Inspiring stories of success, joy and refusing retirement from renegades rocking life after 50.

Featuring Fran Dunaway

Episode 011 Garage Millions

Can you really start a multi-million-dollar business from your garage? Yep. And you don’t have to be a Silicon Valley tech guru to do it either! Enter today’s guest, Fran Dunaway. Fran is a former media executive who transformed into a fashionista as co-founder of the Seattle based gender neutral underwear and apparel brand, TomboyX.

WATCH THE EPISODE BELOW:

SHOW NOTES:

Favorite Quotes

“Can’t never could.”

Favorite Moments from the Interview

I love that their business all started with a shirt. And her co-founder Naomi saying…

“How hard can it be to start a fashion clothing line?”

I wonder how many times they said that to themselves when they were shipping their product from a damp garage?

And the rest, as they say, was history!

Why the Renegade Boomer Community will love it

This conversation is ALL about willingly stepping into the “void” of the unknown, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

It’s about being willing to do what others aren’t…including working in a damp, unheated garage to get their business off the ground.

It’s also about why NOT attaching “stories” to money is so essential.

These three elements alone can unlock the door to your inner genius, inspiration, and creative flow.

And that’s how you create a lasting legacy in your business and your life.

So, tune in!

Because today we celebrate the brave pioneering spirit that embodies how you cultivate success for YOUR Renegade Boomer™ Second Act!


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https://www.linkedin.com/in/thetinalorenz/

View Transcript

[00:00:00] Tina: Hey, beautiful Renegades! This is Tina Lorenz. And today, I’m so excited to interview my guest, Faye. See I did it. I already did it. I said Faye instead of Fran. I’ve been telling myself all this time, “Don’t say Faye Dunaway.”

[00:00:13] Fran: You jinxed it. You jinxed it. Oh, that’s awesome.

[00:00:16] Tina: This is how our brains work, okay? We could have a whole brain science conversation about that. Fran! Fully embracing Fran Dunaway, and I think I’m blushing, actually, for doing that. But do you get called Faye Dunaway accidentally very often?

[00:00:31] Fran: You know, ever since I was a kid, every once in a while, yeah. There’s only one time that I know that she was mistaken for me, so…

[00:00:38] Tina: Oh! Well, it might have to be our vintage to know who that even is, right?

[00:00:44] Fran: Exactly. Exactly.

[00:00:46] Tina: So those of us in the know, if you know, you know, okay. Anyway, this is such a graceful beginning to this podcast, but welcome to Fran.

And, you know, I’m so excited about this because she’s one of the inaugural Forbes 50 Over 50. So I love that. But what I really particularly am fond of is the fact that she was a media executive and turned into a fashionista, a fashion-based entrepreneur in Seattle, and she’s the co-founder and president of a Seattle-based gender-neutral underwear and apparel brand called TomboyX, such a great name also, co-founded with was her wife and her partner, Naomi Gonzalez.

And so, one of my favorite parts about this is they started in their garage, but we’ll get to that in just a minute. Because you know, you hear all those stories, but it really is true. And my understanding, Fran, is that you started with, that you were gonna design a shirt and that you also had the first boxer-type brief for women.

[00:01:37] Fran: Correct.

[00:01:38] Tina: That just kind of took off with the life of its own. Is that kind of what happened?

[00:01:42] Fran: Yeah, absolutely. Actually, I was complaining quite a bit about the lack of beautiful shirting options and I’m not talking a t-shirt, I’m talking a beautiful button up. I prefer a shirt with a collar. I like having fun details around the collar, something to give it a personality. And there just wasn’t anything out there.

You could go in the men’s department and they had these beautiful fabrics and these fun details and like a Robert Graham or Ben Sherman. So that was where the genesis of the idea came. And Naomi infamously said to me one day, “Well, how hard can it be to start a fashion clothing line?”

[00:02:14] Tina: Have you laughed about that?

[00:02:17] Fran: Yeah.

[00:02:18] Tina: Yeah. How hard can it be? Let me list the ways.

[00:02:20] Fran: How hard can it be? Yeah.

