Finance to Fashion with Farrell O’Rourke | Ep #13
Farrell O’Rourke went from finance to fashion, as the founder of Farrell & Co. This mom of three began her career working in analytics at a financial firm. She then got her MBA and began working in the marketing world. Farrell decided to leave it all behind to follow her heart and find something that would fill her up. She now runs the fashion brand Farrell & Co and launched her own line of athletic wear hats this Summer. It’s time to hear Farrell’s Second Act Success story and why her brand mantra is “wear many hats.”
01:52: Beginning of Farrell’s career
02:28 – Going back to school for her MBA
03:07 – Hitting a career block after her third child
03:59 – Quitting her job
04:14 – Learning to play the drums
05:07 – Getting the idea for an athletic hat while running
06:11 – Having support of her husband
07:38 – Doubting herself
09:50 – Starting to sew to make a prototype of the hat
11:23 – Joining a program to help her launch her business called Factory 45
14:43 – Trying to plan and build the business carefully
15:48 – Working with a manufacturer
17:10 – Shark Tank lessons
17:40 – Working with a pattern maker
18:00 – Excited to launch
21:18 – Marketing the brand prior to launch
22:11 – Supporting small business
23:01 – Asking her daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. People can be anything they want.
24:22 – Where the tagline “wear many hats” came from
28:29 – Going with a full business, rather than an Etsy shop
29:24 – Supply organization with orders
30:02 – Design of the hats
30:47 – Hoping to expand the line down the road
31:12 – Design of the hats
32:33 – Hats for kids
33:39 – Fashion industry has changed
34:50 – Family support and thoughts on the business
35:56 – Lessons learned through this transition
36:24 – What connects all of her careers
37:00 – Favorite part of being an entrepreneur
37:34 – Planning her week
38:22 – Balance work with family
40:28 – 5 Fast Qs of the Week
41:05 – Would you recommend a big life change to your friend?
41:36 – Advice to someone building a business
42:02 – Next chapter in life
42:36 – Connect with Farrell
CONNECT with Farrell O’Rourke :
SHOW NOTES FOR THIS EPISODE:
Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #13 - Finance to Fashion with Farrell O'Rourke
Guest: Farrell O'Rourke
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Farrell O'Rourke: I found myself telling myself over and over, like, this feels crazy. What am I doing? When you, you don't have that definition of like, I am a marketing professional, you know, and suddenly you're like, who am I? And This was my way of just kind of stepping back and thinking like, how do I want this to go? And, and what's gonna work for our family.
[00:00:17] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.
I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.
It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get [00:01:00] started.
Welcome to Second Act Success.
Hey there, my friend! Today, my guest is Farrell O'Rourke. She is a mom of three, a runner and an aspiring drummer. Farrell spent 15 years in finance received her MBA in marketing. And one day she realized she needed a change. Farrell, launched her own brand of active wear hats out of a need that she discovered while out for a morning jog. Let's dive in.
[00:01:32] Shannon Russell: Farrell, welcome to the podcast.
[00:01:34] Farrell O'Rourke: Thank you, Shannon. Thank you for having me.
[00:01:36] Shannon Russell: So you have a lot of things going on. You left your job about a year ago, you decided to open your own business about six months ago, and now your business is launching this summer. Take me back to the beginning and walk me through how your journey of your career has kind of evolved
[00:01:52] Farrell O'Rourke: Sure. I graduated college back in, um, 2006 and I basically went more or [00:02:00] less, from there to working at a large financial services firm that my dad was actually working at. I started in like an analytics group and I learned so much from that experience. I have zero regrets whatsoever. met some great people. but you know, I think, a couple years into it, I was thinking, you know, maybe analytics isn't for me, I was not a math. I was an English major. So I thought, you know, maybe I wanna transition into a marketing role or communication, something like that. So I went back to business school, I got an MBA, in marketing and I kind of had all these ideas of, Ooh, now, you know, I'm gonna get a, a totally different job somewhere else and go a different direction. But. I took the safe route. I actually ended up right back at the company I was at before in the marketing department. but you know, it, wasn't kind of the, the launching point or the leap. I was kind of thinking I might be taking from a career standpoint. It worked out okay. I got, you know, marketing experience in that new role and I also. You know, I had the stability,[00:03:00] I needed to kind of, you know, have my three kids, So I was kind of focusing on, on that stage of my life as well.
After I went back to work after maternity leave with my third child, it was the, you know, peak or height of the pandemic. And I just kind of found myself thinking. Oh, my gosh, is this it? Like I had hit a career point where in my head, I had been there for 15 years and I was kind of like, is this, this is probably where I'm gonna be for the next 15 years if I let it. you know, I thought back to an experience I had in business school, I interned at a boutique coworking space, which really inspired me, in an entrepreneurial sense, like a pipe dream. This is something I'd love to do one day kind of thing. But, you know, again, I went back to that stability and those benefits and, and the cushion and everything that comes with like a large, firm. So I didn't do anything. Didn't do anything for a year. Talked to my husband about it, talked to my old family about it. and then finally I just did it. it was like the [00:04:00] beginning of a new year, after the holidays and I left my job and. I actually took up the drums. I kind of didn't know what to do with myself. We still had daycare, all day, every day that we had paid for already. So I just went in the basement and like banged away on this drum kit we had. I took a couple lessons. and I, you know, I, I got okay, but I was like, what am I doing down here? And, and my husband actually works. his home office is right above that, the basement where the drums are. And
[00:04:29] Shannon Russell: Oh, no,
[00:04:31] Farrell O'Rourke: what is going on up there. But, um, it was super liberating for me and just gave me that confidence that like, I can learn something new, you know, and, just kind of doing something totally different felt really good.
