By All Means

By All Means

Innovation. Drive. Purpose. Conversations with the enterprising entrepreneurs and leaders behind beloved and up and coming brands.

Episodes

May 18, 2022 56 min
Spencer Johnson sketched his initial designs for Sota Clothing as part of a class project while pursuing a graphic design degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth. His clean, modern designs and signature crossed paddles caught fire, and within a few years of graduating, Sota Clothing hit $1 million in sales. Sota became a fixture at popup shopping events and the Minnesota State Fair; the apparel brand started wholesaling to mor...
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The secondhand clothing market is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail, according to research by Global Data. Children’s clothing is the fastest growing category, which makes sense considering the typical baby churns through seven sizes in the first two years of life. Kidizen, an online resale marketplace for kids clothes, makes selling those outgrown onesies as easy as taking a smartphone photo and posting it to the sit...
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Chemist and professor Paul Boswell couldn’t get over how little his students knew about how computers work. He started building a three-dimensional model to teach programming and realized he could turn it into a game. Named for Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science, Turing Tumble is basically a marble run that teaches people how to build computers—something no other game was doing at the time. Teachers and science nerd...
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March 30, 2022 66 min
While building a career in financial services by working with large banks and investment firms, Dionne Gumbs grew increasingly bothered by the inequities in access to capital. She left the corporate world to pursue a big idea: remove the obstacles that prevent women and people of color from accessing the financial tools they need to succeed. In 2018, she launched GenEQTY, a fintech platform that provides small business owners with ...
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March 16, 2022 71 min
The gig economy wasn’t a thing in 2002 when Amy Langer and John Folkestad launched Salo LLC, a Minneapolis-based professional services firm that got its start placing senior level finance experts on project work, and soon expanded to HR, consulting, and more. Today, Salo is a national firm with more than 900 employees. The company recently hit a major milestone: $100 million in annual revenue. Langer and Folkestad are still 50-50 o...
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Robbie Harrell started an ice company before he owned a freezer or knew anything about carving. Today, Minnesota Ice is the nation’s largest producer of sculpture-grade block ice and artisan cocktail ice, manufacturing and delivering up to 50 tons of ice per day. That’s after a pandemic setback that might have put the company out of business if not for Harrell’s doggedness. “Give me two weeks,” he told his team when Covid-19 shut...
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The founder of 2 Gingers whiskey is at it again with a new Irish whiskey called Red Locks. Serial entrepreneur Kieran Folliard shares the process of launching new businesses, and why he’ll never retire. “I don’t play golf, I wouldn’t be any good on a beach," Folliard says. "I get to do something I’m passionate about, excited about.” He grew up in rural Ireland. He liked sports and drama. He describes himself as a daydre...
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February 2, 2022 62 min
Sally Mueller got inspired to become an entrepreneur as she entered menopause. A seasoned executive who launched dozens of successful lifestyle brands, product lines, and designer partnerships for big companies including Target and Clique Brands, she was shocked to find that beauty and wellness companies weren’t addressing symptoms of menopause in a modern way and set out to fill that void with Womaness. Launched as an omnichannel ...
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January 19, 2022 69 min
Emmy Award winning TV host Ian Grant is an entrepreneur driven by passion. He loves travel. He appreciates art. He is a gifted storyteller. And he’s found a way to turn those interests into his life’s work, culminating with his new PBS television series Culture Quest, in which he takes viewers around the world to experience different cultures through the lens of artists. Getting there has taken creativity, hard work and lots of r...
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Around 60 million American children play an organized sport, according to the National Council of Youth Sports. If you’re the parent or coach of one of them, you likely rely on a smartphone app called SportsEngine to stay organized and on schedule. SportsEngine is the leading provider of enterprise software and mobile apps used by youth sports teams nationwide. The Minneapolis-based company is owned by NBC Sports. But it was founde...
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Du Nord Craft Spirits is known in the industry as the nation’s first Black-owned micro distillery. It’s a distinction founder Chris Montana would like to shed. “I’m sick of being the ‘Black’ distiller,” Montana says. “I want it to be irrelevant, but the only way to do that is to get more people into the industry.” A year after the Minneapolis distiller nearly burned to the ground when protests turned violent following the murder ...
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December 1, 2021 62 min
Angie Tebbe is on a mission to make vitamins cool. “I believe that if you’re going to start something from scratch, dream big,” says Tebbe, who left the Target merchant job she thought she’d retire from on a gut instinct that she should be doing something tied to wellness. Within 8 weeks of quitting, she hatched the idea for Rae Wellness, a brand of natural supplements that address big issues including stress, sex, skin, sleep,...
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“Is there a better way to find safer and more effective medicine?” That’s the question Ping Yeh pondered as he fought his way back from the brink of death in 2012. Having survived a chemotherapy cocktail so intense that doctors worried it could destroy his heart, he found himself wondering: with all the technology available, why do we still use the patient as the guinea pig? Pursuing an answer led to the 2014 formation of Stemoni...
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September 8, 2021 59 min
The pandemic called into question everything that made coworking desirable: shared work areas, in-person networking. But industry pioneer Don Ball has seen work culture trends cycle more than once before. And indeed, demand for flexible workspaces is already swinging back. “Hybrid work opens an opportunity for coworking—it’s a professional office that’s not your home, and not your [company] HQ. If you have one close to where you ...
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August 18, 2021 55 min
In March of 2020, as the U.S. shut down offices and clinics to guard against Covid-19, the telehealth platform Zipnosis saw an unbelievable spike in traffic, from around 1,800 visits a week to 65,000. Founder Jon Pearce had been preaching for more than a decade that the smartphone was the medical clinic of the future, but it took a global pandemic for the industry to make significant change. In April of 2021, Zipnosis sold to ano...
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“When you bring someone to tears by describing what you do, that seems viable.” Michael Mader and Sam Harper started their sock business, Hippy Feet, with a mission: to support young people experiencing homelessness. Inspired by brands like TOMS and Love Your Melon, they launched in 2016 with a one-for-one model, a pair of socks donated to someone in need for every pair sold. But the business, a certified B-corp, really began to ...
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Serial entrepreneur Houston White’s business endeavors include barber shop, apparel collection that has been featured by Target and JCPenney, a coffee cafe and product brand, and housing development. But he’s building something bigger than all of that combined. He’s building community. “Culture plus capacity,” was White’s pitch to U.S. Bank, which invested in his vision. “It’s my belief that in Black communities, the smallest inst...
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July 7, 2021 70 min
Manolo Blahnik. Jimmy Choo. Christian Louboutin. Marion Parke. It takes moxie, clear vision, and a major investment to launch a luxury footwear brand with no experience in the field. But Marion Parke has something those other designers don’t: a medical degree. As a podiatric surgeon, Parke, who counts First Lady Jill Biden as a fan of her collection, spent a lot of time thinking about shoes. “Every patient consultation led to talki...
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June 23, 2021 72 min
Before the boutique fitness craze that landed spinning studios and bootcamp gyms on every corner, there was Steele Fitness, a team of personal trainers who would show up at your home in a BMW and provide one-on-one fitness training. Behind the VIP service was an ambitious entrepreneur named Steele Smiley, whose first exercise in creating a brand was remaking himself into the businessman he wanted to be. “In 2000, I said: I need t...
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Seena Hodges is that person everyone calls when they want to learn about racism and equity building. When they want to get woke. “I always love having the conversation, helping people unpack the things they don’t see, I just don’t want to do it for free.” Hodges parlayed her background in nonprofit, social justice, marketing and theater work into The Woke Coach, a Minneapolis-based agency that offers programs for businesses and i...
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