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"Are you still launching WLDKAT?" How we navigated a start-up during a global pandemic.

You really couldn’t make it up if you tried.  Starting a brand from the ground up is difficult enough but throw in a global pandemic and you really have a story.

The question I have received the most in the last two weeks…Are you still going to launch WLDKAT?  The first time was one of those moments where the thought never crossed my mind until someone said it out loud.  But the thought was fleeting.  I really believe in WLDKAT.  Really.

Transparency has been my thing since before it was a thing. Honesty to a fault has generally been my motto.  To admit I am wrong or to say I don’t know isn’t a daily challenge for me.  To say I am scared to make a decision or to ask for help isn’t much of an issue for me.  If fact, I will tell you that I never had the drive or vision to start a brand.  It just didn’t feel like something I wanted to or needed to do.  But here I am…a woman (this shouldn’t matter but unfortunately it still does), starting a brand in one of the most tumultuous times in recent history, leading a team of younger humans that look to me for guidance and decision making on a daily or hourly basis.  Am I scared? Yes.  Do I have self-doubt every day? Yes. Do I sometimes wish I hadn’t signed up for this adventure? Yes. 

It terrifies me, inspires me, grounds me, makes me laugh and makes me cry each day knowing that my decisions directly affect a group of people that I don’t want to fail, my immediate family and my extended family, the tiny but mighty WLDKAT team.  Each of one them in their own way motivates me to keep on keeping on (but let’s be honest, what other choice do we have).  I take their energy and enthusiasm for even the smallest daily accomplishments and translate that into the larger vision for the brand.  WLDKAT is a brand built by a team of people on a foundation of values that we not only believe in but actually practice.  From day one I wanted to make sure that WLDKAT was about having a set of values that we stood behind (freedom to create, tenacity, honesty, team work, sustainability to name a few.) 

Recently I have had moments where I question if maybe it’s a bit shallow to launch a beauty brand when there are much more important issues in our world going on. But it was actually just recently I realized that launching WLDKAT is bigger than that.  In our small microcosm, the work that we are doing is really important.  Because this company provides our team stability, a roof over their head, food on the table and a sense of purpose to their lives.  I can’t fail them.

Somehow each day is the same yet completely different but within it I have a few sacred times. Morning coffee by myself before the rest of the house wakes, some sort of workout, evenings with my family, and now, the twice-daily check-ins with the WLDKAT team.  There are days when these video chats are more serious and task oriented but then there are others that are just a simple sanity check. A 4:00pm cheers to say we had a good day, we are still sane and that we are all here for one another.  

In 30 years, if someone asks me about the time when we started WLDKAT, my answer will be, “You couldn’t have made up if you tried.”

 Amy Zunzunegui

CEO/Founder of WLDKAT

 

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