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Episode 31: Kate Wagner Launches Debut Clothing Line

Episode 31: Kate Wagner

August 16, 2019

Kate Wagner is a mother, writer and now, owner of her own clothing line. After working at startups Dwolla and Adore Your Walls, Kate decided to take the leap and start a clothing line for women inspired by their ambitions. She speaks about her journey with Greater Des Moines Partnership Executive Director Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Mike Colwell.

Early Lessons

Kate’s earliest lesson in the business world came upon entering the workforce. She learned not to be polite at work. Kate explains that your first job can be brutal, especially if you come from a home where you’ve been taught to have manners. She says while you should always be kind, in a job it doesn’t always serve you well to have manners. You’ve got to stick up for yourself. Mike agreed and added that if you’re constantly holding the door open for others, you’ll always be there holding the door.

Another early career lesson Kate learned about herself was the need for flexibility. With that in mind, she took a job with startup Dwolla. She spent more than five years as the executive assistant to the CEO. It was that job that taught Kate to keep going no matter what.

After Dwolla, Kate moved into working for Adore Your Walls with her sister, Liz Lidgett. She spent a few years there before deciding it was time to start focuses on her own dreams.

Clothes and Confidence

Throughout her life, Kate found that the right clothing helped her gain confidence. She believes that what you wear tells a story about who you are and what you want to tell the world. This belief is what led Kate to launch, Lidgett, a special clothing line designed for women and tailored to their ambitions.

Kate launched a Kickstarter campaign, which she knew would be difficult after watching her sister launch a Kickstarter for the Adore Your Walls website. She knew she had to find a sweet spot for picking the best amount to fundraise for a Kickstarter campaign.

She suggests having a prototype first so people can envision your dream. Kate warns that many people expect a large amount of money to come through Kickstarter, but she says most people that give money are from friends sharing the campaign with others. Those friends of friends led to 50% of donations that came from people Kate didn’t know, which showed her the excitement for the line and indicated possible success.

After raising capital, Kate began working with local artist Jenna Brownlee to turn her ideas into stunning designs for her clothing collection.

Find more info on the 2019 debut collection at shoplidgett.com.

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Startup Stories DSM

Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.