Tag Archives: entrepreneur

The Coziest Way to Change Your Couch…and Your Life

Each season Lovesac puts out a new seasonal collection of fabrics, in the form of changeable covers for Sacs and Sactionals. I am, of course, very proud of each collection. From futuristic robots to mid-century suits, every line is inspired from design elements both current and classic. This year the collection is called, “Woodsy.” It is the best we’ve ever created.

Our best line yet.

Our best line yet.

So what?

Who cares?

Who’s watching?

Who even “gets” the idea that you can change not just your décor, but actually change your couch or sectional each season just by changing some covers? The Woodsy line even offers some REVERSIBLE Phur Covers, so you just need to flip your covers for a whole new couch!  But even if they do “get” it, who actually behaves this way?

Start with this...

Lovesac Sactionals with Carmel Chenille Covers

The exciting part is: someone does! The evidence of this is not only found in the obvious fact that Lovesac sells far more Sactionals Covers than it does Sactionals Pieces (and we sell a lot of pieces). I believe that people are really “getting it” more and more, as by the fact that they’re buying furry couches!

What other company even offers a furry couch? None. Lovesac sells thousands of furry couches. The reason, I believe, is pretty obvious: Because couches are a big investment and in most people’s minds, they need to last and last, and (hopefully) still be in-style even years later. With Sactionals, you are freed from this constraint. Get whatever covers you like—better, get the ones you LOVE—the ones that make you want to climb on, curl up, and take a nap.

Owoooooooo! (That's a wolf)

An entire room decked out in Wolf Phur.

This is a quiet, but meaningful revolution in furniture design and also consumer behavior. There will come a day where an unchangeable couch is just old news—in fact, an unchangeable couch will someday even seem a little gross.

While it is may be unlikely that most people will go to the trouble or expense to change their furniture with us each season, I can speak from experience and say that it is shocking how, with a new set of covers, it doesn’t just feel like a new couch again—it feels like a new life.

"Cozy" doesn't even fully describe it!

Woodsy Phur Blankets and Slippers

I do realize that I’m kind of biased—so if you haven’t seen Woodsy, check it out for yourself. You be the judge. Comment here and let me know what you think!

— Shawny
Founder, Lovesac & Life on a Couch

Get Off the Couch!

A Shawn Nelson entrepreneur & motivational speaking event; Long Beach Convention Center, October 2014. Congrats to Jason Knight of Fredericksburg, VA, for winning a brand new Lovesac Supersac upon joining the Lifeonacouch.org email list!

I got to spend this past weekend in Orange County, California—one of my favorite places on the planet (having lived in Huntington Beach, opening up Lovesac stores circa 2002). I’m flattered to have been invited there to deliver a speech to the NGLV (Next Generation Laser Focused Visionaries) a group of young entrepreneurs, some of who are already making six-figure incomes while still in their teens!

Speaking in Long Beach at the NGLV gathering.

Speaking in Long Beach at the NGLV gathering.

I call this speech, “Get Off the Couch.” This is because I believe that the big divide—the major difference between entrepreneurs and people who wish they had their own business is that entrepreneurs actually get off the couch, usually right then, and go make something happen. Entrepreneurs do this over and over again in business and in life. They’re always (actually) doing something—not just talking about it. I typically incorporate a whole slew of “Shawnisms” into the telling of “my Lovesac story” with the purpose of making the entrepreneurial journey real and actionable for everybody. I think that the Lovesac story really resonates with just about anyone because it is so simple. I am not a computer programmer or even industrial engineer. I just thought it would be funny to make a really big beanbag, and I did it. Anyone can do that.

I’ll spare you all of the Shawnisms that I preach and live by—you can find them in the book (someday). But I will offer up my two summary pieces of advice that, in my mind, are the key to success for any would-be entrepreneur in any field:

1. Read, Read Read (see my post from last week!)

2. Network!

I know that this advice perhaps seems vague and not specific enough. But every business, every industry, every person, every idea and every situation is so different that the actual strategies and tactics that worked for me are very unlikely to work for you.

Tiffany and I with Branson on Necker Island.

Tiffany and I with Branson on Necker Island.

But, there has been so much written on the subject (hence my “Read, read, read” advice from last week) and there are so many accomplished people in this world who have done “it” before, that I truly believe: if entrepreneurs would just do these two things, religiously, they will most likely find success—or at least avoid so many mistakes and so much heartache.

