I had an opportunity to interview CEO of AktivStyle, Nate Axvig.
Nate and his wife started their apperal company after returing from vacation to Norway. They were impressed by the style and type of clothing in Norway and decided to bring that same style to their home town of Denver, Colorado.
In this featured article, Nate shares his thoughts on different styles of leadership, most common mistakes entreprenuers make and much more!
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How did you come up with the idea for your company? Can you share that story with us today?
Nate Axvig: We moved to Oslo, Norway for over a year and discovered two things.
First, Scandinavians dress like Coloradans. For example, most people are dressed for movement and in layers. Also, technical clothing is worn as everyday clothing.
Second, the brands that they wear were mostly new to us and exceptional. We were sitting in a coffeehouse watching person after person arrive in fantastic technical gear and the idea was hatched. Let’s bring this stuff to Denver.
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone you’d like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Nate Axvig: We are eight months into our brick and mortar shop. After running our online business for just under two years we were presented with an opportunity to take over a space that felt very much like the shops we loved in Norway. Even with the pandemic we felt like this was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
Was there somebody in your life that inspired you to take that specific journey with your business?
Nate Axvig: We have very good friends, Liz and Fernando Lara, who operate three small businesses. We shared our idea and they were incredibly encouraging to us and our idea.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Nate Axvig: Not fully committing to the concept. If the entrepreneur sees a market for a specific thing, do not succumb to the temptation to make it something for everyone…know your market and push towards it.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Nate Axvig: For our online business it has been a positive since site visits have been up as long as sales. We chose to pivot and take advantage of the soft real estate market and move into a brick and mortar during the pandemic. We found that while shoppers were wary of the disease they were looking for ways to shop in non traditional ways.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision or values?
Nate Axvig: Vision. Not only is it important for us to be focused on what we want to bring to market, we also have to be aware of how the world changes around us and be able to adapt to that.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Nate Axvig: I think one of my biggest strengths is reading situations. While it is important to plan for contingencies, I think it is more important to look at situations in real time and be able to take needed steps to answer the call of reality, not what we would like the situation to be.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Nate Axvig: Very much so.
Part of that is how small we are but also that our brand speaks to a particular mindset. The reality is that in the current hyper-partisan climate, politics is read into every part of a brand, so we have embraced what we see as important, whether that is sustainability and the realization of the horrors of climate change, equality and the importance of movements like Black Lives Matter or the importance of science.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Nate Axvig: I think you can learn about it along the way. A big part of that is maturation. I would have never taken the chances we have with Aktiv in my 20s. Part of that is access to capital but a bigger part is understanding the ways the world works (and doesn’t).
Esther Pinky Kiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Nate for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
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