94 Meet the Entrepreneur who Rocks the Ruffles as CEO of Justin Jean

Entrepreneur Lauren Raja lost her young husband and her beloved grandmother within a year, and in her grief she created a fast-growing fashion pajama company in their names, JustinJean. She shares how she turned her grief into creativity and provides must-listen lessons on how to find your true passion and live “all in” with no regrets.

Melinda Wittstock:         Lauren, welcome to WINGS.

Lauren Raja:                       Thanks for having me.

Melinda Wittstock:         I am so excited to talk to you. Of course, I met you for the first time at summer camp for entrepreneurs, we were in Connecticut, it was Camp Maverick, and I remember being introduced to your PJ, is because you were so generous, you kitted us all out, and we're all rocking the ruffles in the back. Thank you for that, that was so cool.

Lauren Raja:                       It was my pleasure; it was the least I could do. I actually received a scholarship to go to that camp, I'm just so grateful to have that experience; that’s the least I could do.

Melinda Wittstock:         It's really wonderful when entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, coming up, have the chance to get mentored, and in such a profound way. Of course, with Maverick, you have a whole series of really high performing entrepreneurs in many different industries. To have access to all those people is wonderful.

I think when I was in my 20s as an entrepreneur, and in my 30s, I was often the only woman in the room, and there weren't that many entrepreneurs around me. I felt like kind of isolated. Do you have that feeling?

Lauren Raja:                       I feel isolated in certain ways, but I'm just kind of beginning. I think naturally you want to get to that, you think there's like that finish line. I feel more isolated in that sense. But, I know what you mean in regards to that as well.

Melinda Wittstock:         It's interesting. I've learned recently that only 20% of female entrepreneurs actually have a mentor. We all struggle with this weird thing where it's hard to ask for help. We want to do everything ourselves, how does that manifest with you? Are you the person who's doing a lot of the stuff? Are you a little bit better at kind of getting out of your own way and asking people to do things for you?

Lauren Raja:                       Let's just put it this way, it takes desperation for me to ask somebody for help. I need to be … The Philadelphia Inquirer did a feature, a beautiful feature article, on me, my story, and my business right after Christmas. I remember one morning, waking up, because I did get some sales, some new customers, it was wonderful, I remember about a week after the article came out, my phone was going off, because I get notifications when sales come in.

I'm thinking, “What makes today so different?” I check, and I'm getting all of these orders from Minneapolis. I'm thinking “Where these come from?” I went online and looked … I could see where the orders are coming from, and it's coming from the Star Tribune in Minnesota. My article was picked up by wire service, and [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:03:24"] national.

It was just such a cool, a really cool feeling. But, I was like “Oh, my gosh, I have all these orders to pack.” I do everything from my one-bedroom condo here in New Hope, Pennsylvania. I have one girlfriend on [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:03:41"], she owns a restaurant, but they're closed for the winter. She'll come over and just keep me company, and she's like “I know you need help, I know you need help.” I'm like “Just sit there, I just need someone here. I'll do everything.” That's like kind of the running joke that I ask for help, but then I want to do everything myself.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my God. That’s a constant theme among female entrepreneurs. How you take a growing business, such as yours, when you get to a certain point, and then all of a sudden you got to figure out how to scale and how to get those systems in place. It's just another level up of how to get out of our comfort zones and ask for help, and hire people, and all of that. You're just on the precipice, I think of that, where you're growing, like you get a big [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:04:32"] media article, congratulations on that by the way, it was awesome.

Lauren Raja:                       Thank you, it was really exciting; it was such a really cool experience.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, but then boom, you've got all these orders, and you've got to figure that out. How is that working with you right now? Are you starting to get more help or hiring people and that kind of thing?

Lauren Raja:                       I'm looking into it. I'm trying to prepare for … because if I do hire, I would like to hire someone soon to prepare for the Christmas season, which is my busiest season.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. I was talking about rocking the ruffles, it was this perfect mother, daughter gift. Sydney, my daughter, who's 14, and I spend pretty much all of Christmas day in our Justin Jean's PJs.