As for networking, a good friend of mine wrote the book on that one. Check out “Up Your Game,” by David Bradford. But put simply, I recommend that you find someone smart, everyday, to take to lunch and learn from. Through this process you will find yourself a mentor or two…and mentors will change your life. To be totally honest, I have always been very bad at the networking part of things. I am classically too self-reliant. I am too headstrong. Some might call me cocky. Because of this I have a hard time asking for help. I recognize this, and at this point I almost force myself to reach out, ask for lunches and seek out people who are smart and successful.

Branson!

Richard Branson and my ridiculous hair.

One of the most influential mentors in my own life, of course, is Richard Branson. Having spent two months with him, traveling around the world filming The Rebel Billionaire, and then a few more months as President of Virgin, Worldwide, I got to know Richard pretty well. In fact, at the time, I don’t think that I realized how rare it was to spend so much time with him. I wish I would have appreciated it more. Speaking to this group of young entrepreneurs, I couldn’t help but wonder who among them might make the effort to connect with me, and try to learn whatever they might from all of (the many) mistakes I have made. In case your wondering: How does it make someone like me feel to have young or inexperienced people pump me for information, or try to connect with me? The answer is—I’m always flattered, and I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t support them. I’ll always go out of my way to take a phone call, an email, or make a personal connection with anyone who is truly ambitious. So thank you to tall of you in attendance and thank you to The Dillons at NGLV for having me out! I had a great time and I always learn just as much from these experiences as I might have to share.

Deep thought on Necker Island.

Deep thought on Necker Island.

In the end, the reason that these two basic principles are the absolute best and most comprehensive advice I can give to entrepreneurs is because they are all-encompassing. Between the best books and the best people are all of the advice and answers you will ever need. No matter what the industry or what the situation, elements of it have all been done before and it is simply cheaper to learn from other’s mistakes instead of your own.

Make it happen!

— Shawny

My Top 10 Business Books of All Time (so far)

As an entrepreneur I get asked all of the time for advice, or words of wisdom—how did I do it? I have a lot to say about what I think for business, leadership and design…but what is the single best piece of advice I can give prospective entrepreneurs? Drumroll please…

…Read. Read from the best books. Read from the best business books. The next time you sit on your couch to watch some TV or play a game—read instead.

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Ugh. What a buzz-kill. It almost seems like a cop-out right? But, in all honesty, business is complicated. It is multi-faceted and requires a lot of different skills and abilities to navigate. It is also very different from industry to industry and there is really just no getting around that. But believe it or not, there is very little that is new. There are very few things that people haven’t done—in one form or another, and then gone on to write about it. Apply this one piece of advice, and you will certainly have enough information and even motivation at your fingertips to build something great, and even avoid many of the pitfalls that would otherwise beset you—as they have those who have gone before you i.e.: ‘Tis noble to suffer the slings and arrows oneself…but the wisest of all avoids them by learning from the mistakes (and successes) of others instead.’

So on with it. Shawn Nelson’s top 10 book list:

  • 10. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
  • 9.   Ben Franklin, by Walter Isaacson
  • 8.   How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  • 7.   Influence, by Robert B. Cialdini
  • 6.   Switch, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • 5.   Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, by Richard P. Rumelt
  • 4.   22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries
  • 3.   Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
  • 2.   The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni
  • 1.   Good to Great, by Jim Collins
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Shawn Nelson’s favorite business book of all time

Honestly, I could probably create 10 different “Top 10” lists of my favorite books depending on which industry we are talking about. But I feel that this list is my most general one. Reading (and applying) the wisdom found within the books on the above list will be game-changing to anyone in business, entrepreneurship, leadership, or management in any capacity.

So find a nice couch to curl up on (I recommend one of mine) and read! Reading these days can come in many forms. I’m mostly a real book kind-of-guy. I like to underline and write notes. I like to collect them and fill shelves with them. And I am a painfully slow reader, by the way. But small flatscreen TVs are so cheap now that I bought one to mount at eye-level in front of my treadmill with my laptop connected, and I now can read at a full jog, no problem. Its amazing how quickly a workout goes when your mind is on something else. I am a TV and movie freak—but with a bit of discipline, I am always happier when I choose books instead. And if real books or Nooks aren’t your thing, then get the audio version and listen while flying, driving, or jogging. I do it all.

