Becoming a Founder By Following Your Passion

Jeriel Sydney is the Founder of FableRune, a botanically-based wellness brand offering various self-care amenities ranging from shampoos and conditioners, to candles, and skincare products. The company is based in Los Osos, California and celebrates its ten-year anniversary in 2024.

Jeriel’s story

Jeriel has always been on the trajectory of being in service to people. Following that, she had chosen to study nursing. However, her path of caring for others unfolded in a different way to what she had imagined. 

“Waiting to get into the nursing program, I went to San Francisco State and studied Women and Gender Studies. I feel like that was the turning point, when I realized there was a bigger epidemic happening: to women. That needed to be addressed. I moved from nurture and nursing to being more of an advocate and having this justice-focused purpose. So that was the starting point where this little flower started to seed inside of me.

Our environment and the people we surround ourselves with can shape our vision of the future, our ideas of what’s possible, and our perception of success. Moving from a small mountain town in California to the big city of San Francisco, Jeriel experienced this first hand. When her surroundings changed, so did the way she saw the world and herself in it. Her eyes opened to possibilities she never thought reachable before.

“Growing up in a small town where the resources and jobs were limited, a nurse felt like a really safe and good choice. I love taking care of people and working with them on their healing journeys. So nursing felt an alignment. 

“After I graduated, I went to Italy and learned how to make soap. From there, I started making candles. I was doing this almost Renaissance work where you’re making really primitive things. But this grew into a passion for making a really sophisticated skincare line.

“Returning to San Francisco and being surrounded by so many innovators, with big ideas that were really accessible, helped me to start dreaming big and playing with the idea that I could open a soap company. I thought about what I wanted to be without the limitations I was used to having. I saw people doing the craziest things, like making custom whistles for billionaires, and being absolutely successful. So my idea didn’t seem so crazy.

“Once I opened up my consciousness to this opportunity, these visions of what I could be, I realized that maybe nursing wouldn’t have made me the most effective or the happiest person.”

Jeriel surrendered to this and let her intuition drive her forward. She didn’t have a complete picture of what her company could be. But following a passion of hers, going with the flow, trusting the process, and being patient with it in difficult times, proved rewarding.

“Even when I was exploring these ideas of what I could be, owning the business I own now would have never popped into my imagination. Fable grew so organically once I started to learn what I was doing.

“There was a long ten-year education that I had to take myself on. It wasn’t the linear trajectory it is for other occupations, where you go to school, you get your degrees, and you start. This has been a ride of learning new things, getting in touch with the right people, and expanding whenever I could. I never thought I could have a business where I had employees, where we were shipping across the country, where we’re having meetings with Whole Foods executives…”

Jeriel’s story is an example of overcoming common hurdles in many aspiring Founders’ journeys. Some people grow up in a family of entrepreneurs, so for them, owning their own business is very natural and achievable. But changing one’s environment can have a real impact too. Follow the Founder is a great place to get into a new environment and surround yourself with others who have been there, have done what could seem unachievable for many or who are also starting out. A place where you can get inspired by success, share success, and see different perspectives on it. Jeriel shares with us her journey to defining what success is for her. 

“I think our ideas about success change as we get older. When I was young, I saw being a nurse as the ultimate idea of success because there was so much consistency and safety in employment. My idea of success now isn’t that paycheck every two weeks, paid time off, and health insurance. My idea of success is flexibility, a family, the capacity to earn more at any given opportunity. It changed so much when I took my mind out of that small box. I thought ‘Whoa, there’s so much more opportunity out there’. That is what success looks like to me now.”

If we start going down a path that seems sensible, familiar, but doesn’t necessarily feel right, being brave to go out of our comfort zone and change things around us allows us to gain more perspective and opportunity which could be a gateway to creating an incredible life we love, that fills us with joy. Because our career has that impact. We do it daily. It is a big part of who we are.

When we change, so does our vision and desires. We asked Jeriel how her mindset shift affected Fable.

“When you own a business, there is a pendulum going between you having no vision, feeling lost and confused, and then having this huge vision that seems unattainable. One of my biggest goals when I started was to get Fable into Whole Foods. And I rode this pendulum with it. We got into Whole Foods and I thought, ‘This is my moment of success’

“However, this year, together with Bobbie, my business partner and co-owner of Fable, we reevaluated what we were doing and decided that maybe that wasn’t the best venue for us. Our brand didn’t fit in with Whole Foods anymore, so we pulled our products from there. Then the vision became bigger and crazier.” 

It is normal for business’ goals to shift. So it’s essential we celebrate our wins along the way and are okay when things change, our company evolves, and the latest iteration no longer matches what we initially thought the business would look like. For some, like Jeriel, goals evolve but it takes time to see how. For some of us, the courage to dream big does not come automatically, and that’s okay.

“I’ve had to teach my brain to think big. Again, it was because I came from a small town and had those smaller mentalities. I’ve had to teach myself to dream big and truly recognize that you can do that. But I do it almost like a weight loss journey where it’s just two pounds at a time, little dreams at a time. So now, I look at this bigger picture and start to think about wild things such as doing something with Netflix or Sephora. When you start to think bigger, it becomes more accessible.

“If I had picked that big dream right out of the gate, I would have been discouraged along the way. Regardless, there were so many times I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. That it wasn’t the right path. That my family needs me to get a real job, a normal job, or whatever that looks like at that time. So I think the step-by-step dreaming kind of kept me on the path. But if your mind has the capacity to think that big, you should do it. It just wasn’t authentic to me when I started.”

Having started with the idea to make soaps, Jeriel’s evolving dreams got her to a place where Fable offers much more than that. At the moment, they have two main lines: an apothecary line created for high-end boutique hotels offering all types of amenities (soaps, shampoos, conditioners, candles), and a unique fit-for-all clean skincare line that Fable launched two and a half years ago. So don’t be afraid to dream big. There is nothing unachievable.

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