The Fellowship: How I Built This Summit

How I Built This began on September 12, 2016 as a podcast where the host, Guy Raz, talks to innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, about the stories behind the movements they built. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey via its popular NPR podcast which ranked among the top 20 Podcasts in 2017 and has aired 97 podcasts to date.

This past October, NPR launched its first How I Built this Summit in San Francisco! NPR also announced the inaugural class of fellows participating in the first How I Built This Fellowship supported by Yahoo Small Business and the founder of SONSON® was part of this history making moment!

NPR received more than 400 applications and selected 40 How I Built This Fellows who (1) have a great idea; (2) would benefit from attending the How I Built This Summit; and (3) whose unique story and entrepreneurial journey will add diversity to the Summit.

The golden nuggets gained during the summit were invaluable and showed 4 commonalities/attributes that SONSON® has with founders of companies such as Carols Daughter, Rent The Runway, and Air BNB. From (1) Relationship building; (2) Problem Solving; (3) Perseverance; and (4) Authenticity.

(1) Relationship building (Air BNB): Joe Gebbia (a skilled designer) had a chance encounter with a stranger (Joseph) that is going to the peace core who purchased his art work from Joe’s yard sale. From their conversation, Joe asked the stranger where he was staying. The stranger didn’t have a place to stay and Joe decided to host him on an air bed in his living room. A pure humane decision! From this experience, Joe Gebbia had an idea that grew into a company that now has more rooms than the biggest hotel chain in the world. Needless to say Joseph and Joe have built a lasting friendship from that experience.

(2) Problem Solving (Rent the Runway): Jennifer Hyman shared her story on how a friend didn’t want to wear a dress again to a major event—especially since she had already taken a picture in it. Based on further research she realized many people didn’t like to wear the same thing twice. To solve this, she created “Rent the Runway” a wardrobe that we can access via the cloud and help people create memorable looks.

(3) Perseverance (Carols Daughter): In the early 90’s, the natural hair movement was gaining traction, yet it was difficult to find a variety of hair care products. Rather than settling for what was available (which was slim in the “ethnic hair” isles), Lisa Price decided to start create her own product for her hair. In May of 1993, Lisa Price founded the hair and skincare brand, Carol’s Daughter, in the kitchen of her Brooklyn apartment. She went from selling from her home, churches and in 1999, she opened a storefront in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. And in 2014, L'Oréal USA purchased Carol’s Daughter. 25 years in celebrating natural hair; Carols Daughter came from humble beginnings and kept moving forward.

(4) Authenticity: Each founder/brand is authentic in their purpose. Whether it’s providing shelter for travelers, finding that perfect outfit for a gala, creating a product that will make one feel beautiful, to offering a new father something he and his son can build a bond around. Entrepreneurial stories that share these 4 attributes are the heart of How I Built This.

And speaking of the heart of How I Built This, out of hundreds of attendees, the #HIBTSummit team selected only 6 individuals to speak with their Senior Editor during the “Pitch-To-Your-Peers” activity. And SONSON® was one of the six selected! The winner of this pitch will be featured on “How You Built That” segment at the end of each episode.

SONSON® talked about their story:high points, low points, challenges, what gets them out of bed each morning and more.

If you listen to this podcast, then you will find out who won this amazing opportunity!

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Fashion is an expressive storyteller, wear something to spark a conversation!"

Rashima Sonson