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Sarah Calhoun, owner, Red Ants Pants, White Sulfur Springs, MT, sharing her experiences of building a Brand with no experience during the Energize! Conference held this past May in De Smet.

Start A Brand With No Experience?

All you need is a little humor and heart, integrity and courage. Sarah Calhoun found a need, realized a skill, and mixed in her passion to start a company that makes work pants to fit women. Her story will inspire you to find a location you love, and start a business there.

For more information about Sarah and her business, visit the Red Ants Pants website.

Good branding is at the heart of any good business, but most of the branding advice you’ll find online or in person is about making sure that your brand remains consistent in your marketing efforts, or gets improved, if it's already established. What happens if your business has never developed a brand, or if you’re just starting out, trying to build a business from scratch (DeMers, 2015)? Here are six things to remember: 1. Identify your target market; 2. Learn your competitors’ brands; 3. Separate your unique differentiators; 4. Define your brand as a 'person; 5. Apply your brand personality to multiple areas; 6. Get help (DeMers, 2015).

On Finding Mentors

  • Tanya: Where’s a good place to find mentors?
  • Laura: I think for us that’s something we were looking for in the beginning, especially since we didn’t have fashion experience. So, we looked for expertise in two different areas. Business expertise you can find in various areas. There’s the Small Business Association, Small Business Development Center, Score, many of those different things for business planning (Moffat, 2016). In South Dakota there is also the SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team that can help with business planning.
  • Laura: And from a fashion perspective, we really wanted to be in a fashion accelerator. And that’s not necessarily open to everybody, but if you’re in a city that’s possible – I know that there’s also an online fashion accelerator that you can do as well – I think that that way you can be there, you can get mentorship from people that have experience (Moffat, 2016).

So, you're ready for the next step in your career only there's one little teeny tiny problem: You have no experience in your new chosen field. Believe it or not, your ship isn't quite sunk. There are ways to break into a new career even if it's something you've never done before (Scvicque, 2012).


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