This Father Invested $30,000 Into His Daughter's Dream of Starting a Business
National Daugther Day was originated from India and is a day to celebrate the joy a daughter brings to her parents' lives. In particular, the bond between a father and daughter as they experience life together. What better way to highlight the special nature of the day than by showing how a father helps his daughter achieve her goals.
Father-daughter team Karmen and Brandon Faulcon are looking to revolutionize your shopping experience with iKon Mall, a new app that is slated to launch in October. The free, interactive app provides a 3D mall excursion that offers customers a new way to enjoy online shopping. With 600 stores and a virtual layout that replicates the traditional brick-and-mortar environment, app users are sure to enjoy the new e-commerce platform. It is also user-friendly and cost-effective for small business owners. Brandon Faulcon took the plunge and invested $30,000 to help bring Karmen's dream to life. In honor of National Daughter Day, Brandon shares what it's like to be business partners with his daughter and how he encouraged Karmen to follow her dreams in a chat with The Quintessential Gentleman.
Can you share a bit about the creative journey of iKon Mall and how it went from being a concept to a realized brand?
What makes iKon Mall so unique is that it wasn’t this huge idea from the beginning. The concept of iKon Mall was created during an annual father-daughter trip to Disney World. We both take the time to put all electronics down and just have simple conversations. I use it to see where her mind is and do a mental checkup to make sure there isn’t anything she wants to talk about.
I asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
She replied, “I want to own my own beauty salon, but I want it to be a beauty salon where businesses can sell their products out of, and customers can shop while waiting to get their hair done.”
As her father, I took that idea and tried to figure out how I could make this a profitable business that also could evolve into something more. I decided to take her idea and make it an app by creating a virtual shopping mall that customers could shop in before, during, and after their hair service, and also book appointments and initiate payments for services. Every day after that trip, when I woke up, when I was at work, and before I went to sleep, all I could think about was iKon Mall. Going from my daughter’s initial idea to a full concept today was honestly like building a house from scratch. You create a foundation, and every day you lay a brick until it looks like the home you dreamed of, and you move in.
How will iKon Mall revolutionize a customer's shopping experience?
iKon Mall was built with the simple thought of “giving our guest options”. We want our mall to fit the lifestyle of a person who barely has time to shop and only wants to click a few buttons and place an order. We also want it to fit the lifestyle of a person who has the time to explore all of the features on the app included in our virtual mall. The idea is to create an app that allows our guests to shop and book appointments all in one place. The average guest today uses approximately 5-10 apps to either shop, find a personal service, and/or keep track of things in their daily lives. iKon Mall wants to put that all in one app. To us, it’s about giving our guests their time back by creating a space that answers all of the questions they could ask during their retail or service experience.
What advice do you have for someone who might be considering starting their own business?
The most cliché statement that even I ignored until we started building iKon Mall, which is “believe in yourself”. When you are building something that only you can feel the joy of in the thought of what the end goal will look like, and the pain of going through the process of building a business, you are all you have to get you through.
This may sound strange, but I have found it to be true-“enjoy the pain”. We didn’t become entrepreneurs because we wanted life to be easy. We did it because we know that either we are going to have to fight hard for ourselves or someone else. Your team will be built upon by different ethnicities, age groups, and backgrounds, and they all look up to you to have the answers. I take pride in working with everyone in iKon Mall. I make it my obligation to make sure they feel important and understand that without them, the bricks that they are laying wouldn’t exist, and our house would fall.
As a parent, how do you instill an entrepreneurial spirit in your child and encourage them to pursue their dreams?
I use the advantages and disadvantages of everyday life to guide my daughter and help her learn lessons. Ever since my daughter was able to walk, I allowed her to make mistakes, teach her why it’s important to go back and clean it up and ask what lesson did she learn. I don’t force thoughts onto my daughter. Instead, I always ask her, “What do you think about this?", “What would you do differently if this was you?"
This allows me to see what her thought process is and what I need to do as a parent to put her in front of other things that challenge her mentally and emotionally. I give her the freedom to tell me her thoughts and remind her that nothing that she says is wrong because those are her thoughts. I give her the ability to try and fail.
Before iKon Mall was created she wanted to be a professional skater. We went to the closest skating-rink, and she fell a few times and looked at me and said, “Daddy, this isn’t fun.” At that moment, I knew she had a “try and fail” moment. All of these things help build character and can help kids learn early their strengths and weaknesses and what they would like to evolve in.
Aside from creating the app, what are some of the unique experiences that come along with being your daughter's business partner?
It honestly feels like we have a chance to bond together a lot more. Everything that we do is a conversation. I always ask her what she thinks about something we are getting ready to do or how it looks. The biggest part that I am always taken aback by is the amount of detail in her feedback. She really shares her deep thoughts and feelings with anything iKon Mall related, and I honestly feel like I am in a boardroom talking to her.
The most beautiful thing is to see how much she truly, genuinely cares about people. She tells me all the time that no matter what we do, we have to make sure people can afford it. Sometimes we take a trip to a local mall just to walk around, and she gets angry at all of the advertisements that only give you half of the information, and ask you to come in for the other half. It’s almost like watching a young child train to become a CEO in the future, starting at the age of 10.
How has your father and daughter dynamic been strengthened by such an extraordinary experience?
It just gives us the opportunity to grow together. This is new to both of us, and I have learned some personal weaknesses while standing in front of my daughter. She laughs sometimes but also tells me, “It's okay, keep trying, and you will get it.” Sometimes it becomes slightly emotional to have not only your daughter, and business partner, but someone who is cheering for you every day no matter if you are up or down.
She is camera shy right now, and not a big fan of speaking in front of people, but as I remind her, she isn’t alone and that I feel the same way. We both feed off the energy of each other. One thing I also try to make sure of is that she has fun with this process. This is work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Enjoy the feeling of ownership and the fact that you can tell everyone right now, “Let’s take a break, I am tired,” and walk away. It’s just a beautiful thing.
What advice do you have for fathers who have children that are interested in starting a business?
I would suggest sitting down and having a conversation with them and picking their brain. Have a moment where there are no electronics available, and it's a one on one session. Ask them questions about things that they like, what they want to be when they get older, or how would they execute whatever business they want to own. Our job as parents is to put our kids in the best position within our reach to win.
Once again, we built iKon Mall, making sure that we had options, and we're giving our guest options. That’s how I raise my daughter - “know your options”. As a parent, I always ask, “Am I putting my daughter in the best position to have options?"
Once you find out what they would like to build, explore options with them, and keep them involved. Make them feel like nothing moves without their work or input because this allows them to see what ownership is like, but also gives them something to look forward to. As parents, we can sometimes box our kids in because we force them to only think at the level of their age. I tell my daughter to open your mind and see as far in the future as possible and follow your path.
To learn more about iKon Mall, please visit the website.