How I created my fashion brand and failed at it.

Failing helps you to grow even if it’s painful.

Marine Sorato is the head of Goldup (part of The Family), the most caring program dedicated to women that want to start a business online. She created this program as a result of a failed fashion brand she started in 2015. From 2015 to 2017 she created Sorato, a brand selling handcrafted goods made from traditional fabrics like Kilim, or Shipibos covers – raised 100K and successfully hired 5 people. Marine shares her story of failure and how she is pivoting into a new phase in life that will help other women avoid her mistakes.

Marine Sorato

How it began

I am 28 years old and it feels like I’ve already lived 6 different lives. One of them was as a proud Parisian fashion designer. Two years ago, I was opening my own workshop in Paris where I could happily and finally sew in peace. Piece by piece, blood, sweat and tears, I loved it. Sewing bags and kimonos alongside talented seamstresses was like meditating for me. I loved the adrenaline and the energy coming from starting something from scratch. You don’t know where you’re going, but the beauty is the journey — right? You don’t know what’s coming, so you enjoy every moment. It’s an amazing feeling. One that you can’t get unless you become an entrepreneur.

Growth

In one year, I managed to grow an online community of more than 20k people, make 60k in sales revenue, learned how to sew better and created 6 different collections of bags, kimonos, wallets, so I decided to go all-in. I raised 100k in funding and rented a place of my own.

My fuel was every sale, every email with good news, each little positive comment, even a like meant the world to me. And I can tell you, once you’ve tasted it, you never go back to “normal” life. I was working like a machine. Never tired. Never afraid. Flying to Lima for 2 days just to check up on the impossible production of a necklace collection and then going straight back to open the workshop? Yep, sounds easy.

You can hear more of what I was experiencing at that time by listening to Generation XX podcast.

Marine Sorato
“I am 100% I can do this”

Being an entrepreneur is like seeing a huge mountain in front of you that gets bigger as you get closer. At first, you’re like “It’s OK, I’m going free climbing” but the closer you get, the more you feel like “Well, I might actually be better off with a partner. Who’s in?” So you try and surround yourself with people you can trust, people that can support you and who will be there in case you need them.

Funding Gone

What happened next went quite quickly. In 6 months time, I had burnt all the money raised and had to go back to a paid job. It was brutal and unexpected. I did not plan for all the stupid costs and failed at changing direction before it was too late.

I was making bags and selling them as a side project just because I loved travelling and kilim fabrics. I started alone and never succeeded in finding a co-founder to follow me in this crazy adventure. After a while, I was feeling isolated and I was burning out. I had no one to help me, but most of all, I had no one to shape my perspective, no one to question my (sometimes) irrational decisions, no one to tell me when I was totally out of my mind (most of the time) and no one to be the grounded grown-up person on this exciting trip I was on.

What’s next?

Until now, I’ve never shared my story openly. Maybe because it’s still painful, maybe because it would mean that the adventure is really over, maybe both.

Marine Sorato

Well, at least I know why I am sharing it now. Last week, I said goodbye to my company. But it really has been over for almost 2 years now. Like a divorce, it takes time until it’s really over. As I was signing the papers, I remembered all of the beautiful moments and all of the worst times, and I thought to myself… What if Goldup had existed?

Goldup is the program I’ve been working on since I joined The Family one month ago. I designed the training program I would have dreamed of having at that time. It is the most caring program dedicated to women that want to start a business online. I believe the main reason why creating, imagining and launching this program seemed like a natural thing for me is because it comes straight from my heart.

Starting on March 30th, we’ll welcome 40 women at our office in Berlin. During the next 5 weeks, we‘ll provide special care with hands-on workshops and make sure they get their business started. We are their launching pad, and we make sure they are never alone. “You never leave the Family”.

Every Saturday morning, we cover one new topic: from generating the idea of making first sales, going from 0 to 1 so that they can get iterating. Training is given by experts in the field and entrepreneurs who’ve been down that same path. We’ll introduce every Goldie to an amazing network of Goldmothers.

Want to start your business online? Applications are now open, you can fill in this form.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a Brands and Communications specialist with a passion to support females in reaching their full potential.

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