Lauren Raja:                       How cute.

Melinda Wittstock:         It was cute: we were both like little polka dots with little ruffles. She was like 14, I got a little bit of the eye-roll, but once she put them on too, because she was like “Mom, seriously, we're going to wear the same thing?” I would normally not put her through something like that, but they're so comfortable, they feel so good when you're wearing them, oh, man, and they're so cute.

Lauren Raja:                       Yeah. That was like the most important thing to me, was the comfort. That's my slogan, heavenly comfort, superior style. A lot of times, I'll go out in my pajamas, I have no shame. [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:06:03"] like “they're pajamas?”

Melinda Wittstock:         They're so stylish. Because they don't necessarily look like PJs, they feel comfy like PJs should, but they're really fashionable.

Lauren Raja:                       Yes. That was important, because I feel like some of our most inspirational moments are just lounging around with family, being ourselves it's kind of when … When we're home lounging in our pajamas, that's when our masks come off, we're real. I think we tend to just not care what we look like when we're at home.

I struggled with it, especially after my husband passed, I spent a lot of time in sleepwear, but not exciting sleepwear, were like oversized, black sweatpants that I got at Walmart. Stuff like that. I kind of subconsciously made these to make us feel good again. About what we wear when we're at home. I think it's important, I think it boosts our mood, not to mention they're super comfortable, and they're adorable.

I see families come together, and you can just see the joy in their faces, and how much they have. Like you said, your daughter, at first, was like rolling her eyes. I've heard that several times, and then, once they try them, it turns into a positive experience. [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:07:37"] playful.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes, that's exactly, really, what happened. The origin story of Justin Jean is born really of tragedy. You lost your husband, both of you were very young. This company emerges from that. Tell us, please, just share how this happened. You mentioned that you were obviously in grief, and sitting around in PJs for a time, right?

Lauren Raja:                       Hm-mm-hmm (affirmative).

Melinda Wittstock:         Then, this spark happens that you're going to go and create a line of PJs, how did all of that happen?

Lauren Raja:                       Okay. I'll kind of start in the beginning, before the tragedy. I've lived here in New Hope with my husband Justin. We just worked so hard, we wanted a house, we wanted to have children, and just live the dream. We fell in love with this beautiful town called New Hope, Pennsylvania, things were just coming together for us.

I remember when we left for Greece, we were going to his sister Dana's destination wedding in Santorini in October 2014. We were just so excited to just get away and just relaxing our minds, just spend time together, because it was just so hectic.

Long story short, we went on a boat cruise with the whole wedding party two days before the wedding. He wasn't even supposed to go in the water, it was kind of cold, it was October. When we left in the morning, it was a little windy. I brought my bathing suit, because I'm a girl, and I wanted to get some sun layout, but I didn't pack his, because I really didn't think we were going to be able to swim in that weather.

But as the hours went on, I think around [spp-timestamp time="10:00"], [spp-timestamp time="11:00"], the sun started coming out stronger, and it was you know, we did all go in. I remember the second stop at the Red Beach, he dove in. I didn't even know that the captain had given him swimming trunks, he had an extra set. I remember going over to my sister-in-law's future husband [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:10:15"] and asking her where my husband was, he said “Oh, he just dove off, he's swimming.”

I saw him; I waved to him. I actually took his picture, he was swimming. I told him I'd be right back. I ran down to the bathroom. Before I shut the door, all I hear was everybody screaming and running around frantically. My heart just stopped.

As I was walking up the steps, they were pulling his body up. It was kind of weird, because it was a big boat. If I wasn't in that spot at that time, I wouldn't have been able to be by his side. It's kind of weird how that, you know, I don't like using that word, worked out, but so anyway.

