Build an Empire with Wolf and Geek

Build An Empire They Said But First You Must Fail

You want to build an empire but your fear of failure is standing in the way. Let’s talk about failing your way to success as told by badass brands with some of the world’s most successful women behind them.

It is the one thing holding most of us back from our next success and it’s the one thing that most successful people front up to. FAILURE!

In the words of Mel Robbins – “Big, fat failure is the key to realizing your dreams.” And we did know this but we were loading up on that feel-good chemical, dopamine. Our brains loaded up while we were only doing the things we were good at. We kept doing what we were good at because it felt good.

Anyone who has read Mel Robbins will know exactly what we are talking about. Motivation is garbage and her guide to failure and screwing up should be our entrepreneurial bible to greatness.

But failing doesn’t feel good and as a result, we simply avoid it.

Let us give you a quick overview of this theory and bear with us as we are going to back up our theory with the failures from some incredible brands and the successful women behind them.

We hear about failure all the time! Oprah was fired from her news anchor job, JK Rowling was unemployed and knock backed time and time again. You hear about this every day around the world – entrepreneurs with hundreds of failed projects before they hit the successful one.

When you look at them and wonder what is the one difference between where you are and where they are – the likely answer is going to be they failed more times than you.

But no one lists their failures when they talk about their success. They talk about all the winning steps that got them there when in reality – the failures are the bricks that built that empire.

So when we read “If failure is the key to getting what we want, why do we do everything in our power to avoid it?” We had to ask ourselves why do so many entrepreneurs avoid failing if they know it is a success formula?

We spoke with women that you likely watch on social media. The ones you compare their chapter ten to your chapter one, you know them – The Jane Lu’s of the World. We truly wanted to paint a picture of those moments where just like some of us – they sat on the floor wondering if it will all be worth it one day.

We asked these women about their greatest failures and the lessons that built the empires they have today.

Read on and we will show you exactly why you could be one failure away from your own empire.

Wolf and Geek - ShowpoJane Lu – Showpo

Jane Lu – Showpo
@showpo @thelazyceo

Don’t be overwhelmed by the possibility of failure. You have to consider the cost of not taking the risk. This is your greatest opportunity to learn and grow.

A failed business was the best crash course in life and entrepreneurship.

There’s no way I would be where I am today without it. I never thought that I would start a fashion business. It was my ex-business partner’s idea to run pop up shops (the failed business), I would’ve never dared get into the fashion business otherwise.

The industry seemed way too out of my league. When that first business failed, all I had was experience and contacts in fashion. Naturally, my next business (Showpo) was going to be in exactly that.

After my experience with the pop-up shops, I saw that there was a huge opportunity in the online space. We had so much room to scale growth. We had stocked clothes from emerging designers ranging from $60 – $300 which helped me find the Showpo sweet spot.

From a marketing perspective, we had hemorrhaged extreme amounts of money on PR with my first business. With Showpo I decided to avoid traditional marketing channels and focused on social media. This focus is ultimately how we grew and continue to grow our cult following.

Wolf and Geek - TigerlilyDara Hayes – Tigerlily

Dara Hayes – Tigerlily

My greatest failure to date was not following my gut instinct. I let other people (who were “older and wiser” at the time) steer my career in a direction that they decided.

This has been the biggest lesson for me. I will never ever let someone take charge of me and my career again. I will always take personal responsibility for my brand.

When you’re the face of your brand it can become incredibly complex when someone else is dictating what you do (i.e. a manager, an agent, a creative worker), even though it’s been a set back in my career, it has taught me so many lessons. Not only about my business, but about myself, my resilience and about who really cares about me. 

I’m still suffering the implications from this failure. I am stuck in deals that I don’t want to be in. And I am not able to creatively work in a way that I want in many scenarios.

I’m not the only one who suffers from this failure in my industry. It’s such a shame to see the same thing happen on a regular basis to so many artists. These artists are creatively stifled. Too often you end up seeing them give up because of the systems, rules, and people in power positions within this industry. 

I’ve been so close to giving up before. However, I am lucky enough to have a very supportive network who give me the belief in myself to do my best and move forward every single day. Finally, I recommend everyone builds, a supportive network, I think it is key to survival.


Wolf and Geek - Brooke EversBrooke Evers

Brooke Evers

I was at university studying journalism to break into the industry as a TV Presenter. This was while working in clubs on the weekends to pay the bills.

Before long I noticed a niche and went for it – there was only at the time a small handful of female DJ’s. From there a couple of friends taught me a new skill and in the blink of an eye my Journalism degree was a thing of the past.

There is a vivid memory of how doubt drove my success.  I had an ex-manager tell me that I would be nothing.

It was years of learning the technical side of being a DJ.  Then growing my brand, developing relationships, working with agencies and the countless hours of hard work. This has built my empire to where I am today.

