Two women. Living in different cities. One an artist and dreamer. The other, a former global marketing executive turned homeschooling mom. Seven kids ages 9 and under between the two of them. United by their faith and a passion to change culture.
One day, this unexpected duo came up with an idea. The kind of idea that got their blood flowing and sparked a new flame within them. An idea that kept playing on repeat in the back of their minds as they went through their days folding laundry, driving carpool and cooking dinner over the stove. It was an idea they hadn’t seen done before. One they tried to ignore, but couldn’t.
But most importantly, it was an idea they had no business pursuing.
Since we launched Lily & Lamb in March 2022, we’ve had as much interest in our “story” as we’ve had in our products. Friends, family and strangers ask us how we did it - the idea, the designs, the manufacturing process and more. So, we thought from time to time, we could give you a behind-the-scenes view of our faith-based entrepreneurial journey. Here's brief summary of how we turned an idea into a reality.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.”
This is a great description of the friendship that began between Anneli and myself after working together on launching a ministry promoting God’s design for marriage and family.
We were both passionate about our faith and had a strong desire to bring light to our darkened culture. But a lot of people feel this way. What made us really “click” is that we both felt called to live this out through faith-based business.
The Church has so many wonderful people building and running incredible ministries. But in the business world, the Church is practically non-existent. We believe this is leading to catastrophic consequences for our culture - just look at all the corporations pushing non-Christian ideologies on our families. As one parent said to me recently, “I don’t know where to shop anymore!”
For a couple years we brainstormed ideas, and somewhere along the way we came up with the idea of creating beautiful, faith-based clothing for families. We even had a name: Lily & Lamb.
We loved the idea but it seemed too impossible. For starters, neither of us had any experience in the world of fashion. Nor did we have any experience in manufacturing, shipping or e-commerce. It seemed like too steep a learning curve, especially since we were busy with kids, homeschooling and our part-time jobs. So, we set the idea aside and kept brainstorming.
Over the next year we started and stopped several other ideas - a faith-based think tank, an agency, an online magazine, a video project and a yard sign and t-shirt company. But everything eventually fizzled out.
Lily & Lamb kept popping up.
In January 2021, after much prayer and many conversations, we decided it was time to give Lily & Lamb a go. And this time we said we would commit to at least one year and go all in.
We decided not to share the idea with friends and family - we knew they would only talk us out of it.
So we consulted with some industry experts. And guess what... They tried to talk us out of it.
They told us our designs were too complex. The children’s market is too difficult. Our costs would be too high. Our market was too niche. Basically we were told it was a bad idea.
In the interview, Walker said, “The lesson that I’ve learned…is that usually what looks like good ideas are bad ideas. And usually what looks like bad ideas are good ideas. The problem with good ideas is that everybody tries to do them. And as a result of it there are so many people working on the same things that there’s no value to be created.”
A lightbulb popped over my head. Perhaps all the negative feedback was a sign that we were on to something…that our bad idea was in fact a very good idea…
We chose to ignore the advice and we kept going. In many ways, I think our naivete was an asset for us. Had we really understood all the challenges, we may never have gotten started.
Designers told us our designs were too complex. We adjusted.
Factories ignored us - our minimum order quantities were too low. We kept reaching out until we found a factory that took us on.
Our first round samples didn’t match our vision. We worked with the factory for over six months on the revisions.
We realized we needed help with shipping and logistics, but no company was willing to work with a startup like us. We kept asking until one finally agreed.
The shipping world was in chaos. No one could tell us how long it would take to get our products. We decided to air freight our shipment to avoid having our items sit in the port for months.
This is just a glimpse into some of the challenges we faced along the way. With each one, not only did we persevere through hard work, but each time it seemed that a door was closing, we saw the hand of Divine Providence open a new one.
After we launched in March 2022, we touched base with one of the fashion design freelancers who had helped us along the way. Even she couldn’t believe we made it this far. Less than two months later, we sold out of our featured dress.
We know our story is still just a humble beginning, but this entrepreneurial journey is like climbing a steep mountain. Every now and then you need to stop and look back to see how far you've come. When you can see your progress, it motivates you to keep climbing and striving for the peak.
If you have an idea and don't know where to start, we hope our story helps inspire you to embark on the journey.
Our culture needs your talent. Your gifts. And your crazy idea.
Here's to chasing crazy,
Anneli & Katie