About Brianna Kilcullen & ANACT:
Brianna Kilcullen worked in the clothing industry for big brands, and she was disappointed in what she saw.
So she built her own eCommerce company selling hemp towels. It turns out that towels have historically been a pretty wasteful product, so she created an eco-friendly alternative. She did 100k in sales in her first year (closing in on 400k in sales a couple of years later), and she got big press coverage from outlets like Good Morning America and more.
Started in 2018, her carbon-neutral company ANACT has already saved 6 million days worth of drinking water with more sustainable practices. Her story is that sweet spot of personal satisfaction and changing the world, so I just know you’ll love our chat.
Full Unedited Audio Conversation:
Brianna Kilcullen & ANACT links:
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3:18 – “My whole life, I was raised by my parents [who are] first generation immigrants. So they want safety and security. They want me to be in a job, which for them is corporate.”
5:12 – “I started interviewing with these high-profile startups that I was interested in. And I just started noticing… OK, they’re not actually doing what I feel like needs to be done as it relates to sustainability in the textile industry.”
6:51 – “I’m super impacted by my industry. I am fed up with all of the ways in which it’s environmentally and socially impacting people and the planet. I don’t see anyone doing this work, and it needs to be done.”
11:59 – “I think we’re moving into this… space of more experiences and time and connection as opposed to just consumption.”
19:37 – “I’m just a big fan of… Is this actually resonating outside of my ego? Do other people like this? Do they want more of it? Is this hitting their needs?
21:01 – “We did 100K our first year, we did a little over 150K this year. So yeah, we’re a little under the 300 K mark, which is exciting.”
23:27 – “I think the future of e-commerce is… you just have to be multichannel. And in our mindset, we’re like, we need to make ourselves as accessible as possible for people to find us. And as long as we don’t change the integrity of our product, then we are missing so many sales and so many opportunities to share our product by being anti-certain places.”
25:03 – “The best things that ever happened to us have been completely free through Google. ABC found us on Google on and reached out, and that’s how we secured the Good Morning America gig.”
29:32 – “[Hemp] is legal. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of customer-facing education materials that are being circulated to the general public. So it’s mostly like brands and companies that have to do their own marketing and education in order to kind of push the American society forward on that.”
30:36 – “People need to go to the Bible Belt or go to places where there’s not people who are like you, let me know how it goes with implementing the things you want to implement. And I think for me, that has been a really hard component, but also [there are] the people you inspire because they’re like, ‘wait, this is here!?'”
31:41 – “And then we do these Act Up events here in Jacksonville, where we highlight social environmental change makers doing things in the community, and we bring to life their platform and bring the community to rally around them to learn and how we can support them.”
37:45 – “Social media adds to that so much, because nobody sees what happens behind the scenes. They’re just seeing this pretty picture. And I think we need to get our hands dirty, We need to start. Really embracing failure is not failing, it’s just not doing it. And if you embrace that, then you’ll take that first act, you’ll take that second act.”
38:33 – “That’s what I always have to tell myself: if it’s uncomfortable or if it feels like it’s… eh… you know, it’s usually right. It’s usually—I need to say it. I need to do it because the things that we’ve done in the past that were uncomfortable are now becoming more mainstream.”
47:48 – “It’s good to jump off the cliff. It’s good to see what you’re made out of. And I genuinely think entrepreneurship has done that. It has shown me everything I’m made out of and more. And it constantly tests me. How bad do you want it? How much are you willing to get back on another meeting after you just got four rejections from other investors to get that one investor?”
49:15 – I think [knowing your path] requires a level of consciousness and awareness that like we are just not taught, and I just I think meditation is such a huge component to opening that conversation.”