— Shawny

Family Couchday 2.0

Guest contributors Romy Raad and Natalie Neumann (Rad & Neu) are culinary adventurers who look at food the same way we look at the couch- as something that promotes happiness and brings us closer together. We are pumped to feature them here- head over to their blog for full version of this story (with recipes!) and a ton of other intriguing foodventures!

Shawny Nelson

We, Romy and Natalie from radandneu.com, were absolutely thrilled to spend a funday with Shawny and his family in his beautiful countryside farmhouse!

Couching n’ Snacking was the theme of the day – by joining forces we created a joyful family outdoor experience, featuring four of our healthy, kids-friendly radcipes and some fabulous Lovesac products.

Kids cooking Kids cooking Kids cooking Kids cooking

We prepared the snacks together with the kids, who discovered the fun of cooking as a team, while learning how each ingredient adds some magic to the plate.

Thanks to Shawny’s outdoor lounge area, a regular couch afternoon was turned into a beautiful and lively outdoor experience – enjoying delicious finger foods with a side of sea breeze.

Lovesac Outdoor Sactionals Lovesac Outdoor Sactionals Lovesac Outdoor Sactionals Lovesac Buddah Bowl

The detailed recipes for the healthy bites can be found on our blog www.radandneu.com alongside other rad&neu insights!

DIY Games for Parties

Hello! Darleen here from Darling Darleen! I’m a friend of Shawn and call his wife one of my dear friends, and I’m excited to contribute this month to Life on a Couch.

This past weekend, we had a house full of family from out of town. Every evening after we’d get kiddos to bed, we’d all congregate around the couch and laugh the night away with a good old-fashioned game night. We’ve got a cupboard full of board games, but many times we keep the laughs abundant by just playing card games or classic games like Pictionary or charades.

Let's play!

All the essentials to get the games going!

It’s good to have a little healthy competition between family members or even friends! DIY games are a great way to liven people up, lighten the mood and get people talking. So when I host game night, I like to serve up easy-to-eat finger foods or party nibbles to keep attention on the game. I tend to go for the parlor food route and serve a cheese and meat plate along with a variety of nuts. Don’t forget the drinks!

Charcuterie!

Don’t forget the meat and cheese!

Some of our favorite games are DIY games, or ones that we make up because we usually have a large group, or maybe we’ve played it somewhere before but they usually aren’t in the books.

That's half the fun!

Make up the rules as you go along!

Here are a few game suggestions that will get you and your party rolling on the couch in laughter.

Don't hog the cheese!

Friends, food, and fun!

Nertz Playing cards—this is a great card game with multiplayer and a combination of Speed and Solitaire. It’s fast pace and quite addicting!

Scrabble with teams—each team begins with 7 letter blocks and makes words in a crossword fashion. Once one team using up all their 7 letter blocks, they shout out take two tiles and everyone takes two tiles from the center pile of upside-down word tiles and then continues to add the letters to their crossword. When the first team has used up all their game pieces and there are no more to draw, the game is over.

Dictionary—similar to Balderdash but you use a real Dictionary instead!

Bunco—it’s not just for girl’s night! A fun dice game to play with a group of people.

Things—Everyone writes out a response like “things you wouldn’t do in front of Grandma…” or “things you wouldn’t do in high school….” Then put it in a hat and everyone guesses who said what. Fun to make up your own prompts!

Headbands—the adult version of Hedbanz. It’s a silly game and we like to make up our own cards and usually tape to the back of a person. Good to play this game…while playing another game!

Enjoy playing your next DIY game night with friends or family! I’ve included in this post a generic score sheet that you can download and use for your game night party! You can download it here.

It's all about teamwork!

Team Scrabble

What are your favorite games to play for game night?

Couch Food: 7 Steps to Mac & Cheese Perfection

We’re all just looking for a little bit of comfort. [Guest contributor: Michael Majlak]

As someone who truly believes that a good meal can transform the human soul, I’ve been spoiled with a mother who can really kick it up a notch in the kitchen. I probably never really gave her the appreciation she deserves for creating some insanely impressive homemade dishes.

Dig in!

Comfort on a plate

It’s one of those cliché arguments you have with your friends as a kid, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Every child should go through their adolescence thinking that their mom is the best cook in the entire universe. I can remember almost getting into physical fights with other kids that thought their mom made better meatloaf than mine!

