Who What Wear Podcast: Jenna Lyons

Can you tell me about some of the most significant lessons that you’ve learned? I feel like this has got to have its own level of learning curve.

I think the biggest thing is I grew up in a world where you were touching things. It was a physical experience, primarily.

Even though you could order online, we had many stores. There was an opportunity for the customer to go in and touch—and they wanted to.

I learned business that way. I learned in a totally different era. Now, everything is visually online.

My biggest mistake was the packaging. The very first iteration of the packaging, I have this glossy L on the outside.

When you hold it up in front of a camera, you can’t see it. It was very subtle. I thought it was very chic, and no one knows what the hell it is.

I think the other really big mistake I made is I got the team way too big too fast. I came from a world where everyone’s job was very specific.

We thought we were gonna go quickly—we also then got slammed with the pandemic—and so we had to really downsize the team.

When you start doing that, when people have really specific jobs, all the sudden you’re looking at people and a lot of us didn’t know what we were doing— myself included.

That was really a huge learning curve to understand. People who have come up in a small business have a totally different mental and capacity for flexing and bending and doing other things.

Whereas people who come from a very specific role, it’s harder. Not because of any fault of their own, it’s just they’re just not used to it.

So you’re asking someone to do something they may not necessarily feel comfortable with. I also didn’t necessarily know how to direct.

I could spend an hour talking about all the mistakes I made.

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