To the manager who said I would be nothing – well look at me now – a world-class performer with a cult following as a poster girl for not only the female DJ industry but the DJ industry itself.

I have to wonder – how many of us are told we will be nothing or we can’t do it and accept that. In addition, I want to inspire others especially young girls to drive that doubt into success and if you want that reassurance – message me on Instagram, I will answer any questions you have.

Wolf and Geek - The Digital PicnicCherie Clonan – The Digital Picnic

Cherie Clonan – The Digital Picnic (TDP)

To speak really candidly? It was launching The Digital Picnic as a business partnership, instead of trusting that I could do this solo from the very beginning.

My business partnership was an absolute fail and The Digital Picnic’s biggest fail.

It was 3.75 years of private pain because I was in a miserable partnership, but forced to show up to socials daily and “celebrate” our business partnership success. Furthermore the most agonizing aspect of it? Our community loved seeing the “friendship.”

In my entire life, I’ve never felt as inauthentic as I did during that time pretending that everything was ok when in fact, it was a partnership that often reduced me to tears.

The first turning point for me was 18 months prior to my business partner exiting the business. I engaged the services of a professional copywriter to write all of the copy about my business partner. I did this because I simply couldn’t do the inauthenticity of it all anymore.

The day my business partner exited the business was such a turning point for me. That exit made me realize just how impactful a toxic partnership can be.

How has all of this contributed to my success today? I couldn’t begin to tell you all of the various ways that ordeal has contributed to my success. I guess the biggest thing I took from everything is … living with inauthenticity? It’ll destroy your soul.

Wolf and Geek - Colour Junkie CosmeticsHannah McKeich – Colour Junkie Cosmetics

Hannah McKeich – Colour Junkie Cosmetics

Due to a completely broken relationship with my family, I struggled with being a young mother and considered giving my daughter up for adoption. I was homeless multiple times over the years and I had extreme post-natal depression. I was extremely frustrated as I was still an entrepreneur at heart. One of the only things that kept me going was the micro failures and successes of attempting multiple small business ventures.

My entrepreneurship began at primary school. I had businesses selling mobile phones, a hair extension brand, a nail shop, organic homemade makeup, multiple drop shipping websites and so many more.

I couldn’t even get a bank loan to get my ideas off the ground.

After 6 years of actively pursuing my dreams, I got lucky with Ali Express. I managed to sell $10,000 of clothing using buy and sell groups on Facebook. I used this money to start my cosmetic business.

Colour Junkie Cosmetics officially launched on October 31st, 2016 selling just matte lipsticks. I made my own Shopify store, took product images with my iPhone, created social accounts and began doing small budget boosted ads. In addition, I spent 6 months testing hundreds of different formulas until I was certain I’d found the perfect one.

The turning point was when I created a swatch video a few months after using one of our loose pigments and it went viral! In total, I had about 500 Facebook likes and no Instagram followers and this video got 150, 000 views within a couple of days.

I was then approached by my first official stockist who is a part of New Zealand’s largest drugstore chain. And here I am today looking at a billboard with my very own brand on it – Colour Junkie Cosmetics by a single mum who not so long ago couldn’t afford makeup.

Wolf and Geek - Makishi Apparel Kay Makishi – Makishi Apparel

Kay Makishi – Makishi Apparel

In my opinion, I really don’t look at any past events as “failures” because I wouldn’t be where I am today without every single one.

You see I failed numerous job interviews but it was just the Universe and my ancestors reminding me to stay on MY path, not anyone else’s.

And I have to tell you I failed to get into Penn State main campus my first year of college. Because of that failure, I was able to sell knives, be an assistant manager and then run my own office. I picked up skills in recruiting, training and managing college students at 18 years old.

That experience really laid a solid foundation around attitude toward business for me which I NEVER would’ve learned in a college textbook.

Recently I made manufacturing mistake and lost about $10K of my savings which I can’t really afford. That led me to my current manufacturer which has way better facilities and production quality.

I learned to NEVER make those same mistakes again which I just know will translate into my future success. I’m just always thankful for everything including those lessons we refer to as failures.

Still afraid of failing?

You have just had 7 successful women talk about the failures that built their empires and how taking the risks is the only way to grow. We know it is all nice living in your comfort zone – we bet you are the kind of BossBabe with mega dreams.

If you answered yes – today is the day to put one foot in front of the other and do that thing you have been putting off, success or failure, it is one step closer to where you want to be.

What’s holding you back? The answer is nothing. Your success now depends on how uncomfortable you are willing to get.

Rhiannon Johnson and Rylee Venables
Wolf and Geek – Branding Badassery

Stay tuned as we bring you the Badassery Series – Badass Brands and the Women Behind Them.

Drop your questions below. Tell us who you want to hear more about and what questions you have for these women.