One dish my mom has had perfected since my birth was this gooey, ridiculously delicious Mac & Cheese. Since we’re quickly slipping into the season for food that will keep us warm, I thought now would be the right time to bring you the recipe for a plate that anyone can make- and EVERYONE will enjoy. My mom, Robin, walked me through the whole process in 7 simple steps and I’ve laid them out below with some pictures to get your mouth watering just a bit. Throw on some sweatpants, follow the recipe, and bring a big bowl of this cheesy masterpiece back to your couch for an ultimate comfort session!

Just don’t try to say yours came out better than my mom’s…

SO MUCH CHEESE!

Gather your ingredients

Robin’s Mac & Cheese aka: the ultimate comfort food!

  • 1 lb. Cavatappi Pasta
  • 6 oz. Gruyere Cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 12 oz. New York Extra Sharp Cheese
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  •  2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs
The beginning of something great!

Boil some pasta

  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Bring water to boil in large pot; add a splash of olive oil, cook pasta until almost cooked.
  3. Grate cheeses, nutmeg and chop onion.
  4. Melt butter in saucepan add finely chopped onion, cook slowly until onion is translucent. Add flour to butter/onion mixture and heat over low for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Heat milk in separate pan or microwave until hot.
  6. Add milk to pot with butter & onion and whisk until hot [do not boil]. Add cheeses, nutmeg, salt & pepper to mixture. Blend well and when smooth pour cheese sauce over pasta in casserole dish. Top with Panko, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
Gooey, cheesy goodness.

The money shot

Bout to get crusty!

Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle that Panko

Just eat it all, who cares.

Bake it to crusty perfection

Enjoy!

— Michael Majlak

 

 

 

 

 

The Couch Life of a Modern Jacques Cousteau

But what if I fail?

That question is one of the biggest obstacles we face in our lives. That fear of not being good enough or smart enough or strong enough suffocates us and stomps out our ability to achieve our dreams. As children, we had high hopes and extreme visions for what we would do with our lives. Some of us wanted to be astronauts. Others wanted to be chefs, or doctors, or dog trainers. But at some point, out of fear of the unknown, many of us abandon our dreams and opt for something more “secure”. Instead of shooting for the stars, we decide to take the safer path in order to avoid the risk of falling up short.

On a recent Lovesac business trip to Salt Lake City I sat down with Brent Andersen, the founder of the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. After talking with Brent for a few minutes, I quickly realized he was not one of those people who took the safe road in life. Brent spent his childhood couch life being deeply inspired by  Jacques Cousteau and his underwater adventures. He created a strategy to build a chain of aquariums and a research vessel. His purpose: to help educate the world on our fragile ecosystem, with the notion that: “We are all connected,” and that we need to understand that.

Two entrepreneurs for the price of one.

Brent Andersen and myself at the Living Planet Aquarium in Utah.

Brent is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. Even in the face of every possible adversity, he pushed forward to achieve his ultimate vision.  As an entrepreneur Brent shared four things that were key to his ultimate success. 1. Think big 2. Persevere, no matter the cost. 3. Surround yourself with smart people, and other entrepreneurs. 4. Once you arrive, keep going.

His next step? Hopefully to take his dream to the next level, building more aquariums, and linking them with a network of exploratory ocean vessels roaming the world making new discoveries. Sound too ambitious? Too fantastic? It is. And that’s why I love this guy. The next Jacques Cousteau, and an inspiration to us all.

–Shawny
Founder, LOVESAC

 

Celebrity Couch Life: The Canavan Sisters

Like everyone else in the world, the people you see on TV have a life on a couch too. Liz and Marie Canavan, the infamous twins from the Amazing Race Season 19, invited me to their place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to chat about their couch life. We quickly found that when the girls aren’t on television entertaining millions of viewers, they spend time on the couch just like the rest of us. I never grow tired of seeing how reflecting on our couch life brings back some of our fondest and even most touching memories.

The Canavan twins could probably complete every sentence for the other. I think that in the 15 minutes that we hung out on their couch, they actually spoke in unison for some portion of it (something twins are known for). This interview spanned the entire emotional spectrum- carrying the girls from the happiness of sisterly memories on their childhood couch, through the heartbreaking moments they shared upon losing their father, and up to the current uncertainty they’re feeling as they pack up their apartment to live apart from each other for the first time in their lives.

A twin's couch life!

Liz, Marie, and I in their Manhattan walk-up

Do you have a family couch in your life? One you inherited, got stuck with, or possibly stole from your family like the one that Liz and Marie are about to leave behind in their New York walk-up?

–Shawny