On this episode Abadesi talks to Kathryn Duryea Wyndowe
, founder and CEO of Year & Day. They make beautiful tableware that they sell direct-to-consumer online via their website.
In this episode they talk about...
How she came up with the idea for Year & Day
“I felt very empowered by this idea of buying a new set of plates outside of this proposition of getting married and a wedding registry.”
Kathryn graduated from Stanford GSB and started working at Tiffany & Co., helping to bring them online. She was inspired by the new direct-to-consumer brands and had always loved the ritual of setting the table. She decided she wanted to make “tableware fun again.” Through trying to buy a set of tableware for herself, she found that the experience was confusing and uninspiring. After going through that, she “turned on the other side of her brain” and dug into the market for tableware, which accounts for $7B in annual spend, which led her to start Year & Day.
Her crazy year preparing to launch the brand
“It took about 11 months, almost a year, to go from basically this is my full attention, full-time professional endeavor to now we are selling to customers.”
Kathryn thought that she could launch in eight months, but it actually took almost a year. She talks about the wide range of tasks that she had to tackle, basically by herself, from design to manufacturing to fulfilment to arranging for web development. She talks about “fighting against the inertia of the world” to will the brand new company into existence. She says that her launch strategy was to email 500 of her friends about the company and that in the beginning she had her brother doing customer service. Since then they’ve grown to a team of 8 based in San Francisco.
“All aspects of starting a business are both wildly thrilling with high highs and low lows and real challenges, but what's so exciting about those early months and days is that this idea that you formulated, now you're starting to bring it into shape into the real world.”
The power of Instagram and the rise of direct-to-consumer
“A lot of the product discovery these days happens on social media on platforms like Instagram. People are relying more and more on people that they follow there to help them discover products that they’ll love, that suit their lives.”
The rules for marketing to the digital-native generation have changed with the advent of social media platforms and influencers. Kathryn explains why Instagram is such a powerful platform and why people are gravitating towards a different kind of shopping experience. She talks about the importance of curation when it comes to products like tableware.
She also talks about some of her favorite productivity hacks, including why she meditates, works from home one morning a week, and why she still uses good old fashioned pen-and-paper for her to-do lists.
“As an entrepreneur you could literally work 24 hours a day and still feel like your list is growing, so in order to have a healthy balance you need to actually set some boundaries.”
She also discusses some of her favorite products.
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Companies and Products Mentioned on This EpisodeAudm
— The world’s best longform journalism, read aloud.Insight Timer
— The best free meditation timer.Snagit
— The best screen capture software.