Q&A with Jocelyn Thompson, Founder of Epiphany LA
Posted on May 02 2019
Meet Jocelyn Thompson, Founder of Epiphany LA: Epiphany LA specializes in natural looking padding inserts for swimwear and sports bras.
Jocelyn Thompson, Founder of Epiphany LA
What made you want to start your own business?
I started my own business for a few reasons. When you work in the corporate world, you become an expert at one thing, and then you do that one thing every day at work. That becomes so monotonous and boring. The idea of owning something myself and getting to wear many hats was exciting. I love to learn and as an entrepreneur you are always learning and problem solving, no day is the same and you become an expert at figuring things out. It’s exhausting, but so rewarding. When I think of my ideal job, I think about creating strategy, using social media, creating content, analyzing trends, and pivoting to drive business and sales. I feel like I created my dream job. I get to skip the repetitiveness of corporate work because I have my hands in every aspect of my business from managing finances to casting models and creative directing video shoots, I get to be the mastermind, and I love that. I also started my own business because I’m a very dedicated worker and I know that my energy is coming back to me in the form of a successful business. It’s so frustrating to work at a job and feel underpaid or underappreciated. When you own your own business, you’re not working to build someone else’s dream, you’re building you own. For me, there’s a huge amount of pride and happiness that comes along with that.
Why Epiphany LA?
Epiphany LA was started because I was a customer looking for a product that didn’t exist. I saw a hole in the market. I was going on a tropical vacation and wanted some push-up padding inserts for my swimsuits. I scoured the internet and bought several different pairs from several different companies. To my surprise, they all looked horrible. Most inserts were “one size fits all” or they came in sizes “small/medium” or “medium/large”. All the inserts I received were way too small, so when I put them in my swimsuits, I could see the insert and it looked like I stuffed a small round sock into my top. The edges of the inserts were thick, so you could see this cliff where they ended; it was totally obvious that I was wearing padding. In addition to the inserts being too small, many were also extremely pointy which looked really bad. I thought to myself, is it really that hard to find an insert that mimics the look and functionality of a push-up bra? The market needed a full coverage, push-up insert that tapered off at the edges, that came in specific cup sizes. In that moment, I realized that there was an awesome opportunity in front of me. I love the saying “necessity is the mother of innovation” and I find it to be absolutely true.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the name of your business?
I named my business Epiphany LA for two reasons. When I worked a corporate job, I felt unfulfilled and bored, I was always looking for something else, but I didn’t know what it was. When I started my own company, I definitely had an Epiphany. I was finally excited to work, and I felt invigorated by the projects I created for myself. I was learning again and felt a new sense of pride in my daily to-do’s. There was an awakening inside of me and I realized that I was supposed to be doing this all along. The second reason I named my company Epiphany LA is because of the product. The product is amazing and makes a huge difference in the way your chest looks in a swimsuit or sports bra. Once you wear the inserts it’s like you have had an epiphany yourself. You will never want to wear a swimsuit or sports bra without them again.
What were some unexpected hurdles you faced when starting your business?
Selling and shipping internationally has been a major hurdle that has tested my patience. I recently started selling on Amazon Canada and there are a handful of importing permits and rules to follow when selling internationally. It makes my head spin even thinking about it now.
What does Support Your Local Girl Gang mean to you?
To me, Support Your Local Girl Gang means to empower and support the women in your life. So many women get stuck comparing themselves to other women and trying to be better, smarter, prettier, etc. Support Your Local Girl Gang is a movement that causes us to challenge that thinking and band together in unity. Instead of comparing ourselves we need to work together, uplift each other, and create an environment that fosters learning and collaboration. At Epiphany LA I hire a lot of freelance workers and I’m consistently impressed with the women I hire. The quality of work has been so impressive, that I now prefer to work with women whenever possible. Women are so strong and can handle so much. I have this saying “use your superpowers” which refers to using your top skills and focusing on the things you’re good at. Your superpower could be that you’re really charismatic, or that you’re a great coder, or that you can sell anything to anyone. Realize what your superpowers are and use them as much as possible. As women, I feel like we have so many superpowers and we can really handle a lot on our plates. So, hone-in on these powers and encourage others to do the same.
Best advice you've been given.
The best advice I’ve been given is to trust your instincts. As an entrepreneur, you are creating something because YOU see a reason for it. No one knows the product and brand better than you do, so it’s great to take advice from others, but always stay true to yourself and your vision. When you follow your instincts and create in a way that feels authentic to you, your customer can feel that. You can’t fake authenticity. Also, I want to mention the power of believing in yourself. If you think you can do something, you can, and tell yourself that! Being an entrepreneur can be intimidating and there are so many periods of self-doubt, but doing something as simple as reading positive affirmations to yourself can be so helpful. I quit my job to start Epiphany LA and it was an especially scary time. I was broke, unsure of myself, and jumping head first into something I’d never done. I wrote down a list of positive affirmations and taped it to my bedroom door. When I’d wake up, I would look at the list and read the affirmations to myself. I feel like doing this really helped me keep my self-talk positive. There’s this quote “Be mindful of your self-talk. Your subconscious is always listening” and it is, so be gentle with yourself.
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