[00:02:22] Tina: Yeah. And I haven’t even been able to finish the introduction because you had 15 years in media, television. You’ve produced television shows. You’ve done independent film. You’ve had things show at Sundance and DigiDance.

And what I particularly couldn’t help but notice is that your revenue from starting in a garage in 2013, I think it was, am I correct that you doubled revenue just in the last year and you made this giant leap to 24 million dollars in sales?

[00:02:49] Fran: We didn’t this past year, but the prior year, we did.

[00:02:52] Tina: Okay.

[00:02:52] Fran: Yes. We were on the Forbes 500 fastest growing businesses, or 5,000 for two years and 500 for two years. So pretty rapid growth. But, you know, the last year has been more of an economic downturn, so not as much growth. We still grew a little.

[00:03:09] Tina: Yeah. Well, it sounds like you’re still doing fine.

[00:03:11] Fran: Yes.

[00:03:11] Tina: I’m particularly interested though, if we could talk, I’d just like to talk about this whole entrepreneurship aspect because this was your first journey into entrepreneurship. Is that correct? Because before, you worked like in jobs and traditional, you worked for a company or you worked for another business. And so what I read was that this was your first effort at entrepreneurship.

[00:03:29] Fran: Yes, it is. It was the true definition of entrepreneurism, although I had different careers. I never could do a go-sit-at-a-desk job kind of job. And so it was always in things that I could be flexible. I liked projects that had a beginning and an end. And so it just turns out that entrepreneurism is really who I am at heart, and I found my people as well. So that was a great surprise for me.

[00:03:54] Tina: Yeah. I love that because am I correct that you were 52 when you made that discovery?

[00:03:59] Fran: Yes. Yes.

[00:03:59] Tina: Yeah. Well, you know, the whole Renegade Boomer™ Anti-Retirement Movement is really embracing the 50 and over. And people start nitpicking, “Well, you know, that’s not, that’s Gen X.” Well, okay, we have a shoulder season. Alright? The past 50.

[00:04:14] Fran: There you go.

[00:04:14] Tina: Because that was my journey as well. I was past 50 when I started doing what I’m doing online. I had no previous experience at all. And so, you know, it just reflects my journey as well. And so I just thought it would be really fun today to talk about that because did you have people saying to you, “Are you out of your mind? You’re gonna launch a company like this in your garage,” and you know.

[00:04:33] Fran: Yeah.

[00:04:33] Tina: Don’t you just wanna retire and take it easy for a while? How was that for you?

[00:04:37] Fran: You know, there weren’t any direct naysayers, but certainly looking back, we can clearly see where we received the most support and those people who thought we would fail, and then I think, for different reasons, wanted us to fail. And so that’s certainly true. But at the end of the day, we also had just overwhelming outpouring of support from the Seattle community, from the LGBTQ community who really wanted us to succeed and thrive. And then also, just in the quality of mentors that we found, you know, we didn’t know a knit from a woven or a balance sheet from a P&L.

So we had a lot of learning to do and we were fortunate to find wonderful mentors that took us under their wing and just showed us the ropes and have become dear friends to this day.

[00:05:25] Tina: That is so amazing because really, nobody does this alone. Nobody makes this journey in isolation, which is kind of funny because I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of introverted in a lot of ways. But when it’s time to be on, we’re on, you know, kind of a thing. But I work alone a lot of the time.

And how about you? Have you always been super outgoing or were you a little more to yourself sometimes?

[00:05:45] Fran: Yes and no. I like to joke that, you know, I came out of the womb a boss, but I’ve always kind of found myself in leadership roles. Right out of grad school, I was administration and human services. And within a few years, I was executive director of that whole agency.

And so, I can lead a team toward a common goal. My forte is delegation. I’m quite good at it. I also like to see big picture and while I can get into the details of minutia, I’d prefer not to. And so, I think that, that was just more kind of the fit for me.

[00:06:22] Tina: Did you have to build a team right away then when you first started TomboyX?

