Taking entrepreneurship one step at a time

Jennifer Rainnie, the founder of Malvados and podcast host Manjit Minhas talk about entrepreneurship and well-being.

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“You’re never too old to chase a dream and to start a business,” says A Wealth of Women’s Stories podcast host, Manjit Minhas. “I find it fascinating that, according to Harvard Business Review, the average age of a successful start-up founder is 42.”

While we often hear stories about people in their twenties starting businesses, Minhas says many successful businesses have actually begun by people taking advantage of a later start to their entrepreneurial careers.

Jennifer Rainnie, who started her company Malvados at aged 46, agrees.

“I think we see a lot of press out there with young founders, because it's so fascinating when you hear of somebody in their twenties creating some multi-billion-dollar company,” says Rainnie. “But really, the majority of entrepreneurs, really successful, big entrepreneurs, are older.”

Rainnie cites business success stories started by people when they were older; like Chip Wilson who started Lululemon at 42; fashion designer Vera Wang was 40 when she started her company; and Martha Stewart (yes that Martha Stewart) started at 50.

“It's all of that experience that goes into creating an incredible brand later in life,” says Rainnie.

Minhas agrees, saying personally she found it fascinating that as she got older, she got more clarity.

“I know for myself, that, as I'm getting older, I'm more patient, I know how to fail. I definitely have a lot more awareness of my talents and skills,” says Minhas. “And naivety is sometimes good, but not always, when you think you're the best at everything.”

Rainnie says her years of experience working on brands like Quiksilver and Roxy set her up for success.

“I went through years of working for massive fashion companies and learning so much about marketing and sales and production, that saved me years and years and years of mistakes I would've made starting a brand if I hadn't done those years,” says Rainnie.

Rainnie’s experience with fashion companies prepared her to launch Malvados, a brand that creates footwear “For the wild at heart, the thrill seekers and the courageous dreamers.”

“I've always been a bit of an entrepreneur. I have had other businesses in the past, and ultimately, with Malvados, I had been working for all these fantastic brands, that had great stories and had great marketing, but sometimes, the product wasn't so great,” says Rainnie.

She says with Malvados she saw something, and realized there was an opportunity and a hole in the market. 

“They weren't really branding and telling a unique story. At the time, everything was surf culture, and all of the brand ambassadors were surfers. All of the marketing looked the same, and the product looked the same. So, I felt like I could do something more unique and tell a better story,” she says.

Malvados is women owned and operated. When Rainnie started, she was selling to a lot of swimwear retailers and stores, and when she looked to hire the best sales representatives from that industry, they were mostly women.

“So, it was natural just for us to have women sales reps, but also, even our warehousing managers and our warehousing team, mostly all women,” says Rainnie. “I find that they're super organized. They're also compassionate and understanding. And I think it's really important that we tell that story as well, that we do have a mostly women-operated company. We like to celebrate that for our brand.”

Rainnie says that everything associated with Malvados is tied into how she lived her life.

“I want to be able to provide [customers] a product that they're going to be happy travelling the world with or going on adventures with. But also, I have strong beliefs in giving back, in doing volunteer work,” says Rainnie. “I have always strongly believed that the height of your success is equal to the depth of your gratitude. I also really believe that you can't expect your community to care about you if you don't care about them.”

Malvados walks the walk. They are partners with Soles4Souls, an organization that collects new or gently used shoes for people in need.

“We give [Soles4Souls] all of our old stock,” says Rainnie. “We also do shoe drives with our retailers, so they can collect gently used shoes and provide them to the community.”

Rainnie’s advice for other entrepreneurs looking for their start, at any age, is to keep it simple.

“I think we just get so wrapped up in trying to be more, do more. I would say, keep it simple,” says Rainnie. “And love what you do. Work hard. Nothing comes easy.”

You can listen to the full episode here or on your favourite podcast streaming app!

Learn more at ig.ca/women.


Published by IG Wealth Management as a general source of information only. Not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, or to provide tax, legal or investment advice. Seek advice on your specific circumstances from an IG Wealth Management Consultant.

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