On October 6th, I got an email from a producer at Fox News who was interested in our story.
I’m with Fox News/Business and writing you to learn more about your company Urban Southern…”
The following Monday morning, we had a phone call from a film producer and an executive producer from Fox News.
Exactly one week later, we were sitting across from cameras and lights.
It happened THAT FAST.
After our individual interviews, those cameras followed us around as we went about activities that take place behind the scenes here at Urban Southern. It was a full day of filming, but the final feature would end up being just under 5 minutes long.
IS THIS “THE BIG TIME” NOW?
We looked at each other throughout that week and wondered, have we finally made it? It’s hard to know actually. How does one define success?
We’ve had several “big moments” this year (e.g. accessorizing shows at New York Fashion Week, a collaboration with Vintage Vogue in Paris, being published as the spotlight feature of Southern Lady magazine, and launching TWO new collections), but we were working so hard that we barely stopped to think about them. And that has been our key to gaining traction in our small business.
Nothing has been an overnight success for Urban Southern. We have had quite a few moments of wondering if we could actually make a go of this thing, but we haven’t spent too much time wallowing in those doubts.
When I see a business or an individual with any amount of success, I always research their history. 98% of the time, I always find an entire body of consistent work that they were generating without getting much attention for it. Usually, they’ve been creating work over the course of many years.
DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
After our day of filming with Fox News/Business, we waited for our feature to be online. We often woke up and fell asleep checking FoxBusiness.com with anticipation. We felt like we were waiting on pins and needles! What would this feature do for our brand? How would they tell our story?
In the meantime, Ruby and Britt were sewing as many leather bags as they could make because not only did we have this online feature to prepare for, but we were also preparing for an upcoming Holiday Market with Made South and our holiday sales. We weren’t going to wait to see if this feature alone would be the answer to the momentum that we have been working so hard to gain all year.
As a small business, you can’t afford to put all of your eggs in one basket. Sometimes a specific opportunity amounts to more than you imagined it could be, but it always takes many small wins to create significant momentum.
FROM AMISH TO FASHION: A BRAND BY WOMEN FOR WOMEN
As of this morning, our small business feature is now LIVE on Fox Business! They have done a beautiful job of telling our story — from the beginning to where we are today.
“The focus was on simplicity, on not having a lot of things, only having the things that were necessary, that were quality,” Bauman tells Fox News. “When I am designing a bag I am thinking about ‘her,’ the everyday woman who is going to use the bag.”
Despite her work ethic and a clear vision for the company, starting a business was all new to Bauman. “The first year I really thought it might fail, because I kind of had this idea that I would put up this website and put it out there and people would just find it and buy things. And that didn’t happen,” she says.
It wasn’t until Bauman’s cousin, Meg Delagrange, called her up one day with an idea to work together, that the business really began to make strides. To help tell Urban Southern’s story, Delagrange suggested embracing their Amish upbringing.
“We could tell this story of how we were born Amish, and we can have a brand for women who have overcome some interesting things in life,” says Delagrange. (Source)
Building a Sustainable Community
We could not have reached this point with our brand without the incredible community that surrounds us. For us, building this brand has been a journey of building relationships. In our #WinWednesday emails and here on our blog, we share the honesty of our own stories and struggles. Woven into everything we do are thoughtful storytelling and intentional transparency, and that has established an incredible amount of trust within our brand.
The leather we use also tells it’s own story. We handcraft our leather bags from locally sourced, full grain leather which is also a byproduct of the food industry. We were raised to consume responsibly, never allowing anything to go to waste. So we use as much of our hides as we possibly can. We use the smaller parts of the hide for our cuff bracelets, card wallets, and coin purses. We even make leather business cards from the smaller pieces that are leftover and give these away at our events. Our leather business cards and cuff bracelets also make great essential oil diffusers.
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