[00:06:26] Fran: Oh gosh, no. It was just Naomi and myself. Well, I take that back. We could not have done what we did without, early on, finding this amazing human being that became kind of employee number one. But we hired her as a contractor. But we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of Julie Nomi, who headed up our product team. So she came on board.

She cold reached out to us and seen our shirts in the factory nine months prior when it was in a factory in Seattle, and she remembered us. And so when she was out looking for work, she reached out and asked if she could, you know, get our ear. And we had said a week prior, “Gosh, what we need is someone with lots of production and manufacturing experience,” and she had over 30 years worth.

And so she came to us with this fancy PowerPoint. We of course were just delighted to have her interested at all. So we paid her pennies, gave her some stock options, and she really was kind of like a third founder for us.

[00:07:26] Tina: I keep picturing a garage with a great big table and giant scissors and fabric, you know. So what exactly were you doing in the garage when you first started?

[00:07:34] Fran: Yeah. Well, the genesis of the garage was really where we did all of our shipping. And so when we first did a kickstarter campaign, had a successful kickstarter campaign, and sold out of the shirts. So we needed a shipping station and place to store things.

At the beginning we were curating a lot of stuff. So we had socks and belts and jewelry and stuff that we weren’t dropshipping. And so we just needed to place and granted it was a one car garage, so it wasn’t a very big space. And as far as the development of the product, that would happen at either Julie’s home or elsewhere.

And then about a year after we started, we actually, got very fortunate in that some people who had a huge warehouse space had a little side space that was about 1200 square feet that they allowed us to take over as an investment in our company. So we got to have a rent-free space. And so we were able to put up, I think about six shelves, two-sided shelves, and then a couple of big work tables.

And that’s when we kind of brought everyone together and we would sit in that un-air-conditioned, unheated space and work all day. And then, we didn’t pay ourselves for the first three and a half years. So we’d have to supplement with freelance work. Naomi was a sports massage therapist, and so she would see clients either before we’d go into the warehouse or after we’d get home just to kind of make ends meet.

[00:08:58] Tina: Well, just, you know, it certainly is glamorous, that fashion business.

[00:09:04] Fran: And super easy.

[00:09:05] Tina: Yeah, right. Everybody should just, you know, do it immediately.

[00:09:09] Fran: Just do it. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:09:11] Tina: But actually, I was reading your favorite quote is, “Can’t never could.”

[00:09:16] Fran: That’s correct.

[00:09:17] Tina: So tell me more about that. Why do you love that quote?

[00:09:20] Fran: Oh gosh. My dad used to say that to me all the time as a kid. I used to think it was so interesting. It struck me the first time because I was like, “Wait a minute. What does that mean?” And I just like to play on words.

[00:09:34] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:09:34] Fran: And it is. It’s just, it depends on your mentality. If you think you can’t, you can’t. But if you can, you just figure out a way to make it happen.

And I’m fortunate in that Naomi is very similar to me in that way. We’re very complimentary in our skill sets. And so, it was just an easy thing for us to keep pushing through and saying, “We’re going to make this happen come hell or high water.”

[00:09:55] Tina: Yeah.

[00:09:55] Fran: And sometimes, there was a lot of high water.

[00:09:58] Tina: Yeah. Row faster.

[00:10:00] Fran: And a little bit of hell.

[00:10:02] Tina: Yeah. And we were kidding about your dogs walking around in the background. There went one.

[00:10:06] Fran: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:07] Tina: I love that. I love that. I have four. And you’re traveling with two.

[00:10:11] Fran: Yes. And they’re ready for their walk.

[00:10:14] Tina: Yeah. They’re gonna have to wait.

[00:10:16] Fran: Exactly.

[00:10:17] Tina: So when you were starting, have you experienced this of people coming up to you and saying things like, “I wish I were brave enough to do what you’ve done. I wish I had the courage.”? Have you ever had anyone say that to you about what you’ve done with TomboyX?

[00:10:30] Fran: Yeah. Yeah. You know, a few times. Or people are just curious about how the journey began for us. And, you know, I do think that it requires a certain comfort with risk.

