touching look of just how important the customers and close team members are to a business owner’s success. If you are a business owner yourself, or striving towards your own company, be reminded to hold those who matter close. And if you are a customer, know how significant your support is to even those at the very top of these companies.