Jaime Schmidt started Schmidt’s Naturals in her kitchen and scaled it to acquisition by Unilever. In the process, she pioneered a movement of modern brands bringing naturals to the mainstream. Since then, Jaime has been empowering the next generation of consumer brands through her inclusive investment firm, Color, which supports modern makers through investments in Seed to Series A, and specializes in the consumer product industry, retail and eCommerce, brand positioning, and M&A. In 2019, she launched Supermaker, a media company that celebrates inclusive and disruptive independent brands. Her book, Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms, on this very topic, was released in 2020 and is all about turning your passion project into a thriving business. Jaime is gearing up for her starring role on Season One of Going Public airing on October 19, the first show that will enable viewers to invest in companies on screen, to help entrepreneurs take their brands to a global audience. “There’s so much here that resonates with our mission at Nobody Studios about giving access to all for entrepreneurs,” host Barry O’Reilly says.

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Get Your Hands Dirty

Oftentimes, you have to get your hands dirty to figure out what you want to do, Jaime discovered. She outlines her journey from college to working in HR to ultimately starting her own business. If you are trying to figure out your next step, she advises listeners, try to learn something from every experience you’ve had that you can take forward: “Figure out something about that [present] job that you can take with you that will somehow make you a stronger performer in your dream job.” [Listen from 2:30]

Leadership Lessons

Barry and Jaime talk about important lessons that Jaime learned and unlearned along the way. Some of these lessons are:

  • Not all leadership looks the same. [Listen from 5:35]
  • Decide how you want to show up as a boss. Emulate the good behaviors you learned from other leaders, and discard the bad behaviors. [Listen from 6:16]
  • There’s no one way to be a good leader. The best way is to just be yourself. Your leadership style is good enough. [Listen from 8:10]
  • “Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know; ask for help when you need it, and just keep that ego under control.” [Listen from 10:30]
  • Hire a good team: people you can trust who you’re proud to have representing your brand. Be transparent and let them lead sometimes. [Listen from 10:40]
  • COVID has taken a toll on leaders, but one positive effect of the pandemic is that we’re more tolerant of others than before. [Listen from 11:00]

Investing in People and Democratizing Entrepreneurship

“In many ways,” Barry remarks, “most investors look for the people that they seem to make an investment in rather than the product.” He asks Jaime about her own philosophy for choosing investments. “As an investor today I think I have a little more openmindedness to founders that are a bit untraditional because that was me,” she responds. She looks for more than just a good proposal on paper; it’s the passion and dedication of the founder that really helps her decide whether an investment has potential. [Listen from 11:48]

The next big idea may not come from Silicon Valley, Barry argues; it can come from anywhere in the world. His mission at Nobody Studios is to give everyone the opportunity and resources to bring their great ideas to reality through equity crowdfunding. Jaime is also excited about lowering barriers to entrepreneurship. “I’m really excited by the democratization of entrepreneurship that we’re starting to see, and everything that I do is really just in line with that goal,” she says. Anyone can be an entrepreneur, she continues. She will soon be on Going Public, a new show that allows viewers to invest in the brands on the show, and exposes brands to a global audience. Lowering barriers means more people get to play, Barry adds; and that’s a noble step to take. [Listen from 13:25]

Two-Way Mentorship

The best type of mentorship is two-way. Mentors and mentees should bring their expertise to the table, and be open to learning from each other. Leave the ego at the door though, Jaime stresses. It’s common and natural to wonder if you can add value to a business when you have no experience in that industry, but Jaime realized that many of the lessons she learned growing her own business were transferable to any business. Once you approach mentorship collaboratively, it will be successful and rewarding, she says. “If it’s the right energy and approach, I think that both egos sort of sizzle and really create something powerful, and come up with real results,” she remarks. [Listen from 19:00]

Looking Ahead

Jaime will continue to invest in consumer brands through Color, but she also sees an exciting opportunity in the emerging crypto and NFT space. She is learning more about this area, and feels that brands should embrace it and actually start adding these types of digital assets to their existing catalog. It’s a win-win for brands as well as their customers, she feels. Brands would stay relevant, and consumers would be more inclined to buy these new products from brands they already know and trust. Barry comments that you need to have ‘skin in the game’ to really understand a new area. “Once you put a little investment in you’ll follow it and it will teach you to learn,” he says. Jaime agrees that it’s always wise to diversify your investments and be culturally relevant. “The smartest hire a brand can make today is someone who is a consumer of culture” she points out. [Listen from 22:00]