For beautiful fine leather goods, look no further than Fount, Cleveland’s premier design and production house. This small business has blossomed into a Cleveland powerhouse as they revive the fashion industry from Northeast Ohio. I sat down with Fount’s Jackie Wachter to learn more about running a successful business and their mantra behind expertly crafted handbags and accessories.
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
My husband and I (Phillip and Jackie Wachter) started FOUNT because of our passion for creating high-quality products in an ethical workplace. Americans have become so accustomed to disposable fashion, and we wanted to offer an alternative as we create products that were made to last a lifetime because we believe in “Quality over Quantity.” The very meaning of the word “FOUNT” is “An abundant source of desirable quality” and this has become the heartbeat of our company with the products and the customer service that we bring to our customers.
Why do you love doing business here in Cleveland?
We love doing business here in Cleveland because our city is so incredibly supportive of small businesses. People are so excited for something new and innovative! Also, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with so many photographers, designers, and artists because Cleveland is such a team-oriented city. Additionally, Cleveland is an affordable city, allowing us to produce truly Cleveland made products right in the heart of downtown!
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
The most helpful customer feedback we receive is on what products the customers would like to see us create next. Because we create our products here in Cleveland, we get the opportunity to talk closely with our customers at our storefront and at different pop-up shows around the city, like the Cleveland Flea. This gives us the opportunity to hear what they love about our bags and what more they want to see. From this feedback, we have developed some of our new products as well as tweaked some of our existing products to meet the needs of our customers.
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
Starting our own business was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life because you are constantly taking risks. Additionally, it takes a good amount of time until the investments you have made will start to pay themselves off and your business can be profitable. With that in mind, my biggest piece of advice is to find experienced and respectable entrepreneurs who will give you strong advice and guidance to help you make wise business moves that will minimize your risk. Every business has times that they have hit roadblocks. Rather than viewing these moments as failures, we choose to view them as learning experiences that help us reroute and plan more wisely for the next move. By meeting regularly with our mentors, we have been able to avoid making quite a few mistakes due to them sharing advice from their years of wisdom they gained from their own experiences as entrepreneurs.
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