Galyn Bernard and Christina Carbonell met when managing marketing at Diapers.com. They quit together, though, with a mission: to start a company that would address their own frustrations with the children's-clothing market. In 2015, they launched Primary, which sells sturdy, ecofriendly, colorful kids' basics--no sequins, logos, or itchy tags. Last year, Primary topped $30 million in revenue. Inc. asked several successful entrepreneurs like Bernard and Carbonell to share a piece of early career (or life) advice that changed everything. Here's what they had to say. --As told to Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
The best business advice I've gotten was very early in my career from Ann Fudge, who was the general manager of the Maxwell House division of Kraft Foods, where I had landed my first job after college.
She said that who you are is more important than what you do. And she showed it by successfully leading a more than $1 billion business with passion and authenticity. What I learned from her, at a time when I was impressionable and hungry to drive results, is that it is not only possible but also powerful to lead with kindness.
She inspired me and many others to be strong leaders by first knowing what kind of people we wanted to be.
At Quidsi, the company behind Diapers.com, and now at Primary, our stated core values include kindness and authenticity. When we hire, we avoid sharp elbows, and we value those who lead with passion, heart, and respect for others.
We were meeting with Mickey Drexler recently about a bunch of things and started talking about stripe layouts. It was a hot topic for us, because we had just started evolving our kids' clothing company Primary beyond our solid-color beginnings and were really wanting to make sure we had the perfect first layout for our kids' stripe tees.
He just said: "Don't overthink it. Pick what you like."
In a startup, there are so many situations where it is really important to think and analyze and think more to get to the right answer. But there are millions of others, like this one, where there just actually isn't a right (or a wrong) answer. And the most important thing in those situations is to be able to move quickly and confidently forward on the things you believe in most.
That was a big part of how we got to where we are today. It was a great reminder that I love coming back to as we continue to build the brand.