Building a Team That Grows with Your Brand
In this episode Britany Jepsen, CEO of The House that Lars Built joins Bree for a conversation on the growth of her brand. Brittany Jepsen has created an incredible brand with a team that has gone through different stages, and has multiple revenue streams. She opens up about the highs and lows of growing this company, and advice she'd give to anyone looking to do the same!
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"It doesn't have to be a huge commitment. I would start out small and then grow from there. That's what I've done with every single hire. I had another craft or maker come on that started with a few hours, and then her hours grew as we were growing. I had a photographer come on board when we started out small, and now she's one of my full-time people. She's photography, video, studio manager, and shop manager. She does so much! But also I could see her growth and see how she was adding to my company."
Discussed in this episode...
Where did Brittany Start When Building a Team?
When she couldn't keep up with the opportunities that were landing in her inbox, she knew it was time to hire someone. It got to the point where she was telling her husband for her birthday or Christmas that all she wanted was an employee.
Her first hire was an intern whose role then grew to a full-time, paid position. She is super creative and talented and brought a lot of creative skills to the table. She understood the brand Brittany was building, was very excited about it, and she and Britany really complemented one another creatively.
Looking back now, Brittany would recommend hiring someone who is more of the opposite of your skills and natural gifts. For instance, she's creative and not necessarily interested in the business side of things. She needed help with finance, accounting, and someone to work with the collaborations that came later.
It's also important to hire people who hire people who are a good fit for the brand you are building. If they're on board with your mission, understand what you're doing, and are a good vibe it will make a huge difference. Brittany eventually got a business partner, Mary, who was an amazing fit and took over the finance side of things; partnerships, brand management, accounting, all of that. They worked together for four years until Mary had another opportunity that was too good to pass up. She had helped build the financial side of the House that Lars Built into something that still runs super clean.
So in all of this, if someone were to ask Brittany "do you need to spend money in order to make money?" She would say "probably". Especially if you are able to identify income sources that you can increase with the added help, it's time to bring someone in!
How do we Realistically go About Our First Hire?
The first thing to remember is that you don't have to pay someone a full-time wage right away! There are plenty of people who will help for as little as 5 hours a week. Brittany first hired someone for 15 hours a week, which is as big of an initial commitment. It is a really good idea to start small and go from there. It's a pattern that Brittany has repeated with every single hire.
Encouraging your team to communicate is also important. If someone starts with a certain amount of hours, let them know to talk to you if they want more! There is so much power in communication. Let them know they can come to you if something is not working, or they want more hours, or if they want fewer hours!
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- Digital products, collaborations, physical products; how to choose what to do?
- How do you determine what to invest back into your company versus paying yourself?
- Navigating a crisis and loss of income
- Setting up a regular salary
- Building a team that can operate (at times) without you
More about Brittany Jepsen:
Brittany Watson Jepsen is the founder of The House That Lars Built, a craft and design award-winning site focused on artful and colorful living that started in 2008. The House That Lars Built has grown into a team of 6 who believe that making things with your hands connects you to your soul. Their mission is to provide tools and resources for beautiful and refined projects.
Brittany received her master's degree in interior design in Washington, DC, and studied product and textile design in Copenhagen, Denmark with internships at Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble in New York City. Brittany's work has been featured in The New York Times, Martha Stewart, CNN, Domino, Country Living, HGTV, and more. She is the author of Craft the Rainbow and My Life in Color and has various licensed products such as clothing, planners, dinnerware, swimsuits, and more to come! She lives in Provo, Utah with her husband, Paul, and 2 sons, Jasper and Felix.
Find Brittany on Instagram!
Check out the House That Lars Built Pinterest!