May Ifs: Happiness Is a Choice

If mood impacts revenue

Do you wake up and greet the day with a quick flip through your email and feeds? 

That ritual could be setting you up for a shitty day and costing your company revenue. 

Mel Robbins says,

Put YOURSELF first before you let the world in. That means no phone, no news, no TV, no technology, no email. No nothing before you take 10 minutes for you.

It not only makes sense, but it’s also science. An astounding 80% of smartphone users scroll through emails and social media first thing in the morning (IDC Research, 2015).

What's that doing to your brain? Research from Harvard Business Journal and the University of Pennsylvania found that even just 3 minutes of bad news in the morning means you’re 27% more likely to be unhappy for the rest of your day. 

And your bad attitude can impact the bottom line. The HBR article linked above goes on to cite an astounding data point from a study Nationwide Insurance conducted on their culture:

The president of Nationwide Brokerage Solutions, Gary Baker, decided to apply positive psychology research to the company’s workday. In particular, employees begin their days with a “huddle,” where they meet to share good news and rally around colleagues who might need some extra support that day. Those positive starts to the day, among other changes instituted based on positive psychology training at Nationwide, have led to an increase in gross revenues from $600 to $900 million and an application rate 237% higher in just one year.

You're the leader. Your mood sets their mood.


If they can, you can 

A food writer and product manager start a direct-to-consumer cookware company, bake up a $3.4 seed round, and hire Pentagram to do their branding.

Sound like a fairy tale? Pffft, it's never that easy. Thanks to Lindsay Myers for sharing this entertaining journey story that oozed into a deep dive of the Great Jones brand launch.

The ingredients: 

  • Two female founders 

  • A new idea rooted in an area of passion or previous expertise 

  • Connections in that area that opened doors (food industry, product design) 

  • Female investors from Away, a recently minted Unicorn (see below!) 

  • Commitment to the idea (quitting a job and going all in at the right time)

  • A co-founder with a complementary skill set 

  • Chinese manufacturing partners aligned on values (willing to innovate on design, respectful treatment of workers) 

  • Drooly Insta feed (sexy pots, sexier people cooking) 

  • Solid product that solves a need (performance, pricing) 

This quote from Sierra Tishgart, Co-Founder & CEO cuts deep:

I didn’t realize how much my sense of self-worth and satisfaction relied on my work being consumed by the public. I didn’t know how long it would take until I felt proud of myself and my work again. In darker moments, I wondered what the hell I would do if we failed, as most startups do.

Mmhmm. Been there.

And a taste of what went into the brand creation:

All these months, while we worked on our physical products, we were also bringing a living, breathing brand to life. Naming the company was particularly challenging; Great Jones is actually a nod to the cookbook editor Judith Jones, as well as the New York street. (We designed a logo inspired by 1970s New York typefaces.) We wanted Great Jones to feel as warm, nostalgic, and joyful as opening your favorite vintage cookbook—an ode to the past instead of a ‘disruptive’ future.

You can identify their brand attributes from that paragraph—warm, nostalgic, joyful.

Notice how those attributes permeate every touchpoint:

The homepage.

The homepage.

The packaging. How can you not be happy looking at this?

The packaging. How can you not be happy looking at this?

A packaged set.

A packaged set.

The box can be re-used by the chillins of the purchaser. Aww.

The box can be re-used by the chillins of the purchaser. Aww.

The option to personalize the lid with a saucy engraving.

The option to personalize the lid with a saucy engraving.

A still image from a photoshoot. Tone-setting.

A still image from a photoshoot. Tone-setting.

Urban poster series.

Urban poster series.

Great Jones likely spent $250,000+ of their $3.4 million seed raise on the branding. I share this not to make you jealous or depressed, but to remind you that you have to budget for branding as a consumer startup. You can do incredible things with your brand on a budget if you know what you stand for. Soon, Underwire will have a product to help you with that 😉. 

Lastly, tits up to Emily Oberman, partner at Pentagram, who led the Great Jones brand development team. Ms. Oberman also recently designed The Wing’s No Man’s Land publication and the Saturday Night Live intro titles. 

Further reading: 

If all hail the chiefs 

For the first time in Fortune 500 history, 33 companies are led by female CEOs, the highest total ever. Progress! 

Why? Well, Christy Glass, a Utah State University professor who focuses on gender inequality, says that her research “has shown that when boards are well-integrated with women, women are much more likely to be appointed CEOs.” The push for board diversity, she says, “may be paying off in terms of women appointed as CEOs.”

Here they are:



If bad is good

Another book recommendation from Lynne Hannah, who says, “This book is so resonant with starting a company late in life and it hits on the theme that, no matter what your age, you won’t be good at anything in the beginning… so lighten up, lose the imposter syndrome and have fun on the journey.”