Mouth-to-mouth, CPR, you name it, it took us a long time to get to their hospital, which was a small, little white building with graffiti on the side of it. I'll spare the details, but anyway, we lost him. We don't know much detail, but he drowned, and I came home alone.

I made sure that nobody sat in his seat the whole time. When we got home, we have a great support system here. That's one of the reasons why we stayed in New Hope, they're like family to us.

Everybody was very supportive in there for me. I definitely was in shock. I'd say for the next two to three months, I was kind of just running on fumes, getting stuff done, I threw this beautiful memorial for him down at one of the local restaurants, we raised $1000 for [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:12:02"]. I was doing things, I was still the old Lauren, it was weird.

I was productive, I was getting things done. At the time, I had a long-term sub teaching position in a school up here. I had a contract to the position a year previous, but the commute was way too bad, I [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:12:19"] get something closer.

I remember the principal just saying “Lauren, if this was a full-time thing, I would tell you to come back in, but it's just not worth it.” I resigned from my teaching position, it was the first in [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:12:33"] years I didn't have a job. I remember sitting here, and I'm like “What am I going to do now?”

Every plan I had, has just been completely shattered. Every day was myself and my Golden Doodle, [Finn [spp-timestamp time="00:12:48"]. I literally would just stare outside, or at the wall. I just [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:12:53"] staring at the window, or at the wall. Certain people, I would answer the phone to, most I wouldn't. I just did things at my own pace. It took me about six months to really get a grip on everything.

Then, I thought “You know what? Justin got me that sewing machine.” My grandmother Jean had passed a year before my husband, and I had begged my husband to get me a sewing machine, because she was seamstress, and she raised me. I grew up watching her, and learning from her. But I never had any time, because we worked so much.

I started eyeing up that sewing machine that he got me, and I started to play. It was the first time in my entire life, since I was little, that I had time to play like that. I always say that it took me being at my lowest point to realize what I really wanted to do. I'd say in those six months I created all kinds of interesting things. My girlfriends would be like “That's great, Lauren.”

But they were teasing me, but they were also happy, because they saw life in me again, and they saw me creating and brainstorming. Then, I started to draw fashion sketches. It's like I subconsciously came up with these fun, happy prints for my pajama line. Right now, we have pajamas for women, and little girls. Eventually, I would like to expand to men and boys, but right now, it's just women and girls.

It's kind of to represent the bond that me and my grandmother had. My logo is their actual handwriting. My husband Justin, and my grandmother Jean. That's the name of my business, Justin Jean.

Melinda Wittstock:         I am just moved. Lauren, I know your story, and I've heard your story before, then to hear it again, I have my heart in my hands, because it's you put yourself, if you're an empathetic person, as best you can in somebody else's shoes, but you never really know what that must be like. Just my goodness, my heart goes out to you for what you went through.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]I'm happier than I've ever been in my entire life, because I've learned so many lessons from this tragedy. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness[/tweet_box]

Lauren Raja:                       Thanks, Melinda. Yeah. But I'll tell you what. It just reinforces the whole idea of what life is all about. It's about surrounding yourself with people who love you, like-minded people. That's what got me through. That was the main thing that got me through, is my friends, and my friends and family. Times like this is when you realize who your true friends are too. [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:16:23"] small, and I'm happy, and I'm happy in a way, I'm happier than I've ever been in my entire life, because I've learned so many lessons from this tragedy.

If nothing good came out of it, at last that, you know. My pajamas, the adult pajamas, have three ruffles on the back, and they stand for authenticity, integrity and passion.

Melinda Wittstock:         Beautiful.

Lauren Raja:                       Things that I took from this tragedy. Those three things are like so important to me. That's what I look for in friends, and that's how I try to live my life every day. It's also how my husband and grandmother were, it reminds me of who they were as people.

Melinda Wittstock:         It feels to me that their spirit lives on. It's not just the lettering, or just the joy in the prints that you use. There's this spirit of kind of fun, like sort of a Joie de vivre, to be kind of all French about it. But really it's just … They have such a spirit of fun. What you were saying before about the authenticity, our masks come down when we're wearing our PJs.

