Today we’d like to introduce you to Ruby Sulter.
Hi Ruby, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started with a local screen printing contact from my Dad, a box of printed comfort colors logo tees (that I sourced using a reference from my 8th-grade History teacher), and a website I designed on wix. This Thursday I launched our first officially custom-manufactured summer solstice collection to over 150 people. Taking a step back that growth is absolutely insane, and it’s nowhere near the end of where B.D.F.O. is going to go.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has definitely not been a smooth road to get to where I’ve gotten B.D.F.O. today and the road ahead probably isn’t much smoother 🙂
There are of course the immediate struggles of being a teen female entrepreneur with little capital in the fashion business industry, but the biggest struggles have always been the little things that go wrong and force me to pivot. It’s always been the tasks and processes that are supposed to be the most straightforward that make it difficult to keep going. The easiest example is ideas like social media growth and word of mouth. When I first started out I truly believed that all I needed to do to earn a social following and blow up my brand was by having a meaningful mission and unique business. Though having a mission-driven brand is extremely important, I got very frustrated when social growth and following didn’t instantly come with it.
The morning of our product sample photoshoot I wasn’t feeling positive for whatever reason, and as we pulled into the venue parking lot I received a text saying that we wouldn’t be able to use the room I was planning on taking the photos in. It was absolutely devastating for me. The photos I envisioned, the communication I sent to my models and my photographer, and the lighting logistics all fell apart in one minute. Which when you’re shooting your sample products professionally for the first time, having the entire plan fall apart was a nightmare. I actually considered canceling the shoot and forgetting about getting the product photos. If it wasn’t for my mom, my sister, my best friend, and our amazing photographer, I would’ve taken a lot longer to find a solution to this problem.
But what I’ve learned is that these bumps come up frequently, if not all the time. The new “mentality” that I’ve developed for myself in these situations is to allow 5 minutes to be completely and utterly upset. Yell, cry, or break down, I have 5 minutes to completely lose it. Once the 5 minutes are done, it’s time to pivot and get back to work.
One of the biggest mountains I had to get over is what me and my mom I like to call “the manufacturing bomb drop”. One night a couple of weeks before our original event date, we found that our manufacturer wasn’t going to deliver our products in time after months of planning and weeks of sampling. This was probably one of the most heart-breaking points of my journey so far and where I felt so close to giving up. For the next three days, I genuinely thought it was all over and that I had failed as an entrepreneur. But really these bumps in the road actually only solidified my entrepreneurial skills and spirit. I’ve learned that pushing through the mountain when we feel 99% ready to give up is actually a core part of what entrepreneurship truly is.
I’ve learned to pivot so much and so quickly that my mom and I call it “pirouetting” instead of pivoting, which I believe is truly what all entrepreneurs do every single day. There’s always a new challenge, there’s always someone who doesn’t show up, cash that doesn’t come in, product malfunctions, slammed doors, dropped deals, and the list goes on. But this year I’ve learned that really, entrepreneurship is learning to pivot so quickly and so efficiently that it becomes second nature.
We’ve been impressed with B.D.F.O. Lifestyle, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
B.D.F.O. stands for Bold.Determined.Fierce.Outstanding. and we’re on a mission to instill confidence through clothing. Bridging the positivity gap within the fashion industry by providing confidence, sustainability, and diversity to young women with a brand that designs clothing with them in mind.
We focus on producing sustainably with fabrics such as POLY-RET and CARVICO which are fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles. We also produce in small batches and focus on meeting direct customer demand to reduce waste.
We hope to create a diverse and positive visual/social presence for our audience by bringing on models of all shapes, sizes, and colors. As well as featuring our heart-centered size tags allowing young women to focus on finding the right fit and not just the “right” size.
We design with you in mind, by actively listening to customer pain points within the fashion industry and tailoring our future pieces to help fix those problems. Such as our swimwear, where we created high-leg cut bottoms that still had medium to full coverage. Or our new hoodies that have a Confidence Cheat Code on the sleeve to remind you how B.D.F.O. you truly are 😉
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I’m still in high school! My age is definitely the most surprising thing to my business partners and new contacts. This Spring, I was invited to Vikki Goodwin’s Women in Business round table at the Capital of Texas, and she asked me how I balanced college and business so well. Then she asked me what year I was in. I said, “a junior, I’m a junior in high school”. The whole meeting room was still for a second and then a man in the back said, “highschool!?”, stood up and started clapping. All the women in that room started clapping out of pure surprise and slight confusion as to how I was 17 years old. I felt an enormous amount of success that day.
- Website: bdfolifestyle.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bdfolifestyle/
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/rubysulter/
Joi Conti, Josiah Sanchez, Adryanna Sanchez, Heather MacLaren, Ruby Sulter