Introducing Natalie Kathleen, the founding CEO and creative lead of Jibs Life, a sustainable footwear brand blending fashion with forward thinking and positive, environmental impact.
Passionate about high fashion and spending plenty of time in the great outdoors, Natalie built her brand blending the two. The Jib classic shoe is a perfect hybrid of a stylish leather loafer and an everyday run-around sneaker. In our interview with Natalie we discover how she utilized her glowing relationships across her personal and professional lives to launch a flourishing business, the organic and enthusiastic community now taking part in the #jibsjourney, and how the Jibs brand is encouraging everyone to #stepintogood.
Every week we will be asking Unstoppable Women, female entrepreneurs blazing new trails across various industries, a set of questions concerning core values, life advice, and the stories behind their ventures.
What do you consider your top 3 core values, and how do they affect how you lead your business?
My Top value always comes out as trust. For me, trust goes two ways, it first and foremost applies to myself, my gut instincts are there for a reason. Mutual trust is also important to me, when you work with someone, you are trusting them to do things like showing up on time, doing their best, etc., if we trust that everyone is doing their best the outcomes usually come out best.
My #2 Core value is pleasure, if actions that are taken are done out of joy, they yield the best results. Most of the time it should be something to do with passion, shifting perspective usually helps you find best way to do it - we only have one life to live, we might as well fun doing it!
My #3 core value is challenge - the crazy thing about being an entrepreneur is choosing to jump into challenges. My drive comes from the moments that seem the craziest, the farthest away, wherever the uncertainty lies.. when I use the other 2 core values along the way, that’s where the magic happens.
Can you share an experience in which you thought you failed, or perhaps did fail? How did you react and move beyond it, and what impact did it have on your future decisions?
I probably fail everyday, the reason I say that, is I can’t follow the perfect mold. I believe I do strive for perfection, however through having “failures” I’ve actually learned the beauty behind imperfection. On a personal level, I stood back for a minute and looked at my friends and acquaintances that I like spending the most time around, and it wasn’t their perfect qualities that I loved, it was their imperfect qualities that made me want to be around them. On the business side, a great example would be my first company, Sienna Ray, my handbag business. I could say that this failed because it’s no longer the business I run and there’s no longer product being made, but If I look at everything this business has given me, including a “business degree” on the run, and a network that has allowed me to create multiple new and different businesses; I know that by going through this failure and accepting that it didn’t work at the moment, it allowed for the new to come in. The biggest impact it had on me, is to realize if something isn’t working, you have to let it go to allow what is actually going to work to come in.
I started Sienna Ray when I was 21 in Vancouver, on my kitchen counter. The business lasted for 10 years. The closure didn’t feel amazing, but what you learn and the hindsight you gain is irreplaceable. Stop doing what you “should” be doing.
What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?
Jibs is an ever-evolving brand and business, and what we’ve been able to discover in the last few years has really been a stepping stone to what we are about to release - it has helped harness my desire to be good to the world and to yourself, especially through sustainable products and materials, we are also dedicated to causes around the world such as global warming and ocean regeneration. We are creating a brand based on content that people can consume to better the world. We’ll be storytelling across #jibsjourney and #stepintogood. The storytelling will involve the fashion world, as well as stories from the guy in your local deli. It is a high/low type of content, we want to tell stories that connect highly influential people with people that they cross paths with everyday. It will be an interview and spotlight series with video content. I believe the future of products lies in telling a story that touches and engages the consumer. Sustainable materials is another definite new project, we are going to work with a research team to invest in materials that will reduce our carbon footprint and increase recycling opportunities. We are currently meeting with organizations that have established great work with ocean regeneration and are figuring out the best way to partner with them.