Founder of GDS Cloth Goods
Established: 2015 | Number of employees: 2
Website: gdsclothgoods.com | Instagram: @gdsclothgoods
“We make reusable cloth goods designed for daily rituals. With 100% transparent sourcing and ethical manufacturing—the people whose hands make our products are just as important to us as the people who end up using them. With GDS, we hope to create meaning in people’s lives through thoughtful products and community care at every step in our supply chain.”
Why did you decide to start GDS Cloth Goods?
I had an “aha” moment while sitting at my local farmers market one morning. The realization was that I could provide for my community in the way the farmers do, and in the way I remember it being when I was a kid growing up in Brazil, before my family immigrated to the United States. I wanted a life with more purpose for myself, but also wanted to bring products with more meaning and less impact to my community.
What’s your best piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
In building a business, advice is 100% dependent on where you are in your journey and what your business is. But the one thing that always matters is your mindset. Be open to seeing yourself and accepting that you will be afraid, won't always have all the answers, will sometimes make wrong decisions, and will "fail" at times. This is all part of the journey. I find strength in remembering that courage happens in the presence of fear.
What has been your most impactful interaction with ICA and why?
In some ways what was so fascinating about my experience with ICA was that it opened my eyes to the entire business and other possible growth opportunities that I had not been focusing on. The day-to-day operations of the business are all-consuming. Building a growth strategy with mentors has been huge and will probably be more impactful than addressing my immediate challenges.
How have the challenges of the last year changed your strategy/long-term vision?
What we have seen in the last year—and what ICA has been diligent about getting across to us— is that it's risky to rely on one channel or one account too heavily for the business' sustainability. The changes in our strategy mostly have to do with reducing risks that could become huge vulnerabilities in times of crisis.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?
I made some decisions this year that would've really scared me in the past. With the right support and knowledge, I was surprised to see that I have felt extremely grounded through these decisions and changes. It's beautiful to find myself making moves in alignment with my values and accepting that I don't have full control over the outcome, but that I have made sound decisions with the support of great mentors.