Jane Lee | Co-Founder of Launch Pop
After starting her first business and working at Shopify, Jane developed a passion for launching brands. That passion led her to co-found LaunchPop — a venture studio that helps VC-backed entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.
SO HOW'D YOU GET STARTED?
After I graduated from school, I went into brand management at General Mills and Pepsi. Then I started my first company called Sleepy Intimates on Shopify. It did super well and eventually, I was recruited to work at Shopify. So I sold that business and worked at Shopify for two years as their entrepreneur resident. I did a lot of cool stuff including helping Kylie Jenner with her pop up, but I really wanted to work with entrepreneurs on bringing their ideas to life. So that’s when I started Launch Pop. What we do is help high-potential founders launch their direct-to-consumer businesses within eight months. We’re kind of like a full stack, e-commerce co-founder to these entrepreneurs. We do everything from design, marketing, growth hacking, and also we help our founders get funding for their seed or series A.
LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?
I’ve learned that co-founders are important, but finding the right co-founder is way more important than just trying to start something with someone. It’s also very important to realize that as your company grows, you’ll need to make decisions based off what is important for the business vs. your emotions.
"Success is being able to truly be yourself, have integrity in yourself and the decisions that you make, and essentially impact lives in a positive way."
BIGGEST AHA MOMENT?
Before starting LaunchPop, I realized that there had been no real innovation in the agency model. You pay them a certain amount of money and then you get a service in return. What we found is that there are so many great founders out there that need more than an agency, but they can't afford a full stack team. That was an aha moment for us, and the reason we created Launch Pop. We think of ourselves as more than an agency. We’re more like a venture studio where we become an actual partner to that founder. We do everything that an agency does, but we're also acting like co-founders. So we stay up until 2:00 a.m. helping our co-founders do things outside of what the project scope says. That was a huge aha moment for us. Kind of rethinking the agency model, challenging the industry and also being creative about how founders could afford to work with us.
ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF?
An accomplishment that I'm most proud of today is my relationship with my co-founder. Finding a great co-founder is really hard. And I found one who compliments me in terms of my skill sets, but also just personality wise. The success of our company is really correlated to the success of our relationship. We are so, so conscious of the fact that if our relationship is really awesome and we communicate well, then the company does well.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
Business is life and life is business. I don't think there's like a split in between those two things. And so for me, success is being able to truly be yourself, have integrity in yourself and the decisions that you make, and essentially impact lives in a positive way. As I scale out my business and it grows and grows, I start affecting a lot more people, impacting a lot more people's lives. You can hire people and inspire them and give people a chance at creating an empire or their business or their dreams. I'm realizing that that's what true success is.
WHAT ROLE DOES FAILURE PLAY IN BEING SUCCESSFUL?
Failure is the gateway to success. There’s no way to get to success without going through failure. There are a bunch of Unicorn companies out there that have done great really fast, but that doesn't mean that they didn't fail. They just failed really fast and learned how to pivot. I think the ability to fail and then pivot really fast and learn from it is the most important part. I will say that failure can be very expensive. It can cost you money, it can cost you relationships, it can cost you your health. And those are the hardest things to move on from, but being able to get over that is the most important part.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The whole reason why I started Launch Pop is because I love working with entrepreneurs who are so passionate about their product. People start businesses for different reasons, but the people we work with do it because they're so convinced it will change the way we live, and change the culture, and impact lives. So when I sit down and I listen to these founders stories, I get inspired. Listening to these people who have this huge passion to change the world through their business. That's what keeps me going.
HOW DO YOU REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL EVERY DAY?
It's so hard to gauge that because I don't know what my full potential is yet. I still feel like I'm learning that. As I grow and I build my business, I feel like I actually know a lot less. It's really interesting. [Laughs] There’s so much more I could learn. You become more humble. At the end of the day, I reflect and ask myself if I pushed myself to my limit.
ULTIMATE LIFE HACK?
My ultimate life hack is Airplane Mode Saturdays. It’s legit. I am constantly on my phone and my laptop because we’re doing direct-to-consumer businesses and everything is online. So on Saturday, I literally turn my phone on Airplane Mode, have a separate phone for Ubers because obviously, I want to go out. But I don't respond to anything, no messages, no emails, or anything like that. And it's crazy because on Sunday I wake up and I feel like my mind is so clear and it makes me think smarter and faster and more strategically. I would recommend it to anyone that is struggling with constantly feeling like there's fog in their mind. Try it. It's game-changing.
GO-TO PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
My productivity hack is sitting down with earphones on, but no music, with a big monitor and just grinding throughout the night with a coffee. Or a Morning Recovery. [Laughs]
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
I love reading. I'm really into fantasy and sci-fi books. I also love spending time with family and friends and doing active things. I used to be a dancer a long time ago, so I do love going out dancing.
"I’ve learned that co-founders are important, but finding the right co-founder is way more important than just trying to start something with someone."
HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Work and life is kind of the same thing for me. When I'm happy with work, I'm also happy in life and vice versa. My whole entire day is just a mixed match of business and life altogether. There are no real boundaries. It’s not like I work from nine to five and quit working after that. Sometimes I’m doing life stuff at noon and then working later on. It’s just about being responsible about what things I need to get done from a personal and business perspective and making sure that holistically my week or month is balanced between those two.
PIECE OF ADVICE?
Be super bold. One thing I struggled with was understanding my self-worth. When starting a business for the first time, a lot of people think they can’t compete with big players and so they decide to charge less for their services or products. So I think understanding your self-worth and bringing it to the table, but also being humble to learning. There’s this delicate balance that you need. The second piece of advice is to fail fast and learn from it. When I was younger and I started my first business, I was always bragging about the goods of my business. But actually what I love now is talking to people about where I failed. When you're networking and talking about your failures and sharing your learnings it’s actually way more valuable versus bragging.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
Right now, there's so many people that want to launch direct-to-consumer and e-commerce brands. We're just really scaling out the team so we can launch more companies. My co-founder and I have a lot of plans to create products and productize our processes.