Jen Gotch is the co-founder, and CCO of Ban.do, a multi-million dollar lifestyle brand that sells joyful and fun accessories. Every single thing that Ban.do makes will no doubt brighten up your day, but Gotch has been wildly candid about her struggles with depression and bipolar disorder. Through her honesty and over-the-top sense of humor, Jen has stumbled her way into becoming one of the most meaningful mental health voices of our generation.
Now she has pulled back the curtain even further with her new book The Upside of Being Down: How Mental Health Struggles Led to My Greatest Successes in Work and Life. Jen’s mission to spread self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and mental health inclusivity is more vital than ever. We also can’t get enough of her trash dances, adorable side-kick dad and sex hair tutorials. In these highly anxious times, Jen is just the elixir we need…
You might know me from: ban.do, Instagram, my new book, or you were behind me in line at Trader Joe’s and you said “hi!” and I told you my life story.
My exciting new venture is… My first book, The Upside of Being Down.
What I’ve learned about myself: That I am committed to my own personal growth.
I never expected the greatest lesson would be: The results of the greatest failures.
What wellness means to me now: Taking good care of myself, my mind, my body, my career, my environment so that I’m caring for my full self and no single aspect of my life dominates the others. Also, giving myself permission to ask what I really need in each moment and then working to achieve that.
The most surprising thing I’ve learned about business: It’s just as hard as everyone says it is.
What I know Now about people that I didn’t know then: When someone says something hurtful to you, it’s because they are in pain.
I never imagined self-care would mean: Reiki healing.
The best advice I can give entrepreneurs: Building a business is hard, so if you’re going to try, it really has to be your sole purpose. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever—in fact it shouldn’t—but in the early days it will require all of your attention in order to thrive.
My best advice for anyone struggling with mental health issues: You are not alone! Mental health issues can feel very singular and isolating, but there are so many that are also struggling (or know and love someone who is struggling). I found that learning about my illness and working to gain self-awareness and emotional intelligence helped me to not only ask for help, but to know what to do with it when I received it.
The best advice I would give young Jen is… Sunscreen!
My latest obsessions: My electric toothbrush, matcha with coconut milk and the White Stripes. It’s a strange time for me.
Best three books on the topic of mental health: These are maybe not traditional mental health books, but all have helped my mental state tremendously:
My current mantra: Be a bright light. It helps me to remember that what I want to be doing right now especially is to be a source of light for those who need it, and helps me get out of my own brain and the noise it makes.