All of this connects for me because, essentially, what I feel you saying is that when we're actually in alignment with ourselves, and we're being our true selves, we're being in the moment, that's where magic happens.

As an entrepreneur too, it's interesting that with all the women that I've interviewed on this podcast, and I've begun to see this patterns of the marker of success. Almost in every case, it's really understanding what's actually important in life, and it's taking adversity, and terrible challenges and tragedies, and making something of them, making them count in some way, which I see you do every day as you build this wonderful business.

Lauren Raja:                       Thank you.

Melinda Wittstock:         You mentioned the need for friends and family and support. This is so important, it goes back around to where we started the conversation about “Wow, okay, so now you got to scale your business.”

Lauren Raja:                       I know. It's funny. I was always saying that. Just now I was thinking about all of that. It's hard because, even tonight, all of my friends … [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:19:04"] I think a big snowstorm, and they're all going to go out, have some cocktails and relax. I really can't. I have work to do, I have to speak to my factory tonight. My spring line is coming in a few weeks.

It is important to have balance, but, oh my God.

Melinda Wittstock:         How are you about self-care? This comes up a lot, right? Making time, or even scheduling time for yourself. Do you do that?

Lauren Raja:                       I struggle with that. I go in spurts, if you will, I'll make a plan and I'll stick with it. I take care of myself, and everything is good. Then, something big comes up and it's like “Okay, business only. Everything else to the side.” Like, for example, when that article came up and things got a little crazy. There was nothing in my refrigerator. [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:20:12"] was getting like two-minute walks up the street and back, normally we do two miles a day, at least.

Things were going on the backburner. But it's bad because I was out of balance, my dog has never snapped at anyone, he snapped at me. I don't think he has [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:20:33"]. But, he was even … the key was feeding off of me. My general mood wasn't great. I wasn't eating properly. I was running to fast food, or something quick, convenient store, instead of cooking something healthy.

It really is important to take time because all you're doing, or all I'm doing really is setting myself up for failure in the end, instead of taking that hour a day to exercise and to eat right.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, my goodness, you know, I hear you talk, and you're sort of describing my younger self, because I just thought, you know, I was like an Energizer bunny. I would just try and do everything, I really didn't know my limits. Typical entrepreneur. I really tested them. I just thought I could do more than I could do, and I did, it was crazy, but it's not sustainable.

Lauren Raja:                       It's not.

Melinda Wittstock:         If I could go back and tell my 25-year-old self, 30, 35, 40, “You know, we're getting up there beyond 40. Anyway. If I could tell my younger self something, it would have definitely been, like have been “Look after yourself, really prioritize do only the things that only you can do.” If there's anything else that come in, even if it's cleaning the house, hire somebody to clean the house, because what's the value of you working on, say, your new boys' and men's line to your business and having a great idea, maybe you're out walking the dog, or you're doing yoga, or you're meditating, or you're, I don't know, in the spa.

What's your hourly rate for doing that? It could be thousands of dollars per hour what the value of that is. [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:22:28"] to hiring someone to clean your house or do your laundry for $15 or $20.

Lauren Raja:                       I never thought, I never even thought about that. I'm like you just said, your younger self, I try to do everything. I'm like “I don't need help with that, I don't need help with that, I can clean, can do.” You can't. You're absolutely right, I need to … that's something I need to work on. Things like knowing your value.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, just like understanding our own value, because I think it's something that women uniquely struggle with. Because we're so relationship focused, and because our brains are wired to be able to do a lot of things, and to be able to multitask, just because we can, doesn't mean we should. Now, at this point, everything is like, I put self-care things in my calendar. If I find myself blowing through them more than three times in a row, that's a sign that like “Okay, you just earned yourself a day of no work. You're just going to have to suffer not working for a day.” Oh, my God, right?