[00:04:44] Shannon Russell: Where did the drums come from? Have you always been musical?
[00:04:46] Farrell O'Rourke: Never, I've never played an instrument in my entire life. I've always kind of wanted to, but I, you know, like that's weird, especially for like a mom, like what are we doing?
[00:04:56] Shannon Russell: I love it though. That's amazing.
[00:04:59] Farrell O'Rourke: It was [00:05:00] so much fun. It's like one of those things I would encourage to anyone like, you know, just try it. Right. So I did that. I, I ran a bunch. I'm a, I'm a runner. Um, nothing crazy, but. I was running one day and it was like super sunny out. And I'm like, why are there no running hats that are like comfortable? And you know, don't slip down and don't make you too hot. And, so I went home and I pulled out my sewing machine and I started making the first prototype of the company, I ended up launching, Farrell and Co, which, sells, essentially hats active wear hats, or jogging hats. It's an interesting journey, but I, I certainly want part of my journey. You know, the space I'm in right now to help others kind of push themselves like to new limits and to experiment with new passions and, take those leaps so to speak.
[00:05:50] Shannon Russell: Right because you found yourself in this position where you knew you couldn't do the nine to five, you just lept without really knowing where you were going. Which is the [00:06:00] scary part that I think a lot of us face is we know we are not happy right now, but leaping before we have something stable is scary. What just made you decide that one day that you were going to give your notice?
[00:06:11] Farrell O'Rourke: I had at the support of my husband, which is, you know, huge. We have three kids, and I also had just kind of like maxed out. My husband like works crazy hours, you know, I was working long hours and it was just kind of like, you know, we both agreed that something had to give, I felt lucky that he was, you know, willing to, support me in that way. but you know, I even think, you know, looking back experimenting with, with different passions, you know, pulling out that sewing machine at night or picking up that instrument, whatever it is like at night or in the morning or on the weekends, and just like playing around with stuff, you know, seeing where it goes.
[00:06:50] Shannon Russell: That time you had was your time to experiment and research and clear your head for the next chapter. Really.
[00:06:57] Farrell O'Rourke: Totally. I read on one blog [00:07:00] somewhere that calls it like a career pause. Right? So you just almost like taking the space that you need to kind of just like self reflect and, you know, What do I want this next chapter to look like? You know, what are some goals I wanna set for myself? Things like that.
[00:07:14] Shannon Russell: It's so important to take that time too, because when you're working, especially as a working mom, you're working all day long. When you get home, the kids are there, you're dealing with the kids and then it's bedtime. I know that routine, we all know it so well. And I think the fact that you had the kids in daycare during that time, kind of worked your advantage, you had that extra time for yourself, which is really rare.
[00:07:36] Farrell O'Rourke: Mm-hmm yeah, I, yeah, again, I was really lucky with that and, but what I had to get over a little bit was like, I found myself telling myself over and over, like, this, this feels crazy. Like, what am I doing? When you, you don't have that definition of like, I am a marketing professional, you know, and suddenly you're like, who am I? You suddenly think, well I guess I should have all three kids home with me, because now that's gonna be my [00:08:00] definition. so you sort of have to just, I don't know, this was my way of just kind of stepping back and thinking like, how do I want this to go? And, and what's gonna work for our family.
[00:08:08] Shannon Russell: I admire you for taking that time for you, because you easily could have pulled them from daycare and taken on that stay at home mom role, which would've been fine, but you wouldn't have had the time for yourself. So that's, that's really admirable that you did that and you took that time. I feel like we all need that. We all want that, but it's um, It's hard to find. You could have easily just popped yourself on the couch and relax and been like, I've been working for 15 years now. I can take a break, but you didn't, you pulled out the drums, you pulled out the sewing machine, you went running sitting behind the computer and just Googling and searching can only get you so far, but you actually doing activities that made your mind start thinking. If you weren't on that run that day, who knows, if you would've thought about the need for athletic active wear hats?
[00:08:54] Farrell O'Rourke: Yeah, no, it definitely helped. It's kind of like one thing, you know, one thing leads to another, in [00:09:00] that sense, but, at the same time I was applying to like some freelancing jobs and I was on those websites. Like websites for moms helping you get, you know, get jobs that work for you. So I was doing all that, but I found myself, you know, feeling crazy, sitting there all day, typing resumes. So like spicing up your day with some other, other things, like definitely helped. And then kind of, like I said, one thing leads to another and you're suddenly in this totally different spot. And you're like, woo, that, that worked out somehow.
[00:09:30] Shannon Russell: It is kind of like wait, is this supposed to be happening now? But I love it. So you went from finance to business school, into the marketing world, and then you're running and you're having this idea about hats. Talk to me about that process how did you know that you could make this into a business?
