Scot Aubinoe founded One Life One Legacy in 2009.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
I've designed and sell an inspirational line of t-shirts that honors everyday heroes, inspires others to give back, and encourages people to create their own legacy. In addition, we have a giving campaign that gives a new shirt to a child in need for every shirt we sell. Our One Life One Legacy web site is a forum for people to share their stories about their personal heroes.
How did you come up with your business idea?
My daughter, Zoe (age 5), was the impetus behind the idea. Born with severe congenital heart defects, she has survived several surgeries and countless complications and setbacks. All the while, she persevered with grace and passion through her young life. She is my personal hero, and I know that there are so many more stories like hers – of people who inspire others through acts big and small – whom should be honored. I created a company and web site to honor these everyday heroes and use their stories to inspire others to create their own legacy. I also wanted to a way to give back, so I created the One Sold, One Given Campaign, where for every shirt sold, we will give one to a child in need.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I've had several businesses, some successful, some not. Most recently I was an established real estate agent in the DC-metro area.
Did you write a business plan? Was it an effective tool for you?
It was effective in helping me organize my thoughts and strategy. It is a work in progress; a framework that can be tailored as needed.
Who did you hire to help you?
I am leveraging the expertise of friends and former associates at the moment. I have experience in starting small businesses, but not in the garment arena. I would encourage anyone starting out with a new business to talk to as many people in that field that they can. I hired a business consultant who helped me with the details of the business plan and accountant for the numbers. I'm in the process of hiring of marketing director. It's important to have at least one good assistant to assist with the details because there are so many odds and ends to follow up on.
What outside resources were helpful for you? Business incubators, Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, ….
I've used Score twice and found one of the consultants very useful. I talked to a gentleman from the local county Chamber, and talked closely with another retailer similar to what I'm doing.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
I'm looking for office and storage space now while operating from home. It has pros and cons: The challenges are that the inventory is taking up a lot of space and I have the distractions of my four children. Obviously, the costs are low, but as we grow, I definitely will need to get bigger space.
Have you hired additional staff? What is your greatest human resources challenge?
My greatest HR challenge is to find the right people at the right time. It is often difficult to know who to hire first – there's so many things to get done. Of course, we want it done now, but without breaking the bank so I can't hire an entire staff. Knowing who to hire first can be difficult, so feel it out to decide exactly what your greatest needs are.
Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical for you as an entrepreneur to incorporate green business practices?
It is a factor, and in our business plan we will incorporate a Green component, but at this point it is cost prohibitive. We plan to offer it in our second season.
What an inspirational story, Scot. Best wishes for a great launch of your new business.