First Time CEO
Episode 40
February 9, 2021

First Time CEO

with Sarah Landman, CEO of Solid & Striped

Founded in 2012, Solid & Striped is a cult favorite lifestyle brand that creates timeless swim and resort wear pieces that evoke a feeling of vacation and leisure. In this episode, CEO Sarah Landman shares with us her journey from growing up on the Main Line of Pennsylvania with four brothers, to her experience working with Tory Burch for over 10 years, to landing her first CEO role as the CEO of Solid & Striped. She talks with us about her leadership style, the importance of being approachable and how she thinks about accountability.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How she always had an interest in fashion and just knew she wanted to be a part of the industry somehow one day
  • Where Sarah worked in her early years and how she got the chance of a lifetime to work for Tory Burch when Tory’s business was brand new and still being run out of her apartment
  • Why Sarah left Tory Burch after over 10 years and then went into consulting for brands
  • How consulting for Chris Burch led to meeting Isaac Ross, the Founder of Solid & Striped, and then led to the opportunity to become CEO where her skill set was a perfect fit for what was next for the company
  • What it was like to become a first time CEO and then have COVID hit only five months later
  • How Sarah functions as a leader and what amazing advice she has for how to successfully manage, but not micromanage, her team, especially now when work is still mostly remote
  • What is next for Solid & Striped and why there is so much to be excited about as they continue to collaborate, innovate, and expand into new categories

To Find Out More:

SolidandStriped.com

Quotes:

“And after going through the summer interning for her {Tory}, it was so clear that this was something different and that it would absolutely last and did have staying power. And just sort of the passion that she had for her business and how much people respected her was really amazing. And so that was definitely a turning point for me.”

“But my passion was always product. And so I really just wanted to follow where the product and the merchandising roles were.”

“It's amazing how much you can actually take on and how you can compartmentalize. And no one can do it all perfectly, but you can do a lot more than you think you can.”

“It helped set the path to really understanding the importance of culture and being approachable and making sure that your team feels comfortable talking to you and admitting when they make mistakes because everyone does.”

“If you invest in your people, and it doesn't have to be from a monetary perspective, but if you really make them feel like you love working with them and that you want them there, it just makes a big difference in the end result in what you're trying to achieve.”

“I think that if I can make the right hires and build a team of people that are experts in their divisions or their sort of competencies, that we all work well together.”

“I think the biggest motivation is my family for sure. My kids seeing their mom go to work every day even while trying to sort of figure out the home school thing in the early days of COVID. That was really motivational for me. And just showing them that you have to persevere and if you believe in something, you have to continue to work at it.”

“I realize that you can't do it all and that you have to delegate and that you have to trust the people that you work with. You also have to hold them accountable.”

“I think if you as a leader don't communicate that someone is missing something or not delivering, then you can't expect them to hold themselves accountable.”

“I'm a young female CEO and I had been consulting for a period of time, so it wasn't sort of a natural progression. But I knew that I had the right skill set. And I also know that you learn every day, and I know that if you hire the right team, that anything's possible.”

“I think transparency is so critical in a small business. So I think that I encourage my team to give me feedback about how I lead and my management style. I encourage my investors also to give me feedback. And so I think listening is how I improve myself.”

“I think it's not about me saying I don't know the answer to this question. It's more about, "Ok, we have an option to go down path A or path B, what does everyone think we should do? Let's collectively have a discussion about it.’"

“Working harder than everyone else actually does does pay off.”

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