Inspired by: Jen Gotch
People | September 14th, 2016
Everyone needs a hero, a style crush, a girl boss to aspire to be and be inspired by. For me, that woman is Jen Gotch, founder and Chief Creative Officer of ban.do. If you’re not familiar with her company, you can refer to my past #fangirl post here and their website here.
I first fell in love with ban.do in 2009. Still relatively new in its creation, the company was making a variety of hair accessories ranging from cute clips I could afford to luxury headpieces I could not. In typical DIY style I decided to create some stylish hair accessories for myself. This predated the flower crown boom of 2011 and affordably cute hair pieces were fairly scarce.
At the time my friend Roseann and I were working at a Buy-Sell-Trade store in San Francisco and obsessed with vintage and ‘repurposed’ fashion. Being the crafty hipsters we were, we collected an array of materials and spent an evening creating hair accessories from broken jewelry, vintage ribbons, fabric scraps, and dollar-store flowers. As I recall we christened our line ‘Plume Rouge’ (because of how painfully chic we were) and promptly never made another headband again.
Fast forward to 2013 and a growing obsession with Instagram, where I not only rediscovered @ban.do but began to follow @JenGotch herself. This woman is a floral printed, glitter dosed, My Little Pony of shrewd business sense, amazingly hard work ethic, and passion.
She took ban.do, a one-of-a-kind hair accessory line started with a friend Jamie Coulter, and turned it into the multi-million dollar brand it is today. She even managed to sell the business while remaining on as CCO, where she continues to have a direct hand in designing and creating products to this day. But Jen Gotch inspires me for far more than her business savvy.
As a free-spirited, lady in my late-20s, I have been dealing with more than one friend/loved one inquiring as to when I am going to “grow up,” or asking if I am “aware the big 3-0 is fast approaching.” To answer these questions, yes, I am aware of my numerical age but exactly what do you mean by ‘grow up?’ Am I supposed to shop exclusively at Banana Republic, paint all my walls gray and throw away my extensive collection of glitter to be viewed as an adult? Because I refuse to accept that as my fate.
Jen Gotch is a reminder that strong and successful women don’t have to wear a suit and ‘act like one of the boys’ to be taken seriously. Jen has spoken openly about making sacrifices and suffering losses when building a profitable business. But throughout all the ups and downs she has always been 100% herself. I mean, how many women do you know were featured in Forbes on the same day they posted a Snapchat about their neck rash and openly discussed their struggle with anxiety? Too much information, or completely relatable? To me, Jen’s raw honesty only serves to further increase my awe of her. Her accomplishments throughout her life and the life of ban.do give me motivation to achieve my own goals and never stop being myself. Plus, she has personally responded to two separate Snapchats I sent her. So I’m assuming we are on our way to a lifetime of friendship.
Thank you Jen Gotch. For continuing to inspire women like me every single day and for never giving up on yourself. I’ll catch you on Snapchat.
Follow Jen Gotch on Instagram @JenGotch and on Snapchat.