The founders of this fashion-forward protective gear detail the birth of their signature product.
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4 min read
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what is your business?
We are Elena Solle, Hazel Solle and Carlton Solle, the founders of G95, Inc. Our gear has built-in filtration technology to help protect you from bacteria, viruses, air pollution, allergens, smoke, PM 2.5 and other airborne particles that can be hazardous to your health.
What was your “aha moment”?
I got sick while on a trip to China several years ago. The doctor I saw said I had either caught something while on the plane or gotten sick from the air pollution. I asked what I could do to protect myself in the future and suggested wearing one of those white masks. My first response was, “One of the masks that make you look like you are sick?” When I got home I spoke with my wife about what happened. She told me how when she was growing up in Costa Rica, she used to play with two hand-me-down dolls and because fabric was scarce, she would make scarfs for the dolls. From that discussion, our first product was born: the Bioscarf.
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What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
For us as a family, it’s who we are and who we have always been. For the past 20+ years, one of us or all of us have been starting businesses and or pursuing ideas and inventions. It runs through our veins and is really what keeps us going.
Related: Real Entrepreneurs: Have a Great Product? Don’t Be Afraid to Dismantle It to Build a Better One.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
The most difficult part of coming up with an idea or concept is that you need to share it to evaluate it and to flesh it out. At the same time, the most dangerous thing when you are an entrepreneur is other people. Some might throw you off course, others might see what you have created and want to try to work their way into it. Others will want to try and crush your idea because they didn’t think of it and others will simply be a time suck which can also send you off course. The trick of the entrepreneurial journey to get to realize your vision and not getting steered off course or losing your drive. You need to stay true to your vision and what you feel in your gut.
Related: Real Entrepreneurs: How to Launch Your Product Without Sinking Your Savings
What trait do you depend on most when making decisions and why is that useful for you?
It’s all about persistence and moving forward. You always hear about young single entrepreneurs who lived out of someone’s garage eating top ramen and then they made it big. So what about when you have a family? When you have rent to pay and school and all the rest of the responsibilities that come with being a bit older? That garage top-ramen thing doesn’t really cut it. So the pressures and sacrifices are much larger and much more extreme and they are not only affecting you but also your whole family. How far are you willing to go? For us, it’s been about persistence, everyone sacrificing for the bigger picture — and sometimes that has come at pretty extreme costs. But you get through them and learn from them.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
There are two quotes that sit above my desk: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” And “Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack.”