Lauren Raja:                       I'm getting better. I'll tell you what I did today, I had an issue arise first thing this morning. After I finished my stuff around, [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:23:52"] it was around [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]. I said to Finn, my dog “Let's go.” I've learned to step back whenever I'm stressed out, I've learned to step back and just take a walk.

I live in a beautiful river town, I walked down to the river, and I just look at, I just sit there and watched the ducks in the water, and just cleared my head. Just that 10 minutes of walking down to the water, half hour total, does just so much of a difference to my mood when I come back. I'm starting to learn those kind of things.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, it's so important. I've started to do that too, just with meditation. When I started meditation, I was terrible at it. I had to learn it by combining with activity, like yoga, specifically, because it was the only like I couldn't even sit … I was so hugely energetic, I couldn't even sit still. It was impossible for me. But now, if I miss meditation, I find my whole day cascades into a whole bunch of … I don't know, it doesn't hang together quite in the same way, or I'm more likely to have little issues that build up.

Lauren Raja:                       Always. That's … I love that you just said that, because I feel like, as women, we're always you know “I'm going to get this, this, this, this and this done, and then I'll be good, then I'll start exercising, or then I'll start the big project.” What we fail to realize is there's always going to be that long list. It's everything needs to be in moderation.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, there's never a destination. Ping Fu, who invented 3D printing. She said “Here's the problem with this destination thinking. Say you're climbing up to the top of the mountain, and you perceive that at the top of the mountain, you're going to be really happy, like that's your happy destination. Problem is, okay, so you get to the top of the mountain, at the top of the mountain there's only one view. You're bored there. You've got to come back down again, so you're able to go up the next mountain.”

In other words, this lifetime, whether you're an entrepreneur or not, I think you're entrepreneur just the peaks and valleys are just more accentuated. But life is very much like … it's like deriving happiness from the journey, I guess, not the destination.

Lauren Raja:                       Absolutely. I think about that. The biggest example I have to give is when we were about to leave for the airport, my husband and I, I looked at him, and he had gotten this wonderful job, almost triple the salary, it was just unbelievable, we paid off some debt, we're finally able to buy a house, have kids, I got a great job up here in a great school district. I remember leaving with him, and we felt so good.

Then, he dies. It's just like … I remember, this is so weird, but I remember the DirecTV guy, when I canceled, because he used to watch the NFL Sunday Ticket. I canceled it after he died, and he said “Life sure has a way of keeping you in check.” It's really true. That kind of ties into the destination thing, where we should've, and I always say this, we should have spent, we spend so much time working.

I remember on the weekends … Justin was better than I was. I was the type that would be like “No I can't, I have to clean, I have to do this, I have laundry, I want to go food shopping, there's things I need to do.”

We declined a lot of fun things, and moments together because of things we had to do, that could've waited.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, my goodness, you just reminded me of one of guests a few episodes back. A wonderful Canadian woman named Sue Jacques, and she started her career as a forensic death investigator. She often, before she became an entrepreneur, she often would be having conversations with people who would say “Oh, we were just about to, we were just about to, we were just about to do this.” She was talking about to avoid those kind of regrets, she said “Organize your life so you have pregrets.” I mean, you really kind of figure out what would it be, what do you really, really want to do, and do it, find a way to do it, that's one of the beauties, I think, of entrepreneurship.

If you organize it right, you have that flexibility to … yeah, just like be in the moment. Because you never know. Oh, my goodness, as you so painfully know. What's going to happen? What you're going to-

Lauren Raja:                       I mean, it's nice to have an outline, and a goal, or an intention, I like to call it an intention now, instead of a plan, because plan I feel like it has to go exactly the way you want it, and nothing-

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah.

Lauren Raja:                       I like [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:29:41"] intention.

Melinda Wittstock:         I like that too. I've switched that way as well, because a plan is sort of this ego thing that you think that you can constrain, like you end up constraining the world, or you think you can control the world, so you end up in battle with everybody. But if it's an intention, it's just kind of like “Oh, you know.” You're not sort of telling the universe, or anybody how it's going to happen, just that it is.