[00:09:48] Farrell O'Rourke: So I had no, sewing experience other than like home ec, which I don't even know if they do that anymore. I played around with a sewing machine a little bit, you know, here and there, like growing up after [00:10:00] that. Yeah, when I was running, I was just like, I wish there was. Something that, you know, provided like, sun protection, but that was lightweight and was kind of like sunglasses, but not. I like tossed the idea out to my husband and he humored me a little bit. and then I have like, Probably 50 iterations from the first prototype I made till the, till the end. It's funny, when he listened to me on the drums for like six months, and then he sees me like working away for hours on the sewing machine with all these like hat samples around, I mean, it looked like a, like what is going on. I was in the flow, so to speak, you know, just energized by doing something different. It was just really fun to do something like that. Especially after you know, a nine to five desk job that I had for so long.
[00:10:48] Shannon Russell: Working on your own hands on project. Something that yeah, is all yours. When did you realize, hey, I really, I created something. This is actually working.
[00:10:57] Farrell O'Rourke: So I would make myself and my husband [00:11:00] like wear them out in public, which I laugh about looking back. And he was a really good sport. My litmus test was kind of like what. what works for me, cuz I was designing this for a need that I found. When I finally found, like I hit that point, I was like, what do I do next? I have zero experience in, in fashion. I do have business experience, but how do I take that leap or where do I go next with this idea? And so I actually joined a platform called Factory 45. It's kind of like a crash course in fashion. It's an online business course. But it takes you through every single step of the way from, you know, putting a spec sheet together, reaching out to pattern makers, finding manufacturers, Starting an LLC, I mean everything soup to nuts, so I followed that course step by step and I will say even more valuable. the databases and, and the contacts and everything was the network I got from that. There is a Facebook group of other [00:12:00] entrepreneurs, looking to do similar stuff as you and everybody is so supportive. If you ever have a question, you put it out on the Facebook group and you get a whole slew of answers. You have a one-on-one mentor who you can text at any time. If you have a question about taxes or anything, there's mentors for that. So I will say, to anybody else looking to do something similar finding, your network maybe it's a co-working space. Renata from, Foodom, you did an earlier podcast episode with her. She was awesome. I loved hearing her story, but she was saying too, like find a network and for her it was co-working space. And, and I get that, cuz I have experience there too, but you. Who are your people that are gonna make you feel less alone, basically.
[00:12:43] Shannon Russell: Yeah.
[00:12:44] Farrell O'Rourke: All the questions that you have every single day that could, could make you stop. you realize like everyone else is going through those same questions too, and having those same doubts and it just gives you, you know, that confidence. And again, that sense of like, not being alone.
[00:12:57] Shannon Russell: Absolutely. And yeah, Reneta in [00:13:00] episode 10 did share that the co-working spaces worked so well for her. I think she also joined like an accelerator program kind of, it sounds like yours. And I think you're absolutely right because I have joined those kind of programs in the past as well. I joined one before launching my podcast and I'm actually doing another one. Now that's helping me with my course, that will be out in the fall. It's just, like you said, just being able to bounce ideas have people that are at the same speed as you, because you can't ask those questions to your husband and your friends. It's not like when we worked in an office job where you can go to the next cubicle and ask somebody some advice. Just having that community. You can learn so much. With your program, you can probably go back to different sections and do it again if you need a refresher. So definitely a worthwhile investment, I think, don't you think it just kind of helps launch you into the next step to really make you feel like, yes, I really can do this.
[00:13:53] Farrell O'Rourke: Oh a hundred percent. I feel like when I started, I was going down these Google rabbit holes, you know how to [00:14:00] launch an LLC and then you go through all these, do I need to go through law trades? Do I need to like, what's my city's website you get lost and overwhelmed and kind of feel like you wanna give up. Yeah, it definitely provides you some direction and structure,
[00:14:12] Shannon Russell: So then you're going through that and that's helping you with the guidance of moving forward, because I can imagine that building your business is not just building the hats and the products, the physical products, but you have to build the website to sell them. You have to have the, sales, platform on your website. You have to have your social media, you have to have all your marketing set. So there's a lot of elements in so talk to me about where you are in the process and how it was to actually put all these moving pieces together.
[00:14:42] Farrell O'Rourke: Going into it, I did not want to, invest a whole ton of money. That was definitely a, a roadblock. I t's like, I don't wanna plunk down thousands of dollars and, and it doesn't work out, right? That was part of it. Part of wanting to start something like [00:15:00] this is to stay engaged, you know, as a professional, because I, I was afraid of, of stepping away from my career, focusing more on family, but then losing skills. And, and as we all know, things are changing so quickly these days. So I thought, you know, for one, I wanna, I wanna be a lean startup, so to speak and, and two, I. I wanna learn all these things along the way. And if there's something that's clearly not my strong suit, I could maybe look to, you know, there's so many platforms out there these days, you can hire people to do things, if you really are struggling with it. But, I try to do everything myself I made my own logo in the beginning. um, I, I built my own website. I do my own marketing. I made my own, patterns. I can't manufacture that myself. So I did find an awesome manufacturer, an hour away from me. And it was actually important to me to be able to, you know, be there in person and meet everyone who will be making them and, and, and really understand like [00:16:00] what what's going into this, how does this process work? Because I wanna learn. It's important to me that that's part of the journey as well. So who knows, you know, as things go, there might be things that I need help with that are just like dragging me down. Um, and I can evaluate it then, but I've liked, you know, learning things as I go.
[00:16:17] Shannon Russell: That's so interesting about the manufacturer, because you hear so many times that people outsource to other countries. So was it important for you to keep it here in the states nearby?