[00:10:43] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:10:44] Fran: And also a certain unemotional relationship to money.

[00:10:48] Tina: Yeah.

[00:10:49] Fran: Those are the two things.

[00:10:51] Tina: Not attaching stories to it, right?

[00:10:53] Fran: Yes.

[00:10:53] Tina: So tell me more about that because I love working with money mindset with my clients. And really, we talk about glass ceilings, but there’s so many ways we create our own just from how our brain works and our old habits of thought and the way it’s always been, those things that we say to ourselves.

And there’s actually a book called this, I didn’t realize it until I’ve been saying it for a while, but we can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought, right?

[00:11:14] Fran: Mm-hmm.

[00:11:15] Tina: Because we just keep building those neural pathways that’s just our fallback position. And certainly, there’s other political factors at work. All of those things are definitely things that people deal with as well. But really it’s an inside job, our first steps with any of that, wouldn’t you say?

[00:11:29] Fran: Yeah. And I also think, especially for women, it’s societal. You know, we’re fed consciously and subconsciously so many messages that start with, you know.

And that’s really the premise of the brand too, was to be a brand that wasn’t an external gaze looking in or someone else’s judgment. We wanted to hold a mirror up and be a reflection of how cool we think you are because there’s so many of that negativity that’s just seen.

You know, when we are fundraising and we go to these pitch meetings and it’d be all these white men sitting around a table, and I can’t tell you the number of times they wanted to know, “Well, what’s wrong with Victoria’s Secret?”

And so, I think they have figured it out. You know, Naomi and I were driving yesterday and singing along to Jax’s song about, you know, she found out that the secret to Victoria’s Secret and it’s that he’s a dude.

[00:12:21] Tina: It’s kinda like the Wizard of Oz.

[00:12:23] Fran: Exactly. That’s exactly right. Yeah. And that was just the status quo. It went unquestioned for years. I mean, they had 65% market share when we started this business. And we recognized that the women were looking for something different, that we want something different. And we wanted to be a different brand that wasn’t trying to tell you how to be cool but wants to celebrate how cool we think you are.

[00:12:45] Tina: Oh, I love that. And the whole really inside job kind of a thing, that it’s an inside out thing and that, you know, people want to shop with a different type of lingerie, whatever. Great. Fantastic.

[00:12:56] Fran: A hundred percent.

[00:12:57] Tina: Maybe they have the lacy stuff here and the TomboyX stuff here.

[00:13:00] Fran: Yes, indeed.

[00:13:01] Tina: Yeah. And there’s a time and place, you know? And if you and Naomi had listened to the outside voices saying, “Oh no,” you know. I just said today to someone we renegade. We zig them when everybody else is zagging or we zag when everybody else is zigging. We don’t need to ask permission, you know?

[00:13:16] Fran: A hundred percent. That’s right.

[00:13:17] Tina: And I have a magnet in my refrigerator that “Well-behaved women seldom make history,” you know. And you just, you know, you kind of stealth because you come across real calm and kinda easygoing but yet inside-

[00:13:32] Fran: That’s a superpower.

[00:13:33] Tina: The steely core, yeah. That’s your subterfuge beneath the radar.

[00:13:36] Fran: Yeah. You know, it’s a huge kind of superpower is to be underestimated.

[00:13:42] Tina: And it’s so fun, though, when you pounce.

[00:13:44] Fran: Exactly. Exactly. They don’t see it coming, huh?

[00:13:48] Tina: I love that. So what would you say to someone though when they’re thinking, “Okay, my fifties, I-“ because I’ve had programs teaching people, copywriting, marketing strategy, you know, taking them through this transition.

And that’s how I see this for a lot of us, that there’s a transition that can happen as we’re getting past 50 of, “Oh, I used to do all of this, but you know what, I wanna try this or I wanna do this.”

I was just talking to someone the other day that talked about a doctor they know that wants to be a chef, and at this point in their life, they’re gonna make this transition.

