Back in 2013, when Prince George was photographed leaving the hospital in the arms of his mum, the Duchess of Cambridge, the world gasped over the cuteness. And when the Duke of Cambridge carried him to the car swaddled in a bird-print wrap by US-based company Aden + Anais, the world went crazy over the cotton muslin baby blanket - and sales went through the roof.
Founder Raegan Moya-Jones, who started the baby blanket company Aden + Anais in 2006, watched her business make more than $100 million in annual revenue after Prince George wore it. But Raegan's role as leader and co-founder took a dramatic turn when she got fired from her own company.
“I got fired from my own business which was pretty heartbreaking," she told Guy Raz in the podcast How I Built This With Guy Raz. "The investors just didn’t see eye to eye and they didn’t think I was capable to run the business."
In the podcast, which aired this week, Raegan fills the host in on what happened over the past year, and she also speaks about the moment she saw the future heir in her wares. "It blew my mind," she said. "Having been raised in Australia, I would have bet every penny I had on that would never happen because there’s royal protocol and no royal baby has ever come out in anything other than a white wool blanket that has been totally appointed to the family, y’know, and low-and-behold they walk out in Aden + Anais and the world goes wild."
When asked if sales went crazy, she said. "Oh yes, the typical reaction... The royal effect... our website crashed twice, we sold out in that around the world, people were covering it to the extent of paying three times the value ... it was insane. I was like, ‘Guys, we’ve got other patterns over here!’ But they all just wanted what the royal baby had."
She continued: "Interestingly, [George's muslin blanket] was from a pack called Jungle Jam which was the third pack I’d ever released. So that particular design had been on the market for eight years when the royal baby came out in it."
After turning it into a $100m company - of course, with the help of Prince George - her whole life took a dramatic turn when she was fired from the company she created. She describes selling her controlling interest in the business as the "single worst decision of my life." But Raegen wants to share her story: "If I can help one other entrepreneur avoid, quite frankly, the hell that I went through after being fired from the company I had lived and breathed for over a decade, then I'm happy to do it. I think there's a lot of shame over being fired, and I'm acutely aware that most people hearing this will go, 'Well, she clearly screwed up and that's why she got fired' but I'm prepared to have people think I messed up in the better interest of getting the story out there that this is actually what can happen - and what often does happen - when you sell the controlling interest of your business to a private equity firm."
Nowadays, she's close to coming out of the other side, telling Guy: "It took me a good year to get over it, it's safe to say I'm back in the room now. But it's safe to say I fell into a pretty big hole for about a year. I would say I was depressed. I put on nearly 30lbs, I drank way too much wine, I was eating and drinking to cope. I was confused about what my next steps would be but other than that, I was thinking 'what's next?'.
She has even started a new company - a premium moonshine company called Saint Luna Spirits - a charcoal-infused moonshine spirit. "It's been fun… I'm back hustling," she said.
Here's to a bright (moon) shine future for Raegan Moya-Jones.
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