[00:16:27] Farrell O'Rourke: It was. And mainly just for the reason, I mentioned of being able to pop in or to, to check it out because I have no, background in manufacturing or, production of any kind or fashion. I, I, it was just important to me to be able to be there because I felt like there's so many things that could go wrong. So my guilty pleasure every evening is watching Shark Tank. Right. And.
[00:16:50] Shannon Russell: right before bed? Yes. love it.
[00:16:54] Farrell O'Rourke: Oh, that's so funny. you and I, you know, have a very similar, like I was saying earlier, you're a podcast or a business [00:17:00] owner, a career coach, a mom, a TV producer. Right. So, you know,
[00:17:03] Shannon Russell: We have many, many roles we
[00:17:06] Farrell O'Rourke: Yeah. So, I love hearing other people's stories. In Shark Tank, you always hear the people who do manufacture offshore. The ones who tend to be successful are the ones who go like live there for a while, actually visit, you know, the factories and, and all that. Otherwise it's just, it's easier for mistakes to happen and miscommunication and things like that.
[00:17:26] Shannon Russell: yeah. You're and you can't do that with three kids and a husband.
[00:17:29] Farrell O'Rourke: no, yeah.
[00:17:31] Shannon Russell: Where do you live?
[00:17:32] Farrell O'Rourke: I'm in Massachusetts, right outside of Boston.
[00:17:35] Shannon Russell: So that's so nice to be able to have something within an hour's drive that you can go to and check it out.
[00:17:40] Farrell O'Rourke: I worked with a pattern maker who was actually on site at the factory, she kind of served as a bit of a liaison. I kind of already had it from making all the iterations myself. So she kind of just, she created one. And it looks just like the one I did, which I wasn't sure if that was good or bad, but I'm like, do you wanna change anything?
[00:17:58] Shannon Russell: She liked it. She thought it was ready to [00:18:00] go.
[00:18:00] Farrell O'Rourke: Hopefully that's why, but, then once I approved her sample, I basically submitted a purchase order and I did it in a, you know, five different colors and, they're set to ship to me. I'm excited to, see how the whole backend works. I have done like onesie twosy, like Etsy, you know, cause I was hand making them for a while. So I experimented like how does this work when you, like, when you get an order, how do you print a label? And you know, so I played around like with that a little bit. I'm excited. It's now it's like a hurry up and wait, type of situation, but I've been playing around with Instagram again, playing around, right. It's just like kind of trial and error, trying stuff out. It's funny because when I went to business school and learned about marketing, I took one class on social media and it was essentially like how to create a tweet, you know? That was in, you know, 2015. And in marketing, everything has changed since then. So. I'm like creating reels in, you know, the attic, but even [00:19:00] that, um, even though it's a, it's a learning curve, for sure it is, you know, something you can have fun with,
[00:19:05] Shannon Russell: Don't you feel like you have to be involved on those channels these days, because that is the number one place, especially like Instagram or TikTok and Reels where you can instantly see something and then click on it and purchase it right then, like it's kind of crazy.
[00:19:20] Farrell O'Rourke: It's it is crazy. I, and you're absolutely right. You know, when I talk to other people in the program that I'm in or listen to modules, you know, there's, there's a lot of people who are saying, I'm an introvert. I don't want to be on Instagram. You know? So what are, what are my other options? And, it's always kind of like, unfortunately that's probably your best, you know, so
[00:19:42] Shannon Russell: I'm going through that too, because as a producer, I'm always behind the camera but I realize, that I need to start doing some tos and reels. And unfortunately, if it's my business, I have to kind of be in at least some of them and I have to figure it out. So I'm going through the same learning curve as you are. It's definitely a lot [00:20:00] for us when. We didn't grow up with that. It's all new and it's, it's fun to learn and figure it out and experiment,
[00:20:07] Farrell O'Rourke: Yeah. Sometimes I push like, you know, the, the post put button and, you know, I watched the numbers go up of people watching. I'm like, oh my God, how many people have seen, you know, But you do, you do get used to it. You get, you know, you build confidence and you, I at least tell myself, you know, in the beginning I'm like, do people, you know, do they wanna hear from me again? But I, what I kind of tell myself is like, if they don't, they'll keep scrolling, you know? And, and that's the platform, you're not meant to be a product for everyone. You find your niche and the people that, that are interested will stay interested hopefully. And then, you know, the ones who aren't. It's not for them and, and that's okay. That's normal.
[00:20:45] Shannon Russell: Or you might not be for them at that moment isn't it in marketing, you would know better than me that you have to be in front of someone seven times before they make a purchase.
[00:20:54] Farrell O'Rourke: I think you actually got that number, right? Yeah.
[00:20:56] Shannon Russell: It's so true because there's items that like will pop up that I'm like, oh, I could use [00:21:00] that. And maybe I get it a month later. You're doing such a great job on Instagram, you're doing a great job of just getting your product out there and your business out there ahead of time. So that when you launch, there's going to be followers that are ready to purchase right then and there, because they've seen you already and they know you already. So you're on the right path.
[00:21:17] Farrell O'Rourke: Well, thank you for saying that. It's one of those things I learned from the program. I never would've thought to start marketing before you have a product, but you know, what we learned is like, people wanna see the process, like show them when you went to the factory and show them when your labels come in and when I think about it, you know, I like seeing that when the other business owners that I'm working with, do that. I like to see that the behind the scenes stuff and, and the stories that go with it and all that.
