As the co-founder and editor of Sidewalk Hustle, I can’t help but brag a little that my talents lie in, well, hustling. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for as long as I can remember, and squeezing the most out of my blood, sweat, and tears to make this lil’ business what it is today. Yes, I’m proud. Forget being modest. I also know that I couldn’t have done it alone. That’s why, Hustle Hub by LG gram, a new online community for those who hustle, speaks my language.

Developed and designed for my kind of people – busy entrepreneurs, creative professionals and digital nomads – Hustle Hub supports LG gram owners and anyone who has the Hustle spirit – and wants to work smarter, not harder, and breathe new life into their hustle. In case you forgot, the LG gram is the world’s sleekest, lightest, hardest working laptop in the game, with up to 25.5 hours of battery life, a large screen display, and much more.

As any entrepreneur will admit with both pride and a heavy heart, running a business has its serious ups and downs. Risk becomes part of your daily life, no longer something you weigh, but something you have to pull the trigger on in order to keep going. In the early days of Sidewalk Hustle, it took some steps forward and some steps back to define what we wanted to build and who we were there for.

There were some (ok, many) things that didn’t work out exactly as we had planned, but with the good and the bad, I learned and was able to continue to grow as a photographer and writer, while also adding a laundry list of skills to my CV. And I’m here today, better for it. I’ve had help along the way – mentors, industry experts, but nothing like Hustle Hub by LG gram.

The Hustle Hub by LG gram is a Facebook community that provides a platform to collaborate and network with like-minded people and is packed with content and resources to help you grow. There are live Q&A’s, exclusive content including insights from notable entrepreneurs, 1:1 business consulting and feedback with industry experts, masterclasses, invitations to special events, and most of all, community. Interested? Check it out and join by clicking here.

The first event is a live session with Joanna Griffiths, founder, and CEO of Knix which you can watch here. Since launching the direct-to-consumer company in 2013, Griffiths has built Knix into one of the fastest-growing intimate apparel brands globally. Joanna will share insights from her own personal experience as an entrepreneur and answer questions from Hustle Hub by LG gram Canada members.

As two female business owners operating primarily in the digital space, Joanna and I have been leading parallel paths for several years. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with her about our entrepreneurial experiences, and how community has played an integral role in our success.

Here’s a snippet of our conversation.

Sidewalk Hustle: Joanna, as you know, I’m in awe of the brand you’ve built. As the female founder and CEO of Knix, you’re wildly successful, after years of hard work. Would you have done anything differently when building your brand to get to where you are today?

Joanna Griffiths: That’s always such a tough one to answer! In some ways I am grateful for every step of the journey and what it taught me and in other ways it’s hard to not look back and cringe at the mistakes I made. In reality, there are only two things I would change – the first is getting over my imposter syndrome early on. It took me a long time to get comfortable with my success and I wish I hadn’t let those feelings get in the way. The second is placing a greater emphasis on being a good leader earlier on in Knix’s journey. The longer you work at something the more you realize it’s all about the team. 

SH: You’re bang on. Imposter syndrome is so prevalent, sadly, among females. I completely agree that it’s something that’s held me back as well. You’re an obvious champion for feminism – from your leadership role as a female CEO, your recent backlash against venture capitalists regarding your pregnancy, and of course, Knix’s use of models from diverse backgrounds and body types. Do you have any thoughts to share on holding true to your values when building a business?

JG: I fundamentally believe that authenticity is the rarest gift in the world and the only way to truly be authentic is to hone in on your values and be your true self no matter the circumstances. Building a business is a long game. There really aren’t any quick wins. It’s all about consistency over time and building something great that you believe in. One of the best pieces of advice I received was to attach myself and Knix to a mission that was bigger than just me, and bigger than just underwear. It made the tough decisions easier to make, and the tough days easier to fight through. 

SH: I couldn’t agree more. The day I decided to bring more and more of my personal self into Sidewalk Hustle was the day I felt things turned around for me. It’s all about showing your real self to others and if people aren’t interested, they can click on through. Believing that helps me know that my community of supporters are the real deal, and there for me over the long haul.
On that note, how do you ensure you’re listening to your consumer’s needs, and how much of that comes into play when designing new products?

JG: At Knix we embed the voice of the customer into every decision that we make. We take feedback from every channel and really try and decipher what it is they want and how we can better serve them. For product development specifically, we’ve got a pretty robust system to track requests, understand where the gaps are and then involve our customers in the fit and wear testing process so that we know it’s actually what they want. If you are looking for somewhere to start I like to say that the answers are in the comments. We are so lucky to live in an age where our customers are telling us all day, every day what they like and don’t like. Read the comments – and not just from people that have bought from you, but from those that haven’t. 

SH: Ha! I know exactly what you mean. I’m all over Sidewalk Hustle’s comments, from the moment they’re posted. The truth hurts sometimes, but it’s been an incredibly important development tool for me.
I know Sidewalk Hustle’s community pretty well by now, but I’m interested to hear about yours. How would you define the community that supports Knix and what are some of the attributes that set them apart from other groups?

JG: I am incredibly grateful for the Knix community. I think because we got our start through crowdfunding and have really put our customers at the center of what we do (wear testers, ambassadors, models etc) they feel connected and a part of the Knix journey and success. It’s rare to have a community that is cheering you on and wants to see you succeed but that is what we have. I also think that there is a community of entrepreneurs and other founders that are very supportive not just of Knix but also of me. I’ve made a proactive effort to not sugar coat things and to be open about my journey as a founder, a mom and a CEO and I think that people appreciate that. They look at me and look at Knix and see something that they could also build and I love that. 

SH: How important was a network of like-minded entrepreneurs when you were building your business? What advice do you have for someone starting a business to seek from this type of network?

JG: Finding your network is crucial. I honestly don’t know how someone could build a company without it – it’s too lonely and too hard. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of other founders and entrepreneurs. They helped me keep going when I didn’t think I could. They helped me to feel normal and understand that we all are dealing with similar problems. They also helped me get up the learning curve faster and avoid a lot of costly mistakes. If I were just starting a business I would be looking for a community where I could ask questions, exchange ideas, vent (because sometimes you just need a good vent), share/celebrate wins and in short feel supported and not alone. That’s what I hope Hustle Hub provides for people and I’m honoured to play a small part.

SH: I agree – having an online community like Hustle Hub is so important. I know the people I’ll connect with there will help me spark new ideas, ask essential questions and inspire me to become more productive. Coupled with my LG gram, I’ll be spending more time online than ever before (if that’s even possible?)

Thank you, Joanna!

Join the Hustle Hub community on Facebook now to enter the contest for a chance to win a new LG laptop & head to our Instagram on February 2nd for another chance to win as well. If you missed Joanna Griffith’s Facebook Live Q&A, tune in here.

Plus, gram owners who certify their model number and purchase information will receive a Hustle Hub welcome kit along with special offers and event notifications.

*this post was made possible by LG Canada, however the opinions expressed are my own.