We had the good fortune of connecting with Sonnet O’Kane and Mindy Flynn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sonnet O’Kane, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
We have learned to not overthink things and to just keep moving forward. Challenges will come up, changes will need to be made constantly, and it’s best to follow your intuition, which will lead you in the right direction. Goals and business plans are great, but be open to changing them…often. The beauty of entrepreneurship and the freedom in ownership is that you can pivot and change your ideas as you learn and grow. Take inspiration and new ideas and run with them, try things out, and if they don’t work, try something different. Start small, dream big and go for it.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When we started Rebel Villa, it was a side hustle for us as we both had demanding full-time jobs. Our initial thought was to develop and produce products to sell on Amazon as supplemental income, with aspirations of making it a full-time business one day. We didn’t have an elaborate business plan, in fact we had no plan at all, but we knew how to design and to produce products, so we started our journey there. We had $5,000 dollars between the two of us and we used it to research, test, develop and purchase our first collection. It was important for us to build the business without debt or involving investors, we wanted to be in full control. Fast forward to March 2020 when COVID hit and we were laid off/furloughed from Stance, which ultimately pushed us to move a lot faster than we had planned. At first, we thought that the global pandemic would hinder our vision of a new, online business, but it actually ended up being quite the opposite. The more we sold along the way, the more products we would create and add to our offerings. As we have grown, our goals and thought processes have also changed. We realize the potential we have is so much more than a side hustle, it’s funny to even go back to that mindset. Our goals now center around expansion and growth, being more creative in marketing, selling wholesale, opening a retail store and so much more. The sky’s the limit! It took time for us to really know what we wanted and to understand what it takes to get there, so we’re glad we got started quickly and didn’t overthink it. You have to be confident in yourself and know that you will figure it out and the path will reveal itself in time, so get started now and don’t give up when you are faced with challenges.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
San Diego is such a beautiful place to visit, especially for out of town guests! Most of our friends would be thrilled to just relax at the beach for a week, but we do have a few other favorite spots. We would take the ferry to Coronado Island and rent some bikes to ride along the strand. We would visit Balboa Park and hike at Torrey Pines. We live in Carlsbad, so we love taking the train down to Petco Park to catch baseball games. Local to Carlsbad, Terra Mar beach is a favorite for us to walk around, surf and check out the tide pools at low tide. A few of our best-loved restaurants in the Carlsbad Village are Blue Ocean, Jeune et Jolie and Campfire. Last, but not least, a craft beer brewery tour is a must for our friends!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We were both fueled by the support of our colleagues and upper management team at Stance, Inc, where we both worked full-time for 5+ years. The company heavily emphasized the following values into our daily lives; Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Performance, Gratitude and Personal Responsibility. We were inspired by this mindset and embedded with these values in both our personal and professional lives. At Stance, we were never criticized for wanting to start a “side hustle,” we were instead given high fives and encouragement. You can’t say that for many full-time employers and we feel so fortunate to have been given that drive and experience.