From Fired to Acquired
Episode 11
July 21, 2020

From Fired to Acquired

with Chris Tolles, Co-Founder and CEO at Sundaily

Originally called SunDots, Sundaily provides ingestible skincare gummies that protect and repair your skin. In this episode, Chris shares with us his entrepreneurial journey from studying Furniture Design at Rhode Island School of Design, to getting fired from his job and meeting his co-founder, to crowdfunding over $100,000 to launch his business, and ultimately getting acquired by the leading eCommerce platform for natural home and personal care products, Grove Collaborative. Tune in to hear about all of this and more.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How Chris Tolles experience with art school at RISD built a foundation for his love for design
  • Why his international and humanitarian travel on a Thomas J Watson Fellowship ignited his entrepreneurial drive
  • How volunteering at an MIT D-Lab conference and sneaking into an event led to an invitation to join an MIT startup
  • How he turned an award-winning green initiative prototype into an impactful functioning product
  • Why Chris’ time with One Earth Designs led to the realization that he wanted to go to business school
  • Why leaving Hong Kong to get an MBA at Boston University was an important step in his career
  • How his time with Steelcase and IDEO, Innosight, and Emulate helped Chris prepare for the decision to become his own boss
  • How going from working for others to working for himself paid off and the pivotal lessons he learned on the way
  • How meeting Dr. Emilia Javorskky led to Crowdfunding and the unique and successful start of Sundaily
  • Why transitioning from a suncare company to a skincare company led to profound lessons as a first-time founder
  • Why the move to Grove Collaborative has been so successful and what is next for Chris and for Sundaily


To Find Out More:

getsundaily.com


Quotes:

“If I really cared about making a difference in people's lives, I needed to be as comfortable designing the business model as the object itself.”

"Maybe you're just not made to work for other people.”

“Emilia... I have a super vivid memory of this exact conversation. We're in this teeny little conference room, and she's like, "By the way, I got my own ideas, and the one I'm most excited about is ingestible sun protection."

“The beauty of entrepreneurship is that the answer is never obvious, and there's no answer that's ever like the best clearly. So it's a judgment call.”

“There are two main kinds of risk in any entrepreneurial effort. There's technology risk. Can it exist? And then there's commercial risk. Can you sell it?”

“If I won't die for the problem, it's going to be really hard for me to lead the company.”

“I was so fired up about the thing we were doing that I underestimated the likelihood that we could end up in a place very different from where we started.”

“It's kind of lame, but “know thyself.” If you don't know what you want in life, man, it's so hard to go get it.”


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