I have been waiting to have this guest on for what feels like FOREVER. Jen Gotch is the epitome of a girl boss as she founded ban.do with a friend in 2008 and with no prior business experience, was able to transform it from a small, vintage, one-of-a-kind hair accessories company into a multimillion-dollar brand within years. after a long (and winding) road of jobs that led her to where she is today, she’s now the chief creative officer and fearless leader of the ban.do team.
On top of that, she is a fierce mental health advocate and I am so excited to hear her inspiring messages surrounding both business and life. In this episode, you will learn how Jen got her amazing start to ban.do, but also why her current mission is spreading awareness about mental health. Find out how why Jen thinks entrepreneurs are specifically challenged by mental health concerns, tangible way that we can be there for one another, how to actually TALK about such an “uncomfortable topic”, create change, and create community. Goal Diggers, this episode is about to remind you that everything you are feeling today is OKAY. You are not alone and we are all in this together.
Jen, like many of us, had a lot of twists and turns in her career before she found “her thing”. What stayed constant though was a desire to be creative and “express what was on the inside, outside”. I love how we all have our own callings and I could feel Jen’s unique skill-set in her story of chasing down careers.
Also, she spoke to the fact that she has always had the believe that “What I’m going to do as a living somehow defines me”, and although a lot of us don’t think like that, many of us do. I am a: nurse, business owner, artist, barista, accountant, whatever it is, it ingrains in your personality.
While this is a beautiful thing, it also creates a lot of pressure to find the perfect fit. It wasn’t a perfectly seamless story for her, but after following her gut for years, ban.do was born. (To hear the whirlwind story of start-up, selling, and current status you have to tune in)
HER MENTAL HEALTH BATTLE:
About fifteen years ago, her long-time therapist predicted that she would be a voice for mental illness, and she always thought WHAT?! And then, as time would have it, she grew a platform, shared her heart, and carved out a niche of being a mental health advocate.
For Jen, her mental health journey started in childhood. Although she didn’t realize it at the time or have a “name” for it, but looking back retrospectively, she can see she was struggling. Eventually, she found therapy which really helped her “build self-awareness and articulate the feelings and emotions”. With time, she found a medication regimine that worked, felt aware of her symptoms, and was able to move forward in managing her mental illness.
One thing, I love that she shared openly about mental illness from the first day of her diagnosis, and when she started sharing it on social media, the response she got sort of “solidified” her role as a mental health advocate.
HOW WE CAN ALL MOVE FORWARD
I spoke to the fact in my most recent Mastermind meet-up that many of us have or had mental illness struggles. There is something about the entrepreneur brain that can gravitate easily to mental illness. She stated that business owners do need a certain level of anxiety while leveraging your business in terms of working long hours, double checking orders, thinking of the next paycheck. But that it can quickly become too far.
She dug into how to cope with your “bad days” and “good days” and said “Sometimes you just need to lay in bed and not go to work: you can’t just grind through everything.” With time, she has learned her own emotions intimately and I urge you girl bosses to do the same: you need to understand “what is stress, what is anxiety, what is sadness, what is depression” and learn your personal emotions, triggers, and outcomes. With time, you will become familiar with the ebbs and flows of mental illness, and just allowing yourself permission to feel and get help.
“You don’t need a diagnosed mental illness to have good days and bad days”. Read it and read it again, Goal Diggers. You are allowed to feel lost, uncertain, and not yourself. And remember this, you are not alone. You are never, never alone.