Entrepreneurs take the plunge into their businesses every day, and some even leave major companies to do so. It takes a level of confidence and know-how for sure, but it also means having the gumption necessary to take that leap of faith in yourself and your business idea.
If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve found these entrepreneurs whose stories will motivate you to take the plunge into your dream.
1. Anastasia Leng – Hatch
Just five years ago, Anastasia Leng worked on such big name products as Google Wallet and Google Chrome years before they ever saw the light of day. Another former Google employee, Ryan Hayward, soon became her partner in a venture that became known as the ecommerce company, Hatch, which is a site that enables consumers to order products that can be completely customized and personalized from start to finish. Hatch has since raised $1 million from investors to date. TIME even named Hatch one of its 10 NYC Startups to Watch in 2014.
After four and a half years at Google, Leng began feeling too settled in at her cushy job and wanted to shake up her stability with a newfound sense of career excitement. As soon as the concept for Hatch hatched in her mind, the urge to leave Google only grew stronger. On her five-year anniversary, Leng sent in her notice to Google, and by November of that year, Hatch, then called Makeably, was born. The company went public in May 2013, and Leng is officially living the dream as a successful entrepreneur.
2. Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez – Maker’s Row
Matthew Burnett has always been an entrepreneur at heart with a flair for design and eye for what works as a successful business model. After having worked with such large brands as Marc Jacobs and DKNY, Burnett set off on a journey to create his own watch brand, Steel Cake. After disappointing experiences with international manufacturers, Burnett took a different direction with The Brooklyn Bakery and instead used only American-made leather accessories. Its merchandise was picked up by more than 100 boutiques, including major retailers like Nordstrom.
Then Tanya Menendez came into the picture. Burnett convinced Menendez to leave her job as a Goldman Sachs analyst to join him on their own business ventures. After continuing to grow The Brooklyn Bakery, Burnett eventually came up with Maker’s Row, which is an avenue for designers to easily search manufacturers and be guided throughout each step of the process.
Maker’s Row now has 1,400 apparel and accessories manufacturers involved in its website, and the company is now also beginning to assist the manufacturers with optimizing their online presence. In July 2013, Maker’s Row successfully closed a seed round of $1 million, led by Comcast Ventures and Index Ventures. With this funding, Maker’s Row demystifies the manufacturing process unlike any other company before it, and it is making its mark in the fashion and manufacturing industries.
3. Pete Girgis – Qui Tequila
Once a corporate attorney, Pete Girgis left his big corporate job to venture into, what else? Tequila. At his major firm, he didn’t feel he was creating anything, and he instead looked to his father, who was a small business owner who owned liquor stores Pete Girgis managed while in school. This developed his passion for spirits—a passion that would enable him to identify the opportunity in the luxury tequila market, which he pursued along with his cofounders, whom he met while practicing law. He called this new venture Qui Tequila.
What Girgis has now developed is the first Platinum Extra-Anejo Tequila in the world, which means that after they make the tequila, it rests in French Bordeaus and American Whiskey barrels for three and a half years, which imparts a rich flavor, aroma and character. They then filter the tequila nine times and distill it a third time for its impeccably smooth finish. To date, no one has ever used such a process, and to only solidify Girgis’ belief in his dream, his tequila won Gold in the Spirits of the Americas Competition.
These are just four examples of entrepreneurs who left the supposed pinnacle of their career path and built themselves up in a new way. You never know where the next big idea or successful entrepreneur might come from—maybe it could be you.
Photo: @Ponystasia | @MakerTanya | @MakerMatthew | @PeteGirgis
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