Super U Podcast | Achieving the Dreamstate with Ashley Merrill
On today’s episode, Erik sits down with the CEO of Lunya, Ashley Merrill. Founded in Santa Monica in 2012, Lunya specializes in luxurious and minimalistic sleepwear for women. Merrill is reinventing sleepwear for modern women and now men. Erik and Merrill discuss Lunya’s purpose, the importance of building a good team, why you should say yes to every connection, the benefits of imagining your customer specifically, the advantages of slow growth, and much more.
Ashley is also the Chairwoman of Outdoor Voices, founder of Lahgo, and her newest project, the Deep, a media platform that makes philosophy and personal exploration accessible through thought-provoking questions.
5x #1 Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in over 55 countries and reached over 50 million people this past decade. He was voted the 2nd Most Likable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling.
Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from the episode.
Super U Podcast | Achieving the Dreamstate with Ashley Merrill
“A lot of people will come to me and they’ll say why would I buy sleepwear? Why would I spend 100 and something dollars on a pair of pants when I can wear my, you know, sweats around the house? And it’s sort of interesting, because what we’ve realized is, it’s not a story about why you need to buy sleepwear, it’s a story about you being worth it. And I think for us as a brand, we’ve had to really reimagine our purpose in a woman’s life to be a lot more about that story, which is about letting women go, hey, you know, you feel fine buying that $250 cocktail dress that you’re going to wear two times out of the house because that’s for other people, but you won’t invest in something that’s going to make you feel better every single day. Sort of like take a hard look at that. And so, as a company, we’ve realized that you know, what, maybe our mission goes way beyond just sleep where maybe it’s much more about helping this woman to feel worth it, you know, and, and that it’s not just about other people, it’s about how she feels.”
“In the early days, when when you’re all sort of doing everything. Every morning, you wake up going, do I really want to do this should I be doing this is there anybody that really wants this product is a potential here, you basically are questioning yourself all the time. And then for the team, the small team that you have, you have to be like gung ho, like, we’re going to win, it’s going to be incredible. But those moments of self-doubt that you wake up with and you sleep with every single night, are hard to overcome, I would say, you know, that’s like that pushing the heavy ball up the hill. Once you begin to build a team and other people feel inspired by the vision and they can begin to make it their own and add expertise in their area. The ball really gets rolling, and then you don’t have those moments where you wake up so much going, Am I doing the right thing? Am I not like I don’t have that thought I haven’t had that thought in a long time. And I think that’s like a million pounds off your shoulder to be like, yes, there’s potential here. I have an incredible team. If anybody’s gonna be able to do this, this team, you know, having that sort of mindset is it’s been like 1000 pounds off my shoulder.”
“I think the thing that really made a difference for me was, I started putting it out into the universe, like talking to my friends. I’m like, sort of active on Facebook. And I’m always asking questions and people and what’s amazing is how generous people who care about you are, you know, they, they, like, want to support you, and they want to see you win. And for me, you know, I would get there was a clothing store, I went to a lot, this is so dumb, but I went there a lot. And I was like, you know when we were just talking, like, what are you doing? And I was telling her, I think I’m going to start this, this business, or I have this idea to do it. You know, she knew buyers. And so she’d be like, you know, why don’t you talk to this girl, and, and she may be able to connect you. And so I always said yes to every connection everybody gave me. And sometimes it’d be like the connection of the connection, that would be helpful. But I really always tried to say yes to them. And people were so generous with me. And so I mean, it really started at ground level, like I had to figure out how you even begin to make a clothing item, which I had zero background. And so it’s been a long, long road.”
“We have we’ve literally named her, she has a name, she has an age, she has an that. And people stress out about that because they go oh, well, I also have a customer that’s, you know, 50, and I have a customer, it’s 22. And you go right, but like you can’t speak to everybody. So you pick a person that you think is relatively representative, that that that 50-year-old is going to totally connect with maybe in that 22-year-old to get what is the essence of what you’re selling? And how does the customer connect to that? And I do think that that allows you to be have like a unifying thread throughout your paid ads, your brand, your online brand experience, and your tone, everything that you’re doing. So I also think like doing that work early on. So you don’t just jump into this and then have to work backward can be really helpful.”
“Almost seemingly overnight success, because I’ve now you know, you’re they raised a bunch of money, and they’re really big right away. And I think that’s definitely a way that people are six, you know, make businesses successful, I think they can raise a lot of money and blow it out fast that that hasn’t been my path. Because that’s not really how I’m wired. So it’s interesting, because I’m like, you know, I’ve also then come to learn that there’s a real advantage to that. So I think everybody sort of has their own speed and cadence that works for them. For me, you know, this has been fun, because I’ve been able to grow slowly and make mistakes without being super public. You know, like, you know, you have a problem with a product, let’s say, and you made 200 of them, it’s certainly a lot easier to email the 200 people that bought it and apologize for the product is bad, and like, you know, try to make it right for them, then if I have a huge come in, or if I’ve made a huge investment, I bought 200,000 of that product, you know, it’s I try to make mistakes small. And that’s been my path. And I think it helps me, it’s just I’ve had to get comfortable with the idea that things maybe don’t happen, just like right away.”
“But I do feel self-awareness is really helpful. I just heard recently one of my employees was one of my managers saying that one of the girls on her team came to her in her review with a list of things that she was going to improve on. And I’m saying this as advice to everybody who’s working for somebody else. Oh my gosh, how amazing that is, like, if I don’t have to sit here and list off the things that you need to work on. And instead, you show up and you tell me things you want to work on. That’s somebody who’s going to go somewhere because you’re self-aware, your growth mindset. You know, it’s like you’re easy to manage, because I don’t have to It’s not like go this is gonna be the most awkward conversation. Incredible so Oh, that’s really something that, I think just a good takeaway if you work for somebody else, show up on your areas of weakness and give me your plan to success, you know.”
“I was an equestrian early on and an athlete all my life. And I think that you know, that, that act of continually pushing yourself to your edge, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, and then recognizing that you can overcome that, that is where confidence is born. It’s born in the overcoming, and when you learn, that you can overcome that applies to everything in your life, you know, and so for me, you know, doesn’t mean that tomorrow is gonna be a really hard day, I don’t know what I’m doing, you know, and that, like, nobody knows what they’re doing, because it hasn’t been written yet. That hasn’t, I haven’t solved that problem yet. But I’ve done it enough now that I’ll figure it out. And I have myself of just like, I’ll figure it out. And if I can’t do it, I’ll find somebody that can and I think that you get to a certain place with yourself when you push yourself through enough challenges.”
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The Super U Podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.