Lauren Raja:                       Right, or when it's going to happen.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, because you don't know.

Lauren Raja:                       Yeah, that's how I kind of look at things, because you do need some type of outline and direction, but I was too controlling back then, and now I just kind of … I have intentions, but if things don't go as planned, go to plan B.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah.

Lauren Raja:                       Figure it out [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:30:29"] go along.

Melinda Wittstock:         That's so true. What are some of the biggest lessons that you're learned in a business sense that you would pass on to, say, a woman coming up behind you, doing something similar.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]I think the reason why I had the courage to do what I did was because I lost the best guy I had ever met. He was the best husband, and so supportive. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @justinjeanpjs[/tweet_box]

Lauren Raja:                       The top thing I would say is just do it. I know that sounds funny, it kind of ties into what we were just talking about too. I feel like we're always like “We have to do this, this and this first. I don't have time for that, or I'm not smart enough to do that. I don't know how to start a business. I don't know how to do fashion sketches. I don't know how to sew.” It's constant negative self-thought to the point where you never do anything. You cripple yourself.

I think the reason why I had the courage to do what I did was because I lost the best guy I had ever met. He was the best husband, and so supportive. I thought “You know what? I've played by the rules my whole life, even as a kid.” My mom still says “I wise you would've gotten into trouble more.” Like I just always did the right thing.

I always worked hard, I always, you know, from 15 on … I always had that destination mentality, but, you know what, after losing Justin, I'm like “What's the point?” I was a good girls, I did everything, I went to school, some family members wanted me to be a teacher, so I follow that, and I loved kids and everything, it worked out, I love teaching, but I really wanted to go to design school, which is funny how I ended up here.

But, I just thought “You know what? Why not just go for it? I don't care.” I remembered an old co-worker saying to me “I don't know how you had the gust to start all this.” I said to her [“Cindy [spp-timestamp time="00:32:43"], I don't know either, but I can tell you, it's because I don't care anymore.” I remember she didn't respond to that. I think she took it the wrong way.

I didn't care at the time. I didn't care if I died the following week. I'm going to be honest, I really didn't. In a way, I feel like I wish everybody thought that way, because I let go of every single fear that I'd ever hold onto. By not caring, I didn't care what people thought, I didn't care about the investment, money-wise, I didn't play by my rules that I thought were non-negotiable. I just did whatever I wanted to do for the first time in my life.

I secluded myself, I'd say, for a good six months. If you could've seen me, you wouldn't believe it. I did research, I taught myself pattern grading, I just read about how to market, how to create your own website, you name it, I researched, and that's all I did. I didn't go out. It was almost like my rebirth. Like everybody was worried about me, but really I was home working hard.

I guess, my number one suggestion would be to just go for it, and do not … there were so many people that were like “What is she doing? She needs to go back to teaching, this is ridiculous.” [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:34:22"] I don't know, but it upset me, but it didn't stop me, because I didn't care. That may sound weird to some people, but I didn't care about much. All I cared about was honoring them and doing something I loved, because we're not guaranteed tomorrow.

Melinda Wittstock:         So profound.

Lauren Raja:                       Yeah. Justin's death just made me realize that. He was 33, he brought nothing but happiness to everybody, he was a doll, everybody just adored him. If God's going to take him like that, and I know so people say there's a reason, I go back and forth with that, but if he can leave this the way he did, anything is possible. I took a chance. It's not easy, as you know, it's a challenge, and I'm learning. I'm learning as I go along, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I said to my best friend “[inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:35:34"] could you imagine if I went back to teaching and I just never did this?”

Melinda Wittstock:         It would be like closing down. What's so interesting about when you talked about not caring anymore, it's what a lot of people might say, it's like letting go, or dis-attaching from outcome, which is a very, very powerful way to set intentions. Where you literally, like, this is what, what … you know, you're imagining what you want [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:36:06"] already, but then just not attaching yourself to the outcome. It's a very, very powerful way to be able to manifest exactly what it is you want.