[00:21:44] Shannon Russell: It's weird to kind of think that, packing a package to go out into the mail would be exciting, but you're right. It makes the brand more personal nowadays, I think ever since COVID, people really wanna support local business even more. So you might not have any interest in, [00:22:00] what I'm selling, but you're gonna support me in vice versa. And I feel like you find yourself just, helping each other out. It's a nice way for social media to kind of help you, help others.
[00:22:11] Farrell O'Rourke: I agree. I love that. I love, you know, I need a swimsuit for a vacation, and I know somebody, that I'm working with, that's worked so hard on this swimsuit and I know where she got the material from Bali and it's like, you feel like you're wearing a story. It's like, if anyone asks you about it, you're like, as a matter of fact, the factory where these were made it's all, you know, women and you or whatever, it has a story to it, which I always think is, is cool and makes it a little more special.
[00:22:38] Shannon Russell: One of your slogans, I think for your company is wear many hats. That's a great story for your brand.
[00:22:45] Farrell O'Rourke: When I was home you know, that six months when I was just kind of like playing around after I left my job, I would pick up, you know, one or two of my kids. Never all three at the same time, but I'd pick a couple up from daycare and, you know, go to the [00:23:00] playground or whatever you'd do. I remember one day I was asking my daughter you know, what she's wants to be when she grows up or whatever. And she said, , a doctor, mommy, policewoman queen. you know, and it just, like she said it so seriously, but, I laughed and then I'm like, you know what, like, why not? Why do we kind of give that message that, that kids or anyone for that matter needs to pick just one career and your, podcast is like super inspiring too, to hear that. People can go from being an actress to, you know, um, a therapist or something just like completely different. You feel like it's a second chapter. Like you don't,
[00:23:37] Shannon Russell: You don't have to pick just one. I feel like our parents' generation, it was that way where you get a job and you work at it until you're retired, but now why not do it all? So your daughter can totally do that. And she's gonna feel that much more fulfilled by the time she's ready to retire. I checked all the boxes. I did everything I wanted.
[00:23:54] Farrell O'Rourke: Right? Less stressed out or, you know, what am I gonna be? You know, the pressure.[00:24:00] Try something out and, um, You. And I were talking before the podcast, like everything is figureoutable, I think that's one of your favorite quotes. And I love that. Like, you know, try not to be afraid of, of trying something new, but like take it day by day, take action. , you can figure a lot of stuff out.
[00:24:16] Shannon Russell: So what did you tell your daughter then?
[00:24:18] Farrell O'Rourke: I was like, you know what? That is awesome. I think you can do that. go for it. The other thing I was gonna mention around like that tagline wear many hats and that concept is my grandmother who lived to be 94 when I asked her if she had any regrets in her life, it was not taking more risks. It's easy to look back, you know, and say, oh, there's all these things that I could have done with my life. But, they're risks. You sacrifice, you know, like your stability or, all these things that you get in a routine and comfortable with. That really stuck with me
[00:24:48] Shannon Russell: We're so, so similar. I agree. You want to look back and know that you. Tried because even if you know you and I, of our businesses end tomorrow, we tried and we had fun trying, [00:25:00] and it was a learning process. I think it's important to be a lifelong learner and always try to grow yourself to be that better person and, go outside of your comfort zone and leave that stability and try something new. By taking that leap, you're trying, and that's gonna be one less regret. You'll have to worry about when you're in your 90s.
[00:25:17] Farrell O'Rourke: Totally totally. You see all these, these quotes around Instagram and whatnot. And one of my favorite is, I'd rather say I tried and failed than I never tried at all. At least I know that I tried and it didn't work out, you know? One of my mentors in the program I'm in said, perfection is the entrepreneur's curse. A lot of people I think are like, I have to know exactly what I'm gonna do. And it has to be perfect before I make a leap or before I, start something new. But like a lot of times It's just like trial and error. Just like try something out and like, if you're into it enough, you'll kind of keep going and answer questions along the way and, you know, push yourself
[00:25:55] Shannon Russell: You're an example of that too, what if you tried the drums and you said, I can do this, I'm gonna join a band [00:26:00] that could have been your second act, you know?
[00:26:02] Farrell O'Rourke: that.
[00:26:02] Shannon Russell: Seriously, but you tried. And I feel like it's just important to try and see. Some of the clients I'm working with, I try to say, you can stay in your stable corporate job, but while you're there, find those nights and weekends, or ask your husband or your, parents or your kids for one hour on the weekends to be your hour of exploration, I know we all feel that we have no time and I'm right there to say, like, there are just not enough hours in the day, but we can find those little times, you took advantage of when your kids were in daycare. And even though your husband probably hated you with those drums while he was working, you tested it out and it, it just helped you figure out your next step.
[00:26:44] Farrell O'Rourke: yeah. Yeah. I do think a lot of people worry that they have to, you know, leave their job to start something new. And so many people in the program that I'm in anyway. Most people are actually still working their full-time jobs and are working on their business on [00:27:00] the side, you know, as like a, like a passion project or a side hustle, whatever you wanna call it. And you just never know what it could turn into. Sometimes doing that does take the pressure off a little bit. time is always a limiting factor, especially like when you've got, kids and mortgages and everything, taking one hour and playing around with stuff and you just never know.
