Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry
Describe your business in a few words?
Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple seasons and provide the perfect trifecta of fit, comfort, and quality.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was frustrated by the current options on the market for sweatpants. As women, we often have to choose between comfy & ugly and cute & low quality. Why do we have to settle for less in the name of comfort?
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have been working within small businesses for 15 years and started my first business, The General Store Seattle, in 2014. It was a brick & mortar general store that carried a wide variety of US-made goods, with 95% sourced from the PNW and 5% sourced from elsewhere in the US. It was also a Shopify ecommerce store and I managed the entire business from ideation, to creation, to development, to management, and, eventually, to closing down after two years.
I then moved on to other advisory roles in a couple of small businesses in the Seattle area before opening up my second business in 2018. I started as a leadership coach for entrepreneurs before niching into a small business consultancy brand. I now help leaders all over the U.S. and Canada launch, grow, and scale their small businesses efficiently with an eye toward automations, delegations, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Not always, it was more out of necessity when I graduated into the recession with a BA in Art History. I couldn’t find a living wage job anywhere so I decided to hire myself.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
We are currently in the launch phase and we are using networking, press features, social media content & engagement, Facebook ads, and Pinterest ads. We have already seen over 3,000 sessions on our website as a result.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
My first business failed and, at the time, I thought I would never recover. But it made me learn the importance of supportive social circles because, at the end of the day, it takes a village.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I am super proud of my determination to continue building businesses and the expertise I’ve built along the way. I fully expect my businesses to reach 6 and 7 figures in the next five years.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
What are your top 3 values? Values influence everything we are, say, and do. It is the lens through which we see the world and it is super important that your team members’ values align with your own and the company’s.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Last year was actually my best year ever in my consultancy, Liminal Clarity. I increased my revenue by over 600%.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We are primed to shift paradigms in the fashion industry. We want to make customer-focused fashion the norm while celebrating everyone’s diversity.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Invest in your social support circles first and foremost, it’s all about who you know!
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I have a regular meditation practice, a conscious social circle, and a therapist to help keep me aligned.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes! The Healthy Mind Platter by the NeuroLeadership Institute is my favorite tool, it has radically improved my life for the better.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
(1) Flexible time blocking with my Google calendar
(2) Intentionally building in time for breaks throughout the day
(3) Getting enough sleep every night
What does being an Entreprenista League member mean to you?
It means being part of an amazing community full of amazing business women and surrounding yourself with greatness.