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Meet Tahaji Felder of Goose & Gander Brand LLC in Ft. Lauderdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tahaji Felder.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Although I launched Goose & Gander Brand in 2015, my journey really started prior to that. I’ve always been passionate about fashion and working with kids (I wanted to be a pediatrician as a child) but I took the traditional route due to fear and lack of self-confidence. I was in the finance world for the majority of my career. It was a good career and I learned a lot but I kept going back to a space where I wanted to create more impact for others. I launched Goose & Gander Brand after getting laid off two times in two years. I was in a space where I felt it was now or never so I decided to take the leap. Goose & Gander Brand is a lifestyle brand that inspires others to pursue their passion. It’s the core of the brand but more so at my core. I started the brand in my bedroom, no idea of what I was doing, and Google as my resource. I create simple quality unisex t-shirts that remind others to live more of the life they want to live. All of the sayings on the shirts are personal to me and I just hoped they would resonate with others, which has seemed to happen. The overall brand vision I created but it has truly been the people around me that have pushed the brand forward from family, friends, models, photographers, and mentors.

Over the last three years, selling t-shirts has developed into so much more including speaking/teaching in different cities on panels, high schools, and colleges about startup entrepreneurship, as well as collaborations with local non-profits in South Florida. I’m currently working on taking the brand into an entirely different space as we speak, which I’m excited about and will share soon. Also, as of recently, I work full time for one of those non-profits that I’ve worked with, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. For most of my career, I’ve felt like I was “on the outside looking in” to a career path that was hard to break into, I felt unqualified for, or my resume didn’t depict. Between this new direction with Goose & Gander Brand and working for NFTE, I finally feel like I’m in the right “purpose story.” I didn’t end up being a pediatrician but I’ve come full circle in working with kids. It’s something I thank God for every day and don’t for one-second take for granted.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road at all. One of the biggest struggles was honestly myself. I’ve had to overcome the story in my head of questioning my designs, ideas, self-worth of even being able to do this. With every self-defeating thought came a confidence thought and the step that helped continue to push me forward. I began to slow down and enjoy the moment, which sounds so cliche but it really helped; just taking everything in one day at a time. Besides those internal struggles, the first graphic designer I worked with stole money from me and disappeared. That was a quick learning lesson. I didn’t measure the first set of t-shirt designs properly and had to reprint them all. Creating physical products is not easy and I truly commend all of the business owners that do this. There are always little things that happen along the way that I had to learn to pivot quickly, not dwell on and find alternative solutions. Lastly, finances. I started Goose & Gander Brand with my own money so constantly balancing how to spend and where to spend money when you’re on a shoestring budget is a constant balance. You don’t need a lot of money to start a business but you do need to learn and know how to manage what you do have.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Goose & Gander Brand LLC – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Goose & Gander Brand is an online lifestyle brand that inspires others to pursue their passion. I create unisex simple quality t-shirts that remind others to live more of the life they want to live. The company has gone from just selling t-shirts to my work with speaking/teaching startup entrepreneurship on panels, colleges, and high schools in different cities, to collaborations with local non-profits in South Florida. I’m definitely most proud of my speaking work and collaborations with non-profits. Its been the most fulfilling part of this journey so far. Also, seeing others in my t-shirts and sharing how its connection with their own story or journey. It’s quite humbling. The personalized touch of the brand is what sets it apart from others. Once you interact with me, the website or buy a t-shirt online, there is a personal touch to it and a lot of attention to detail from my pop up designs, website, to packaging. Hopefully, the brand becomes personal to you and you can feel it.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
As I mentioned, I’m working on changing things up quite a bit with the brand and honing even deeper into the mission; which is why I even started the brand in the first place. I’m very excited about it and I hope it resonates with everyone. I’m looking forward to sharing that and sharing the process of that change soon. Not only has the brand grown but I’ve also grown, so I want this new different to depict that. I’m excited about that next step as well as my work for Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. NFTE is an amazing company, has an amazing mission (activating the entrepreneurial mindset in our youth), and I work with an amazing team. I want to just add as much value as possible where I can.

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