#1 • Stories & Lessons of Founding Baron Fig
It was 5:49 in the morning, I was sitting in front of the Kickstarter campaign dashboard with my cursor over a little green button that said “Launch.” Clicking that button would start me on the most fulfilling journey of my life: creating our company, Baron Fig.
I’m getting ahead of myself. A lot of sweat and tears went into preparing all the little bits that culminated in my being ready to click that button.
The fortunate chain of events leading to Figcreation started in illustration class at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Scott Robertson and I had both gone back to school (I studied Literature and Philosophy my first go-round, followed by Graphic Design), so we were older than the rest of our classmates. We ended up sitting together a lot, chatting it up while spending three hours each week drawing the anatomy of live nude models. Drawing tends to come easier when I’m not overly scrutinizing my work, it was natural to talk with Scott to pass the time — and produce better work because of it. Over time, we got to know each other well.
Scott invited me to a Mastermind group, which was basically a small entrepreneur meetup. There were five of us, each week we had to set goals and report on the past week’s goals, keeping each other accountable. The group gave advice if we asked for it, and at the end of every weekly meeting one of us taught the rest a 5 minute lesson on anything.
That’s where I met Adam Kornfield, my co-founder here at Baron Fig. At the time he was working on an ecommerce website for button down shirts. He was attempting to cut out the middleman to take quality shirts from $100+ down to $40 each. At some point the three of us broke off from the group and started our own thing.
Adam, Scott, and I began meeting on our own. Chipotle was our location of choice — there’s nothing like a burrito bowl with guacamole to get the productivity juices flowing. We decided to do three startups in a year, dividing the time up into three slots of four months each. The idea was that each of us brought skills to the table that the others didn’t have. Adam had finance knowledge, Scott had web development skills, and I brought design capability.
Far too often I see new entrepreneurs try to start something with people who have the same skills. (I can’t tell you how many designer or developer duos I’ve met.) Sure they can relate to each other, they both speak the same technical language, but they’re also making each other redundant. At such an early stage there’s no need to have two people with the same abilities. And that was the premise behind partnering with Adam and Scott — we had almost zero overlap in knowledge, experience, and technical skill.
We called ourselves Rock&Co, a play on our last names, and thus the seeds were planted. Since the structure was my suggestion, I had Adam and Scott go first to avoid them thinking I was acting out of self-interest. I’d get my turn, but I had just as fun working on their ideas. Little did I know that it would be almost two years before my turn came about.