And there’s an identity thing that happens with this. I mean, did you ever experience that where you had to sort of peel back the layers of who am I really, who is Fran, they’re in the middle, or did you always have that sense of really confidence about really at the core of who you are?

[00:14:32] Fran: No, and I certainly struggled. And it’s been a part of the interesting part of this journey is that, you know, we were just kind of riding the zeitgeist. I mean, we did this out of a certain personal need for a shirt. But at the same time, we chose a brand name that was perfect, and numerous people tried to talk us out of it because it is about that spirit of rebel or that spirit of being true to yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin.

But you know, as the company has grown and society has changed a lot in the last 10 years. We have our 10-year anniversary in April. And the vocabulary’s changing.

[00:15:14] Tina: Yeah.

[00:15:14] Fran: Acceptance is changing. Gender is being challenged. The binary is being challenged.

And so, that’s been an interesting journey for us. And I feel like we’re learning a lot from the younger generations around how to think about that and what the construct is. But at the same time, we worked hard as the LGBTQ community to kind of pave the way and some of the changes have been leaps and bounds.

Now, of course, the counter to that is that we’re seeing a lot more negativity and animosity flaring up again. And the hatred is on the rise. So, you know, those are just societal things that are, like you say, they’re hidden and they’re in us.

And so, I think that certainly we’ve had times where both Naomi and I have questioned what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. But as far as personally, I think we both came from very tenacious mothers that kind of bucked the system in their own separate ways.

And so I think that’s also part of our DNA. Naomi was a sports massage therapist for the Women’s Olympic soccer team and was able to make that happen because she dreamt of doing it since she was five. And so she just also has that perseverance. And for me, I couldn’t have done it without her, and I think vice versa. So a critical component too was for us finding a co-founder.

[00:16:34] Tina: And, the other thing, it seems like you probably have to grow a little bit of a thick skin because, like you said about the name and just some of the topic of how you’re approaching, it’s polarizing, right?

[00:16:45] Fran: Yes.

[00:16:45] Tina: There’s gonna be people that are attracted and people that are repelled. So how do you deal with that? Because I think especially with what you’re doing, I can see so many ways why that could be happening right now, but for many different types of businesses and especially for women, you know, I think that we’re so part of the culture again, and the way a lot of us were raised was to please people, to be well-behaved, you know.

I was always told when I was a kid that I talk too much. So kind of last laugh is that words are what launched me a whole new career at past 50. So, yay! Yay, for being who you really are.

So how do you deal with that polarization aspect? Because I’m imagining you get messaging sometimes that’s less than pleasant or complimentary. So how do you deal with that personally? How do you handle that?

[00:17:27] Fran: You know, we haven’t really had any outright bashing from outside of the community.

We’ve had some experience with cancel culture, which was extremely unpleasant. And the polarization, I think probably one of the biggest challenges for us is that we never wanted to be pigeonholed as a lesbian underwear company just because we happened to be a lesbian couple.

We actually started, right out of the gate, wanting to provide comfortable underwear for women. And now, we’re gender neutral because it turns out that we succeeded in, well, Julie made such comfortable underwear in all shapes and sizes that it works for any body type. And so, really, we are gender neutral.

And we were the first company, first clothing apparel company to show diversity in terms of gender, in terms of size, in terms of LGBTQ inclusive.

And so we really came out of the gate with that. And that was because we thought it was the right thing to do. And so I think that then to have this lens that pigeonholed us, I think we’re coming out of that. I think that the message is getting out that, you know, to your point, you may have your frilly stuff for this day, but if you want a decent swimsuit that you can wear and not have any wardrobe malfunctions, come to TomboyX, and we got you covered literally.

[00:18:49] Tina: Literally. It stays in place, you know?

[00:18:53] Fran: Exactly.

[00:18:53] Tina: I love that. I love the whole aspect of that diversity because I think it’s so harmful, especially to young women, I mean, look at social media, perfect bodies, perfect everything, filters galore, you know, all of the things. And as we get older, you know, for those of us that aren’t young anymore, that are feeling like, “Well, is it gonna be okay that I have a line on my face?” Or, “I’m the oldest person in the room at this marketing event,” or whatever, you know? And if we could just get comfortable in our own skin, literally.

