The Importance of Community in Entrepreneurship
I recently returned from a trip to France with my family. My husband is French and has a family home in Corsica, an island off the southern coast. His parents built the house when Luc was six, and he spent most of his childhood summers there, learning to windsurf and playing in the sea. The house has survived the decades and now it’s time for his kids, our two toddlers, to spend their summers in the house, getting to know their relatives and running barefoot around the property. Since we live so far away we don’t go nearly as often as we’d like, but I was heartened to see my little city girl start to climb trees and return to the house with her hair full of twigs.
If you’ve read the little blurb on our About page, you’ll know that the name August Society is based on this Southern European tradition of taking the month of August off to spend time with family and friends. This idea to name the business after the month of August was born through living in this Corsican house. Luc’s mother’s side of the family was large, and the house was often filled with people –it wasn’t unusual for the kids to have to sleep in a tent in the yard because there were not enough beds. This is why I strive to align our values with the ideas of love and community, where sustainability and being a good citizen of the world plays a big part of this.
On the topic of community, I originally started this business all by my lonesome. At the beginning, as I was figuring my way, I don’t think I truly understood the importance of community in building a business. Being a solo founder is actually a very lonely journey. You don’t have anyone to share the highs and lows with, bounce ideas off of or discuss roadblocks with. Everything, and I mean everything, falls on you.
I realized that I couldn’t survive without an enthusiastic tribe of supporters including customers, friends and family, contractors, partners and like-minded associates.
The first step I took was to join a co-working space, The Hive, which allowed me to just have a physical place to work where there were other people around! I attended some networking events, but as an introvert, I didn't find it was the best way for me to make meaningful connections. I joined many business, fashion and sustainability related groups on Facebook so that could connect with similar entrepreneurs around the world, get advice and share in the journey of building an independent fashion business. I found a wonderful group of green business owners after joining The Green Collective a little under a year ago, and I couldn’t be prouder of what this ragtag group of eco-warriors has accomplished in such a short amount time.
They made sustainability readily mainstream, and it’s great to feel a part of a larger tribe that can support one another and accomplish a common goal.
I have recently been given the chance to take our mostly online business into a physical space for a six-month pop up. I was excited but also a little daunted – the space is large, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it alone. So with this opportunity, I chose to grow our tribe. It will feature no only sustainable swimwear for the whole family, but also over 15 other local and international brands specializing in sustainable fashion, accessories and beauty with a summer and travel focus. I’m so exciting to be working with such a great group of business owners to create this experience for our community. The August Society Sustainable Lounge opens on the 8th of October at Suntec City - watch this space for more! I can’t wait to see you there.
So if you’re just starting out in the journey of entrepreneurship, or even just thinking about it, don’t underestimate the importance of community. Reach out to me @august_society – if you want more info on resources or community groups. I’m always happy to hear from others who are walking the same path.