Jen Gotch

Ban.do — that quirky stationery and accessories brand that’s all about fun — was never meant to be a media company. Still, founder and chief creative officer Jen Gotch has managed to take a natural leap into the space with a new, weekly podcast due out next week on Sophia Amoruso’s Girlboss Radio.

“Ban.do’s not really a media company so [Amoruso] just caught me at the right time and I felt like the partnership made sense, just knowing the way that she operates,” Gotch said.

The entrepreneur said she’ll tackle mental health on her show, “Jen Gotch Is OK…Sometimes,” through her own personal experiences. It’s a topic she said she never really set out to be an advocate for, but now considers herself one.

“I didn’t want to do anything that felt really serious and clinical,” Gotch said. “I’m not a doctor. [The content is] definitely closer to my Instagram Stories than it would be to a traditional interview-a-doctor podcast. It’s more me talking about my life through the lens of mental health but also as a creative entrepreneur and someone who has seen some level of success while still dealing with some of this other stuff. The idea being to make it not too didactic. I want it to be more like you’re listening to your friend talk and my hope is that [listeners] walk away with emotional intelligence, build their self-awareness and more than anything know that they’re not alone in their experience.”

Gotch’s podcast is another notch for Girlboss Radio, which in April said it was partnering with Sephora Collection for the #LipStories six-part podcast.

Gotch and Amoruso had been in touch for some time and have a similar circle of friends but never had the time to actually meet for lunch. In the fall the two finally managed to nab some time together while Gotch made an appearance on Amoruso’s podcast. That later spurred the two to team on Gotch’s own show, something that had interested her for some time. In fact, the microphone she’s using to now record her podcasts was something she purchased three years prior.

While the Girlboss audience (672,000 Instagram followers, with 24,000 on the Girlboss Radio-dedicated feed) and Ban.do (577,000 followers) following have overlapping spheres, each could also bring new groups of people to the other, Gotch pointed out. The entrepreneur herself has a following on her personal Instagram of 203,000.

In some ways, the origins story for both Gotch and Amoruso share similarities. Gotch has grown her own brand via social media with her personal transparency, which is not unlike the story of Amoruso, who grew Nasty Gal, a brand that was in many ways linked with Amoruso’s own personal ethos. Their candidness with followers has earned them and their respective businesses supporters.

“I’m a hardcore people pleaser and so much of what we built Ban.do on and how we marketed it was how can I get people to feel engaged, to like us, to like me and so that’s always been our touchstone for us,” Gotch said. “We never really ran a consumer product-based business in a traditional way where it was about how do we get them to buy and that has really served Ban.do. I do think that’s what larger companies are struggling with because most of them are not founder run and if they are, the founder is a business person that is not really accessible [to followers].”

As whether the podcast would be the push that parlays Ban.do into a content generator, it doesn’t seem likely, with Gotch and team focused on many other aspects of building out the business.

“We’ve talked about being a media company for years and years and years because so many of us are passionate about content creation,” Gotch said. “I’m not 100 percent sure the world needs another media company. I feel like what we want to dig into, especially as a goal for us next year, is more in-real-life experiences. We’ve done more to open our doors to the public over the last year and it’s such an amazing feeling to have that one-on-one with our customer and our audience.”

The podcast “Jen Gotch Is OK…Sometimes” is set to run Tuesdays, beginning May 29.

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