[00:19:22] Fran: Yes, exactly.

[00:19:22] Tina: And just really fully embrace that. And it sounds to me like when you say, “Well, I really haven’t had that big of an issue,” but also that because you’re driven by your mission, you know, you see the vision of why you created this in the first place. And it sounds like the two of you have grown with it. Because even when you say cancel culture, we wouldn’t have even known what the heck does that mean 10 years ago.

[00:19:42] Fran: Exactly.

[00:19:42] Tina: It’s a whole new thing, you know?

[00:19:44] Fran: Yeah.

[00:19:45] Tina: And so evolving with that.

[00:19:46] Fran: And it’s fierce and especially with social media but yeah. And back to the values, when Naomi and I started the company, we really weren’t that keen on capitalism in general. We’ve changed.

So if we’re gonna go sell stuff to people, we wanna make sure that stuff is made from the quality, sustainable fabrics and that we’re working with factories that pay people well and that we aren’t taking advantage of slave wages, or anything like that, and in how we treated our employees, so all the way through.

I mean, we’re B Corp certified now, which is a big deal. You know, we share a company with like the Patagonias of the world and Allbirds. So we’re really proud of that.

But it was just part of the journey for us. It was an intentional decision that we made because it was the right thing to do. The same as it was right to have sizes from extra small through- Now, we do triple extra small through 6X all at the same price.

[00:20:42] Tina: Wow.

[00:20:42] Fran: We don’t want people to feel shame because they come in and they happen to be a 6X. They pay the same price as a triple extra small. And so, it’s that kind of equity that was really important to us. But again, it comes down to our core values and getting, you know, getting that baked into the corporation, through this B Corp certification is just a par for the course. It’s, “Yes, of course, that’s what we’re doing.”

[00:21:08] Tina: So I know we have lots of different kinds of people watching this, so can you explain more about the B Corp and what that means with your business?

[00:21:14] Fran: Oh, sure. It’s a certification process. It can take anywhere from a year to two years. Naomi headed that effort up for us last year. We got it done in under a year.

And it’s essentially where they come in and they take a look at your whole kind of system, the way you operate, how you treat your employees, how you treat your factory workers, what fabrics, how you make decisions, what do you give back to the community.

So it’s a very big lens of how you’re making the world a better place. And it’s, you know, questionnaire then they come in and they check and they look at you, and then you have to re-certify every few years. So it’s a pretty big deal. And it’s hard to score. Naomi’s the expert on this, but I think you have to get 80 to be certified and we came out the first time through it at like a 94%. So really good. And you know, a Patagonia is like 120 or something, something very good because they’ve been doing it for a long time.

[00:22:08] Tina: Yeah, yeah.

[00:22:09] Fran: Yeah.

[00:22:09] Tina: That’s amazing. I mean, what an honor. Really, what an honor. And it must make you both feel just really, just feeling that feeling of justification and kind of completeness that we really are doing this thing. We’re doing it on our terms. The vision we had for it has grown into this now.

And it seems to me such a great lesson for anyone who might wanna start a new business in their 50s or transition into something new, that you really still have plenty of time to make an impact and to make a difference in the world.

And there’s so many facets to what you’re doing in your business because it isn’t just about the commercialization and bringing in the money. I mean-

[00:22:45] Fran: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:46] Tina: Nothing’s wrong with having money, you know, but that you’re doing good. And I know one of the premises of your business is to do good, right?

[00:22:52] Fran: Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:22:54] Tina: Not only how people feel about themselves with the use of your products and just how they feel comfortable and how they feel good about how they present to the world and all of that. But just, I don’t know, it just feels like it’s infused with love what you’re doing.

[00:23:06] Fran: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, thank you. That means a lot. And, you know, as part of that, when we transitioned from making the cool button-up shirts, it was because we listened to our customer. And for us, when we stepped into this white space of unmet need, the customers had never been heard. They’d never been seen. They’d never been represented. And so they have a lot to say.

