At the age of 5, Jenny Wecker started sewing…she hasn’t stopped since. Cole Wecker from a young age had an entrepreneurial spirit, starting several side businesses to make extra money. Together they started and have grown Fawn Design. Guys, they are killing it. For those of you who don’t know what Fawn Design is (shame), they’ve created a simple yet sophisticated diaper bag. Seriously, just the other day I showed my parents and they had no idea it was a diaper bag that’s how sharp they look. You have to check them out if you have a kid, are going to have a kid, want to have a kid, or know someone who has a kid (or you could just use it as an everyday bag). They dropped so many gold nuggets in this interview, I was super impressed with their story and strategy, but probably most important their work ethic. They really show what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Check out the interview below. Stick around until the end to watch FIRST EVER RECORDED Leisure Round (5 questions you answer at your own leisure). Take it easy on the recording, it was our first time we’ll get better.☺️ Thanks Cole and Jenny for humoring us on our first attempt! As always please give this a quick share on Facebook Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, we really appreciate the support!
Cole, growing up you said you had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Cole: “Yeah nothing like extremely serious. Growing up I had some businesses, like washing windows, cleaning dry wall, stuff to make extra money. I didn’t really come into it until I was in college. I had probably 3-4 different jobs that I hated. It was about around that time where I thought I just wanted to work for myself. That would be the best to be your own boss. Luckily Jenny had the same interest.”
Jenny: “I think Cole has always worked really hard at everything he does, especially at an early age. He was collecting drywall and throwing it away.”
Cole: “My neighbor had a drywall company. I was 13-14 years old, basically I would go to some of the houses he would be drywalling and would throw away rooms of drywall scraps and get paid for it.”
Jenny: “He’s a hard worker that’s the moral of that story.”
Jenny you said you always liked to sew at an early age? Did you have a similar entrepreneurial mindset at a young age?
Jenny: “I didn’t really realize I had an entrepreneur spirit until we started Fawn, but I learned to sew when I was 5 years old, I’ve been sewing ever since and can sew just about anything. Cole when we first started dating and especially when we got married would say you really need to do something with your sewing. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone was doing this or that I want to do something different. I didn’t realize that mindset of I want to do something different was a big part of being an entrepreneur.”
So you guys came up with the idea one night while hanging out with friends?
Jenny: “Yeah, it was actually Ashley Nackos (Co-Owner of ARVO + Floral Designer) she was pregnant with (her son) and they were saying Jenny you need to do something with your sewing and also mentioned in the same conversation that they were trying to find a diaper bag for (their son). She said there wasn’t anything that she liked, and that she would probably just use a Jan Sports Bag or something. I said oh my gosh, I should do a diaper bag, and they agreed. We feel so grateful for them because they’re the ones who helped us get the initial idea to start.”
Cole: “She actually bought the first bag that Jenny made.”
Cole was working full-time and going to school full-time? Jenny you were working full-time as well and started it on the side?
Cole: “So I was working full-time and going to school full-time.”
Jenny: “I was going to SLCC at night when we first started, but once we got going with Fawn, I stopped going to school. Cole was still going to school and we were both working full-time.”
Cole: “You (Jenny) quit after about a year and a half. I then quit about six months after that (to start working at Fawn full-time). About 2 years after we started I was able to quit and work full-time as well.”
A lot of people I talk to come up with good ideas, but they don’t ever execute on those ideas. How many hours did you guys put in on the side at the beginning?
Jenny: “Soooo many!!”
Cole: “Yeah that’s something that people don’t really understand when they first start something. The amount of time that it will take from your life. It’s almost like exercising (we hate exercising) you can’t exercise once and expect to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger that takes years of work. It’s the same with business you can’t put in 10 hours of work one day and expect the next day to be an instant success.”
Jenny: “A typical day when we first started would be to wake up at 6 or 7 in the morning go to work. I’d come home around 5, Cole would go to school until about 8. I would immediately start sewing. Then Cole would come home, we would make dinner then he’d start cutting out more bags.”
