I Interviewed Local Serial Entrepreneur, Bailey Stanworth
Updated: Jun 9
In this article I interviewed local serial entrepreneur, Bailey Stanworth. Bailey Stanworth is the founder of Shop State of Grace, Play Digital, and the What Day is it Podcast. She also co-founded PIPERWEST Watches. On top of this, two of the companies she founded she did by the age of 25! In this interview we talk about authenticity, friendship, starting three companies, and business advice.
How do you think authenticity helps your company?
Oh man authenticity is exactly what state of grace. was founded on. The idea of being relatable and sharing those less than graceful moments like hangovers, the days where you don’t want to get off the couch or put on a bra. I think that human connection can’t be achieved without authenticity and I’ve always wanted state of grace. to be this culture and community where women can come and be themselves and share their funny stories and embrace the moments in life that we sometimes roll our eyes at because life is too short to take seriously and it’s more fun when we can laugh at each ourselves.
In one podcast you said that it was one of your girl friends who gave you the courage to start your own business. How do you choose the friends you surround yourself with?
The more I’ve built my career the more I’ve realized the types of friendships/relationships I want in my life. I’ve had people come in and out who just wanted to use me for connections or information and I can just see right through it now. My life is crazy and busy and I love every second of it but it makes it hard to see friends as much as I want and that’s a sacrifice you have to make as a small business owner. I’m really selective who I let into my life now and prioritize those moments for the people who have been there and understood the times where I couldn’t come out because I had to pack orders or better yet who showed up at my doorstep to help me pack the orders. I think the people who invest in you and show up in the unglamorous moments of business are the real friends. I couldn’t do what I do without them. They’ve seen me laugh, cry, celebrate, pull my hair out from stress, down a bottle of wine but they never fail to show up and that makes me want to put my energy back into them.
You have said that your dad is the person you go to: what is the best piece of advice he has given you?
Ahhhh my dad. Way to tug at my heart strings. I don’t know that it’s a piece of advice he’s given me but he’s always shown me what it is to have a strong work ethic. He’s always told me I can do whatever I want and that no matter what happens I will figure it out, even in those moments where I felt I was at rock bottom or not going to be able to pay my mortgage or scared out of my mind. He never let me quit and really supported me through everything.
You used to work at Privilege. What is one of the main things you learnt and took from Privilege to Play Digital and State of Grace?
I really learned that at the end of the day it’s your business and the importance of being involved in the day to day, being there, doing the work, never relying on anyone else to do the hustle and knowing that no matter how amazing your team is no one will care about your brand like you do.
Now you co-founded PIPERWEST Watches in May 2016 – 2018; How did your work creating and sourcing products at State of Grace help you with PIPERWEST?
Manufacturing is such an entirely different world that having the experience from state of grace. when starting PIPERWEST was really really helpful. Even though it was a different category of product it was knowing the questions to ask manufacturers, ordering samples for quality control/checks, anticipating production and delivery timelines, how to deal with importing products from overseas, etc. It was all such a new world when starting State of Grace that the process was much more familiar with PIPERWEST and made the brand launch a bit smoother.
What made you think of the idea for State of Grace and how did you find the space in the market for it (differentiating yourself)?
I have always been a graphic t-shirt junkie. Literally I’m a sucker and I couldn’t stop buying them. I would go to go out with girlfriends and be like… so I guess I’m wearing a graphic tee again? I pitched the idea of a graphic lounge wear line to my then business partner and we started the brand together. We knew there were a lot of graphic apparel lines on the market and wanted to differentiate ourselves by pushing the boundaries a little bit with our similar sense of humour which is a little edgier than more graphic brands. Some of our original quotes were a bit controversial and some are still around today and have been best sellers since day one so I think that helped us create our own vibe. I also always knew I wanted the brand to be more than a brand, I wanted that community aspect. I wanted people to connect with the quotes and the product because it was relatable and not just a band tee. I wanted each piece to be something that when consumers saw it they were instantly reminded of a story or a memory and had a connection to the product and the brand.
What has been your first step in starting each of your businesses?