So to this day, when we come up with a new product, the team will bring in a focus group or we’ll send it out to our customers. And we still listen.

And we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t listened to the drumbeat, repeatedly hearing, “Make boxer briefs for women. Boxer briefs for women.” We didn’t know that wasn’t being done. I went on nordstrom.com and when I typed in boxer briefs for women, up came a pair of spanks and that was it.

[00:23:56] Tina: Oh, wow.

[00:23:56] Fran: And so we listened to our customer and thought, “Well, let’s make boxer briefs.” And so that’s when we hired Julie, and she came in and did such a great job and the trajectory of our business took off in a whole new way.

[00:24:08] Tina: Well, that’s while we’re sharing the love, it’s also business, right? And so there are the strategies, the tactics, the vision, you know, and kind of riding the wave of what the clients want and listening, actually listening.

And I always say in marketing and in copywriting, that we’re always selling more than the obvious. You know, you’re selling more than soft fabric that holds your body in certain places that keep you comfortable, right? That it’s more than that and going that deeper level of what does it mean to the person. What are you solving for your client? What issue are you resolving for them and being a solution for?

And so by listening to your clients in this way and not being afraid to break new ground because sometimes we go, “Well, nobody else is doing it, so it must not really be that anybody wants it,” you know?

[00:24:49] Fran: Right.

[00:24:50] Tina: But on the other hand, we can say, ‘Well, we think that having left-handed xylophone lessons, nobody’s offering those. And we think it sounds like a good idea,” you know?

So really just that give and take of being real, you know, being real with your clientele and being available in that sense with boundaries, of course, but still being able to have that communication. I just heard you say, it made a huge difference in the trajectory for your business by just listening and paying attention.

[00:25:13] Fran: Exactly. And it’s still there. Just over a year ago, Naomi and I both semi-retired, so we’ve got a C team running the business day to day. But we attend the weekly all team meetings, and it was a practice that I had started years ago, but they continue today, which is we close out the all team meeting, reading three or four customer reviews so that the team can hear what our customers are saying. And then we still close it out with my phrase, which is, “That’s why we’re here.”

[00:25:46] Tina: Yeah.

[00:25:46] Fran: And it’s the truth. That’s what the company was built on, and it’s absolute truth.

[00:25:51] Tina: I love this, and I really love that you’ve spent some time with me today. I know you’re on your way to a vacation and still took the time to do this. And that’s why we’re here, you know, it’s to share stories like this because I think the inspiration that runs all through this conversation of what you and Naomi have done.

Well, let me just ask you this, what’s your vision for what’s next? I mean, how do you see this going as you continue on with your semi-retirement?

[00:26:14] Fran: As far as TomboyX?

[00:26:16] Tina: Or whatever, you know.

[00:26:18] Fran: We’re sorting that out. We’ve got some travel and golf lessons in the future and, you know, we still love talking to people and being involved in any kind of PR stuff or fun things that the company wants us to do. So, we’ll continue to be involved in the business and kind of see where we go from there.

[00:26:36] Tina: Well, that sounds like a perfect Anti-Retirement Renegade Boomer™ plan to me because it’s all about that blending, the golf, the travel, the PR, the fun part, you know. I heard you just say you wanna do the fun part. You get to do the fun part.

And so it all blends together into this, you know, not to have too much of a pun, but the fabric of your life. I’m sorry.

[00:26:55] Fran: I love that.

[00:26:55] Tina: I couldn’t resist.

[00:26:56] Fran: I love it!

[00:26:58] Tina: So how can people track you down with tomboyX and anything that you’re doing? How can people find you?

[00:27:04] Fran: Yeah, well, you can find me on LinkedIn, shoot me a note, say, hey, you heard of me on the Renegade Boomer™. And then, you can also just check me out at fran@tomboyx.com.

[00:27:14] Tina: Awesome. So great. Thanks so much for being here today. I loved our conversation and I can’t wait to have another one one day soon.

[00:27:21] Fran: Yeah, me too. Thank you so much for doing this.

Copyright 2023 Tina Lorenz

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