“Keep Things Light and the Risk Low”—Jaime Schmidt On Entrepreneurship and Her New Project 'Supermaker'

Photo Credit: Evan James Benally Atwood

Photo Credit: Evan James Benally Atwood

You may know Jaime Schmidt as the driving force behind her wildly successful company Schmidt’s Naturals, which was at the forefront of personal care products going natural. Or maybe you know her from her investment fund Color. which aims to support diverse and inspired founders. But if you don’t already know and love Jaime Schmidt you’re about to because today we’re talking about her new company Supermaker.

Supermaker is a platform that’s celebrating inclusive, independent brands and creators, and hosts conversations all about empowering progressive values in the workplace. We’re diving into what catalyzed her to create it, why it’s important and where it’s heading. She’s also offering up advice for young entrepreneurs and as the founder of three successful companies we’re pretty sure she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to this stuff.

Congrats on the launch of your new company Supermaker! Can you tell us where the idea for Supermaker came from?

Supermaker is a reaction to my own entrepreneurial experiences growing the company Schmidt’s Naturals from farmers markets into a global brand that was acquired by Unilever. Together with my partner and husband Chris Cantino, who ran Schmidt’s marketing and is today the co-founder of Supermaker, we’ve developed an understanding of the importance of community and real talk around social and political issues impacting careers and work environments. Inspired too, by the newest wave of artisans and entrepreneurs, we are excited to showcase these founders in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Is Supermaker a response to a larger cultural shift in consumerism?

Definitely. Today more than ever, consumers care about what, and increasingly, who, their money is supporting. They want to know where their products came from, who designed them, and how that company is contributing towards a more equitable and responsible society. We created Supermaker to fit within the larger “maker movement”—a shift in consumer thinking and purchasing towards products created by innovative and ethically-minded entrepreneurs.

Photo Credit: Evan James Benally Atwood

Photo Credit: Evan James Benally Atwood

Is Supermaker at all connected to Color.—your investment portfolio?

Color. and Supermaker are united in the same goal of elevating diverse and inspired founders. As an investment fund, Color. supports this mission and works directly with brands to create more equitable futures for business leaders, specifically those in underrepresented communities who generally have a harder time accessing capital or relevant mentorship. Supermaker is another way for us to elevate these brands and those like it, while also making the conversation more accessible and wide-reaching to engage a broader audience of like-minded people.

What advice do you have for new founders who are looking to grow their own successful businesses?

Keep things light, and the risk low in the beginning. Some people launch with a hardcore business plan and immediately invest time or money in all the infrastructure they think they will need. Your direction will likely deviate as you begin hearing from your customers and identifying your own true passions. Being able to change directions at the outset of a business is actually a strength that larger competitors may not have, so be flexible and willing to shift gears instead of getting stuck down a road you shouldn’t have gone down.

At the same time, pay attention to your own intuition, and trust when it’s time to go all in. Throughout my leadership of Schmidt’s all the way to our acquisition by Unilever, I trusted my internal compass and truly adopted a “no risk, no reward” mantra while evaluating the best directions for our company to take. Leading a company of 150 employees aside, I believe it was managing that risk tolerance that dictated Schmidt’s success, both in big picture thinking and in the day-to-day operations.

Be aware that as a woman, you’re often expected to bring some kind of credentials or experience to the table, while for men credibility is generally assumed. While it’s a battle you’ll continue to fight, don’t allow it to discourage you. Nobody can compete with your confidence, persistence, and passion.

ABOUT SUPERMAKER

Supermaker is an editorial-driven site that celebrates up-and-coming consumer brands and their founders. Supermaker, which Jaime created with her husband/business partner Chris Cantino, is part of her mission to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and is her next big venture since selling Schmidt’s Naturals to Unilever in 2017. Weaved together through beautiful storytelling and graphic design, Supermaker gives voice to a conscious, progressive agenda that shines a light on underrepresented communities.

Content will primarily fall within three categories: 1) brands and founders, 2) advocacy and perspectives on equality designed to improve business practices, and 3) career advancement articles ranging from worktivism, cash flow, and inclusivity. Supermaker is also engaging a diverse set of international contributors – hailing from Thailand, Israel, Ghana, Mexico and everywhere in between and brands featured on the platform include Brightland, Bippy, Yevu, Niyya, and Laylo Pets. Learn more at supermaker.com


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