[00:27:19] Shannon Russell: I like what you're saying about your program. For me, when I was trying to figure it out, when I left TV and I was just in a place in my six months of how, kind of how you did it, I was trying to figure it out. I just said, well, I'm gonna go to grad school. I was working as an office job at the time, and I was taking classes at night. That was really expensive. Didn't even finish the program because I ended up just buying my own, franchise business, but that grad school program led me to where I needed to be. So it was worth it in that sense, but instead of going to, get an MBA or go to a graduate school program that is a lot of money, maybe doing a program like you did, or some of the programs that I'm currently in, where you're learning a skill that you're [00:28:00] interested in. So you're taking a program that still might not be super inexpensive, but it's just a little bit, so you can learn. Do I like this? You could have started and realized, oh, this isn't for me.
[00:28:11] Farrell O'Rourke: Right, however you take action. And like you said, there's so many ways and so many platforms, that's one of the benefits of like technology, right? You don't have to go to a physical school anymore. A lot of these platforms have like trials even, you know?
[00:28:23] Shannon Russell: How did you decide to just go full blown business rather than have an Etsy shop?
[00:28:28] Farrell O'Rourke: I talked to my mentor and I told her from the beginning, you know, my goal with all this is to have a moderately successful Etsy shop, and she's like, why, why not? Have your own brand and then also sell on Etsy, she had to go into that reasoning. Like you, you don't collect email addresses on the Etsy platform. You don't really have your own brand. You're sort of, like a vendor on their platform. So I think my goal has shifted a little bit. I'd like to have my own brand, my own website. And then, you know, there's places like Etsy. There's also, you know, I've learned about all [00:29:00] these other kind of wholesale platforms, almost like, um, farmer's markets, but online. There's a lot of really cool opportunities out there right now, wholesale opportunities and, otherwise that's, you know, a little bit less limiting maybe,
[00:29:13] Shannon Russell: How do you think having the manufacturer and kind of stepping back from actually hand making your items is going to help your business? Because now you can actually work on the business instead of in the business.
[00:29:24] Farrell O'Rourke: A hundred percent when I was, just playing around with the Esty thing, if an order came in, I would, you know, I'd have to sit down at my song machine and, and crank it out, you know, takes about an hour or whatever. But I just, pre-sold 50 hats, , to a wedding, someone who wants to, have the hats, like at the tennis event before their wedding is kind of like a giveaway to all the guests, which is awesome. Um, but I never would've been able to do that if it was, you know, on Etsy or if I was hand making them. So I think having a factory produce 'em, um, just like opens up possibilities for [00:30:00] larger orders like that or wholesale orders. my hats are held together. They roll up. That's kind of one of the, you know, what I think one of the best features of them, they roll up and then you hold them together with a slap bracelet. The slap bracelet you can customize. So for this wedding, I'm putting, the bride and groom's name and like a little like the perfect match, you know, for, for the tennis. Um, so it's just like, it opens up again, those, those possibilities are opportunities that are, you know, bigger than, you know, might otherwise be. If you were making 'em by hand.
[00:30:32] Shannon Russell: Right. You wouldn't have the time to really think about these other marketing opportunities and that's gonna be so great. Because now if you get another big order, you're just talking to your manufacturer. Okay. I need X amount.
[00:30:43] Farrell O'Rourke: Right, I do like to sew, but you know, marketing is what I went to school for. So I'd love to kind of focus on that. If I were to expand and make another product or whatever, I have like Fanny packs in my mind somewhere I might get back on the sewing machine again, you know, when I [00:31:00] have time and, and play around again.
[00:31:02] Shannon Russell: So tell me about the product then. So you said it rolls up, um, kind of describe the ideal, customer for your hat and why this hat is so different than others that might be out there.
[00:31:12] Farrell O'Rourke: So my hats are basically, if you think about like retro or eighties visor, it's kind of like a take on that. They're ideal for people who are, active people, right? So they're fun, lightweight, rollable sun hats for active people, whether you're, you know, going out for a jog or, chasing your kids around at the park or. Playing tennis or at the beach. Doesn't block your vision if you're playing tennis or whatever. Actually the material. Is not PVC, which is, what the retro, eighties, visors that you think of are made out of. It's made of something called TPU, thermoplastic polyurethane, which is a hundred percent biodegradable recyclable. non-toxic so much better for the environment, which was appealing to me. They roll up pretty tightly kind of go like this. [00:32:00] Like I do some demos on my Instagram site. You can roll 'em up and then again, you take the slap bracelet, pop it on, and then you can tuck the little hat then into your, you know, your pocket or your bag. and that was for me, you know, as a mom, very important, something that you could just, you. Toss in like a small space or toss one in your car, toss one in, your diaper bag kind of have 'em all over many hats.
[00:32:23] Shannon Russell: Many hats. Yep. will, will you be having them in children's sizes? Is that something that might be down the road?
[00:32:30] Farrell O'Rourke: you know, maybe, I've gotten that question before. My kids wear 'em around for fun now. It's, it's kind of a, one size fits all. So, you know, I guess I would kind of see, you know, do they wear it naturally? And should I kind of head that direction with it or, um, I guess I can kind of see,
[00:32:47] Shannon Russell: One of my best friends plays tennis. Actually quite a few of my close friends are in the south. And tennis is so big down there that, they play all the time. So I'm gonna have to get a bunch for them.
[00:32:56] Farrell O'Rourke: Oh, yeah, it's nice too, because especially in the warmer [00:33:00] climates, a visor just keeps you so much cooler, you know, like a, a regular baseball hat, which is what I used to wear before is just like your head's hot. You take it off and your hair's all sweaty
[00:33:11] Shannon Russell: I could have used this in Disney. I was in Disney world, not too long ago. And my baseball hat, it was, it was totally killing me. I had to take it off to let the errand, so this would've been great.