Cole: “Yeah I would cut out bags or work on website stuff.”
Jenny: “Cole would stay up until midnight or 1 a.m., I would keep sewing until 2-3 a.m. then we’d start over again.”
Cole: “So, it comes down to passion. Jenny had the passion for sewing and creating, that’s what kept her going. I obviously don’t really have a passion for diaper bags 😝 but I had a passion to be an entrepreneur and to build a successful business step by step. When you have that passion it makes it easier. It doesn’t make it easy but easier to put in those hours. I mean it’s hard, not an easy thing to do.”
Jenny: “Another thing for me, when we were hand making the bags we would put up on the site 10 orders. For me what was super motivating was opening those orders and random people I didn’t know were buying them. I was like wow all these strangers are buying these bags. That helped! If you’re staying up until 2 in the morning every day, you need something. Cole and I talk all the time, Fawn is so much more than just the money. The money is great, but it’s always been so much more.”
Cole: “We didn’t really make any money until close to the 2 year mark. That’s a long time to put it all back into the business.”
What advice would you give a couple who is thinking about going into business together?
Jenny: “What really works for us, is that we have very separate rolls, it’s been that way since we first started. We never overlapped what we were doing.”
You hired one person? How have you gone about hiring?
Cole: “Hiring people is super tough, it’s hard to find someone who cares as much as you do, who you can also trust with something that’s so important for you. Luckily we have three awesome people working for us. A couple of them have come as referrals from friends which is always super helpful.”
Jenny: “We like to hire stuff out. Instead of having a warehouse and a shipping team we hired all of our orders, shipping, and processing through a fulfillment center. Same with our website, all that back end stuff, for all of that we use an ad agency. For Cole and I we don’t like to manage people. We like to focus on the business and the processes. For us it makes sense financially as well. That’s how our business model works right now, and will probably stay the same for a while.”
What’s been the hardest part about growing your social media?
Jenny: “I’m just going to be bold and say it hasn’t been challenging because I don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. I just stay in my lane and do what I do. I’m just going to keep doing things how I’ve done them. Our engagement hasn’t dropped, I think it’s because we are consistent with the content we put out and how often we put it out. We leave things really open for people to ask questions and engage with us. What’s been challenging is how much is coming at you all at once, I had to finally get someone to help me because we were getting so many DM’s on Instagram. That’s been the biggest challenge how much communication has to go on through social media.”
Cole: “I don’t do anything with the social media that’s all on Jenny.” 🙂
How do you decide who to collaborate with?
Jenny: “First and foremost we go off of first impression. Followers are one thing but we care way more about the quality of the content they put out there. If they have good posts and a lot of engagement of course we’ll work with them.”
Cole: “We’ve seen it vary so much. It’s hard to gage, each one can be a gamble on your return, but it’s a risk you need to take. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and you just have to get over it.”
Jenny: “People don’t realize that we give away so many bags, but we’ve seen a huge return on that. People always ask us what should I do when I’m first getting started? I say don’t be stingy with giving away your product, because you need to get it out there.”
Cole: “And yeah it can be scary when your first starting because that one bag you gave away can pay for some of your bills, but you never know what that will do. That one bag can turn into 10 orders.”
What is one strategy you’re willing to share on how to be successful on social media?
Jenny: “We always recommend collaborating. Also just know there is going to be so much negativity. If someone writes something that isn’t kind or isn’t productive, I delete that sucker so fast, I’m like get off my feed 😁 it’s one thing if someone has a concern and they deliver it in a constructive way, I’ll leave those on to show that we really do care. I was obsessing for a long time with people writing things that weren’t very nice. I wish I hadn’t focused so much on that. Don’t focus on the one person leaving negative but on the ten people who are leaving positive reviews.
Another thing we are facing now is people knocking off our design. With social media it looks like it’s staring you right in the face. Our approach has been to not engage. We don’t get involved. That’s not how we go about those type of things, but that’s something I thought would never even happen or that I would have to deal with. It’s a little hard but you should handle them in a professional way and don’t let it ruin your day.”