I don't know if you've read this book, but The Untethered Soul is a beautiful book about exactly this concept of letting go, and the gentleman who wrote that book. Also, a companion book, where he calls The Surrender Experiment arrived at the same place as you, secluding himself trying to quiet the inner mental voice. We have that inner voice that spins around in our head, you know, that sort of self-critic.

He just decided that he was going to silence that, so he went through pretty radical seclusion, like in a forest for years. But really, ultimately, it's interesting, because it was ultimately to arrive in that same place that you did where you are like “I'm just going to do it, I am going to let go.” And you said it yourself, let go of all the fear, because you're living your own life, not someone else's. You're not doing all the should’s, all the stuff that you think you're supposed to do that you've been sort of like programmed to do, you know, educated to do, acculturated to do, whatever, but you just being, because you don't care.

There's such a power to that, and I think a lot of the greatest entrepreneurs find a way to get into that zone. Like, however they get there, whether it's through tragedy, or through rigid meditation, or whatever, so I think that's incredibly powerful advice. Easier said than done. People struggle with it, but it's so, so important, and so profound.

Lauren Raja:                       Yeah. It's like I became … like I play. I always say play, and I did, I was playing. I was doing stuff I love like sewing, and just coming up with ideas, and I'm like “I love this. I wonder if I could actually make this a job.”

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, you have. Along the way, you'll be creating jobs for a lot of other people. Lauren, what's the big vision? Where do you think you'll be five years from now, or 10 years from now?

Lauren Raja:                       Oh, my goodness. I would obviously love to grow this business. My main goal is, I want to be able to help. Like, I haven't really turned a profit yet, but I have given … well, through the sales, so my customers have given close to $10,000 to my charities that I support through the sales.

Just that alone is fulfilling enough for me. I honestly, I just want to be able to live comfortably, and to some day be able to pay myself, and just be able to pay my bills. I want to help people through these pajamas. I want to get my message out there. That's really it. I want to keep it simple.

I want to keep it simple. I want to keep my message simple. I just want to give a quality product. That's it. I don't really have … I don't need to be huge. But, I think if I stay authentic to what I want, things will come. Good [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:39:44"].

Melinda Wittstock:         I absolutely believe that's true. How can people rock the ruffles, and buy your products?

Lauren Raja:                       There's currently two ways you can purchase my pajamas. One way is on Amazon Prime, you just would have to search Justin Jean Pajamas. Another way is on my actual website, which has all the styles. Amazon Prime only has a few. My website is JustinJeanPJs.com.

Melinda Wittstock:         That's so wonderful. I encourage everybody. They're really beautiful, and comfy. I know that you have a special offer too for our listeners today, and I am so grateful to you for that. Can you tell us how people can put in their WINGS coupon?

Lauren Raja:                       Sure. Write it at the cart page, the check out page, there's a spot to enter a promo code. I did create a code, and I'm looking it up now, because-

Melinda Wittstock:         You know what? I can always put it in the show notes. We'll make sure that we have that on there for everybody.

What I want to do, though, is I want to return the favor, and have all of our listeners who do get their Justin Jean's to rock the ruffles on social media, with the hashtag #wingspodcast. We'll all collectively market for you, okay?

Lauren Raja:                       That would be wonderful. Thank you so much.

Melinda Wittstock:         I think that would be great. My daughter and I will post on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, all over the place, linkedin even too, and let's everybody help you out.

Lauren Raja:                       Thank you so much.

Melinda Wittstock:         It was delight to talk to you as always, Lauren. You're very inspiring. I'm blown away by what you've been through, and the courage that you have shown, all the big things ahead for you in your future.

Lauren Raja:                       Thank you.

Melinda Wittstock:         Thank you so much for putting your wings on and flying with us today.

Lauren Raja:                       My pleasure.

 

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