[00:33:20] Farrell O'Rourke: Yeah. You can wear a ponytail easily and then there's also a French Terry band, that goes against your forehead. So it's super soft, comfortable, lightweight. So I don't know. I love it. I hope others do
[00:33:33] Shannon Russell: yes. was, was having it, made kind of eco friendly, really important to you as well?
[00:33:38] Farrell O'Rourke: It was. I've learned a little bit, about, you know, fast fashion and how, you know, there's no longer four seasons anymore. There's like 12 or whatever it is. The industry is constantly kind of pushing you or encouraging you to buy the next thing. And all these clothes are ending up in landfills, nevermind, you know, the pollution and everything caused by, by actual [00:34:00] manufacturing. So it was important to me to, again, like understand who is manufacturing, these make sure that all the materials are, sourced properly and ethically and, and all that. I definitely think, you know, if everyone does their little part, you know, there can be big changes in that space.
[00:34:16] Shannon Russell: I have a guest who she's so amazing. Her podcast will be out maybe a little bit later in the summer. Her name is Liz McDade and she is the owner of No Trace Shop. And she is all about, reliable, safe fashion like that, she, educates people on how to make their own bags and their own. , I think she calls them bee's wax wraps and just different things. She teaches kids how to sew. I feel like I should connect the two of you because you'll have a great conversation.
[00:34:42] Farrell O'Rourke: absolutely. I just jotted her name down. That's that would be
[00:34:45] Shannon Russell: How do your kids and your husband feel about this new venture that mommy's taking?
[00:34:50] Farrell O'Rourke: My husband's always been supportive. You know, his general feeling is as long as you're happy, so he can tell that this is making me happy. He's all in which I'm lucky
[00:34:58] Shannon Russell: Very, you're very lucky. [00:35:00] It's not always that way.
[00:35:02] Farrell O'Rourke: No. I think my kids, they're so young, they're two, four and six. So, you know, I think they go into school and they're like, my mommy makes hats, you know? And I think their teachers are like, so what do you, what do you do? You're like she's in the living room making hats. So I don't know. I, I think you're trying to like figure out exactly what's what, but I feel like that's usually the case with, with kids that age
[00:35:26] Shannon Russell: They're just happy to have you home and think about it. You're gonna be home with them. Like how amazing is that? Yeah.
[00:35:32] Farrell O'Rourke: yeah. And I mean, that was, if I haven't said it already, that was a huge motivator for me. I feel like the third. Pushed me over, over the edge a little bit in terms of trying to balance everything. so having that flexibility, to be able to, help them with things and be around for stuff has been, for me really, really awesome.
[00:35:51] Shannon Russell: What lessons have you learned, from making this career shift?
[00:35:56] Farrell O'Rourke: I guess don't be afraid to try something totally different.[00:36:00] You can teach an old dog tricks. um, my dad, for example, he is a banker, he's a musician. He makes his own maple syrup. He, most recently a competitive pole vault. Um, so, you know, it's like just kinda like you're, you're, you know, you're never too old. Give something new, a try.
[00:36:19] Shannon Russell: I always like to ask my guests about the thread between the different chapters in their life.
[00:36:24] Farrell O'Rourke: That's a good question. I think what I would say is I've always been action oriented. Maybe sometimes to a fault just like dive into something and try it and you know, maybe it's not perfect at first or you don't get it right at first, but like always kind of like active. So trying something, you know, if it doesn't work, try something else. These hats are, you know, fun, rollable sun hats for active people. So you
[00:36:48] Shannon Russell: you go.
[00:36:49] Farrell O'Rourke: define that. How, how you
[00:36:52] Shannon Russell: That's a perfect thread. I love it.
What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?[00:37:00]
[00:37:00] Farrell O'Rourke: You know, honestly, having the space to. Try new things. I guess being your own boss, right? You have the space to like today. Do I wanna work on creating a line sheet for, for wholesale orders or today? Do I wanna work on Instagram reels or today? Do I wanna go pick up my kid and take her to the playground? For this stage in my life, um, that is just, you know, you know, amazing.
[00:37:27] Shannon Russell: It really is. Do you ever try to block your days and say on Thursday, I'm gonna concentrate on this how do you kind of schedule your week out?
[00:37:34] Farrell O'Rourke: Well, I love how the program I'm in has a calendar. So they have, you know, co-working sessions on these days and meet with your mentor on this day and then a, a master class, you know, on another day. So they kind of give you a schedule, which I thought is. Especially in the beginning was really helpful because you look at this, you know, this stretch of hours that you have, and you have all these things in your head that you wanna or think you should do, but you know, there's not the [00:38:00] meetings that your boss is putting on, like you might have had it at another job. So you kind of have to, discipline yourself and figure out what works for you. But yeah, I kind of use the structure of the program as a baseline and then kind of plug things in around that.
[00:38:13] Shannon Russell: do you turn things off at dinner time? Are you one of those entrepreneur moms that just say, okay, after this hour, I'm not gonna look at my email.