Oh man. They were all so different. I think with State of Grace. it was really a passion fueled project and my first taste of the entrepreneurial life. I definitely couldn’t have done it without my business partner who taught me so much and helped me tackle the foundation of launching a new business. I had no idea what to do when it came to name registration, tax documents, business licences, etc.
When PIPERWEST started we already had the foundation, so it was really diving into a brand voice and finding how to differentiate ourselves in the market. We found a sales rep very early on to help us expand our retail doors across Canada which I really believe helped create a brand presence.
For PLAY it was really building a clientele, I reached out to a ton of local and international brands that I had a personal connection to whether I was just a consumer or had met them in the past and explained why I wanted to work with them. I definitely under valued myself in the beginning but it was to help build a portfolio and resume to help launch PLAY quickly and strategically with strong and impactful companies.
You are able to make your own flexible schedule but what does a typical day look like for you?
I don’t think there is a typical day lol. I used to bounce out of bed when my alarm went off and just jump straight to emails but I’ve really started to slow down in the mornings and set my intentions for the day, think of the things I am grateful for, have my morning coffee and snuggle my dog. I’ve noticed this helps me be in less of a reactive and anxious state throughout the day. Once I’ve settled in and the caffeine kicks in I usually time batch my emails for 30-60 minutes and address anything urgent. Then if it’s a Mon, Wed or Fri I get on the road and pick and pack state of grace. orders from the warehouse. I currently have an employee and intern who work with me 3 times a week so some days I’m working alongside them, some I’m alone. Usually there’s a few client calls in there, maybe a podcast recording, more time batching for PLAYer’s social media strategy and execution. Other things that come up could be content creation, importing inventory for state of grace., product development, podcast editing and uploading which is sooo time consuming, player and podcast guest outreach, mentee calls with my mentor Lauryn Evarts-Bosstick (@theskinnyconfidential). I typically work from 7AM-10/11PM with a few breaks in between. I try to end the day with another 30-60 minutes of emails to make sure that I’m again addressing anything urgent and then probably watch some reality tv, pour a glass of wine and then shortly after head to bed and hope my insomnia doesn’t kick in lol.
This is more of a multi-part question about the work that goes behind the scenes that people may not realize at State of Grace:
a.)What is the process of releasing a product? How did you find your suppliers?
A LOT! I usually design a collection within 1-2 nights when I am feeling inspired. Sometimes it’s far in advance. Sometimes it’s 2 weeks before it launches because that’s when I feel inspired. I’ll have ideas in my mind and keep them in my notes on my iPhone over time but when I sit down I bang it out and come back to it the next day and usually text my close girlfriends to ask if it’s stupid or genius. Sometimes they’ll even help me design or say something in a text that I am like THAT HAS TO BE ON A MUG and then the next day I order it. Sourcing takes a lot of research. I always order samples from manufacturers/suppliers. I’ve developed some great relationships but I’ve also been burned by them so I’ve really learned to protect myself and my brand by having agreements in place for quality control. I would just say when it comes to suppliers, do your research, order samples (it’s always worth it, even if they suck it’s better than being stuck with 1000 units of a shitty product) and protect yourself with an agreement.
b.) What is the process releasing a saying?
Typically I wait until the product has landed to me to release/launch something. SOMETIMES I just get too excited and if it’s from a manufacturer I have previously worked with and trust their quality I will do a pre-order. From there we do a social media campaign, create the content, edit, upload and roll out on our channels (instagram, facebook, website, etc). We gift to influencers to help spread the word and also launch to our retailers via our sales reps. Launches to be transparent are quite quick vs. a lot of brands who plan them months ahead but being a small business I’ve always activated products fast and it’s worked for us.
As for the future, who is one person you would like to learn from?
I feel really truly fortunate that I am currently learning from Lauryn but I would truthfully LOVE to learn from her husband Michael. I think that they have such a contrasting approach to business - her being very creative and him being very analytical. I think they both bring such different value.
Do you have a dream collaboration or someone you would love to work with?
Well… I have a few collaborations that are in the works for 2020 and I’m pretty freaking stoked for them. One of them truly is my big dream collab. so I don’t know that I can top it. Stay tuned!!
Thank you Bailey for taking the time to interview with me. I really hope this inspires and helps people who need it.
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