“Yes Martin, we would love to sell your beautiful designs”.
Wauw!! This one sentence just marked another great milestone for my little design firm. Not only did it mean that I could add yet another design store to my list of retailers. It also meant that I could add my first retailer in New York to the list.
It seemed completely unreal. Now I could say that my little designs could be bought in New York City. Imagine if I could get more retailers!? What if this could lead to an unexpected breakthrough and pave the way for a whole new market and new opportunities. A familiar phrase inevitably popped into my mind “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”. Well at least I had my hopes up, and why not be optimistic about it.
But how did I end up here? How did I go from my little charming wooden workshop north of Copenhagen, to suddenly finding myself shaking hands with a design retailer in New York?
As with everything else concerning this little entrepreneurial adventure, it had to do with a good mix of hard work, an awful lot of networking and not least a big portion of luck.
Luckily enough, I had been admitted to the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneur Ships incubator program “Go Grow “, a few months before. Go Grow is a program specialized in helping entrepreneurs like myself, to reach their full potential.
The primary purpose of Go Grow is to help the start-ups go to new markets outside the boarders of Denmark. My first intuition was to focus on the Scandinavian market. It seemed most likely and manageable. But during the Go Grow course, I got an unexpected opportunity to reach just a little further than the Scandinavian countries.
All the teams on the Go Grow program got an invitation to participate in an exciting seminar in New York.
The purpose of the seminar was to teach us how to conquer new markets and in particular how to get into the US market. The invitation came from Lemonsqueeze – a very succesful young company. They had created a concept, that helps companies enter the US market
New York was not exactly part of my original plan. At least not this this early in the process. But since the opportunity presented it self, why not take it and just let my little Walter swim with it. I jam packed my suitcase with my little designs and jumped on a plane across the Atlantic.
Mik Strøyberg, founder of Lemonsqueeze, exceeded everyone’s expectations with the impressive line-up of true “rock starts” within the entrepreneurial environment. Every day there were new lectures from entrepreneurs, that we would otherwise only read about in various magazines. One day it would be a young brilliant fundraiser from Forbes “30 under 30”-list, the next day we would visit Kick-starters headquarters. Kick-start is for entrepreneurs what Google or Apple is for IT-geeks. This was truly mind blowing!
During the week, the people at Lemonsqueeze had a strong focus on all participants in the seminar and our businesses. The team behind Go Grow and Lemonsqueeze did everything to help us solved what ever challenge we might be facing.
The culmination of the seminar was an investor-pitch. We should prove ourselves, and pitch our businesses and ideas. And so we did.
But there was yet another important purpose of the seminary. We should once again prove ourselves and see if our tiny fragile entrepreneurial wings would let us fly. It was time to leave the safe environment at Lemonsqueeze, and go kick in some doors and take our very first bite of the Big Apple…
Will be continued this thursday when part 2 is released.