[00:38:22] Farrell O'Rourke: So I have made myself put my phone down, like when the kids get home. Because I found myself, especially when, as I was like super excited in the beginning, you know, you're always I'm on. Different, you know, platforms trying to like source materials and the kids are asking me questions and I'm getting annoyed, cuz they're asking me. And then I'm like, what am I doing? This is the two hours that I have with them, you know, until they're asleep. So it's hard. I think everyone, whether you're starting a new business or not has that challenge these days. So that's a personal goal of mine is try to turn off and, and you can decide when that is.
[00:38:54] Shannon Russell: It's a struggle. I am facing myself my kids are seven and 10 and I'll find that they will be on [00:39:00] their iPads. And now we're all sitting on the couch and they're on their iPads and no one's talking to me so I'm like, okay, I'll get my laptop. But then we're all sitting there not talking to each other. You kinda have to try slowly, I guess, to, prioritize each other in no screens.
[00:39:14] Farrell O'Rourke: That's actually a really good point. I've said this to myself before, as I wanna try to set a good example. And what does it mean when they're saying mom, can I have a show? And I'm like, no, you already had, your hour of show. And then I'm sitting there on my phone. Scrolling Instagram Reels.
Like, no, so that, that helps me.
[00:39:33] Shannon Russell: that's a good point. It becomes addicting after a while. And then you're like, but this is for business, but
[00:39:37] Farrell O'Rourke: Yes. Like, but I need to see what reels are trending right now.
[00:39:41] Shannon Russell: Right. I know
[00:39:42] Farrell O'Rourke: And then like 20 minutes goes by. Oh
[00:39:44] Shannon Russell: Oh gosh. So what are you most looking forward to on launch day?
[00:39:48] Farrell O'Rourke: You know, that feeling of everything you've worked so hard for. You're putting pieces together behind the scenes. , your website, your copyright, your blog, post, the actual products. [00:40:00] Right. So just kind of like seeing it all come together and being able to like launch and say, here it is, like have something to show for it all. And then, you know, on top of that, like just seeing what people think, right now, it's me wearing the samples around a bunch, but. I can't wait, for other people to be able to try 'em out and, you know, give, give me feedback and, , all that. That'll feel, you know, feel good to have it, to cross that, you know, that line.
[00:40:26] Shannon Russell: yeah.
[00:40:28] Shannon: Alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!
[00:40:33] Shannon Russell: Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.
[00:40:39] Farrell O'Rourke: So I think, back to that idea of take action day by day. Join a network, like join, a community of people. Talk to people. Listen to podcasts, right. Listen to other people. And I know you felt this way. You listened to like a ton of different podcasts to, to hear what other its other experiences were and [00:41:00] like the challenges they faced. I think that's, that's really inspiring and can teach you a lot.
[00:41:05] Shannon Russell: would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?
[00:41:10] Farrell O'Rourke: I definitely would. And, and like I've said a couple times, like, I don't think it means you need to necessarily like, quit, quit your job out of nowhere. Like, like I kind of did. Try out things, try things out on the side, see what really like lights you up, and of course, if you get to a point where you're just like, you know what I'm doing now, doesn't do it for me anymore. And I found this other thing that I'm super excited about, you know, as my grandmother would've said, like, you know, go for it.
[00:41:36] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you can give someone who's about to start their second act today?
[00:41:41] Farrell O'Rourke: Find a network, find a, a platform find some coworkers find that that podcast that gets you motivated. And then take action. Like take the first step and, the next day take the second step and you could take it at your own pace. Everybody's pace is different. And if you have a lot too much going on, like just take it really [00:42:00] slow. There's no rush. It's your own timeline, you know?
[00:42:02] Shannon Russell: So what does the next chapter look like for you?
[00:42:06] Farrell O'Rourke: I want to continue to learn and grow, as a person. I hope not only that I can, you know, make something that, other people, enjoy and love. But I also hope to. inspire other people to wear many hats, so to speak. This has been so life changing for me. I want to somehow have an impact and, or an influence and, and encourage others to, you know, not to settle and, to try new things. And my kids too, I wanna try to set an example for my kids on that front,
[00:42:36] Shannon Russell: Where can our audience connect with you?
[00:42:39] Farrell O'Rourke: Right now I'm on, on Instagram. It's at Farrell, my name @FarrelandCo. And yeah, you can see little demos of the, my sample hats and, a couple quotes that I have found inspiring. And, and more than that, my DMs are always open. So if people are starting their own, [00:43:00] you know, venture, or just have like a passion they're interested about and just kind of don't know where to get started, I'm no expert, but I, I love chatting about this. Us doing this as an example, I love talking about it and, and, I'm happy to chat with anyone.
[00:43:12] Shannon Russell: I just love chatting with you and learning about your journey, and I'm so excited for your brand to launch in just the next week or so. And I'll be following and purchasing and supporting you all throughout the way.
[00:43:24] Farrell O'Rourke: Thank you, Shannon. I will be listening to you. I'm gonna continue to, you know, hear some different inspiring stories to keep me motivated. And following you as well. So thank you. Thanks again for having me.
[00:43:33] Shannon Russell: It's been a great conversation. Thank you.
[00:43:36] Shannon: Wow. Farrell has really done a great job of creating a life that she can be proud of. You can check out her line of active wear hats at farrellandcobrand.com. Be sure to follow Farrell and support her in this amazing business she is building. I'll talk to you soon.
Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success.[00:44:00] To view show notes from this episode, recommend to guests with a great story, and learn more about us. Visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. And if you are enjoying our time together, please leave a review in Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.
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