Client Success Story
Randy Bardwell, President of Native Threads
After speaking with Randy for a mere 10 minutes you get the distinct feeling that he understands the unique position he’s in to help guide our Native youth into the vast possibilities of entrepreneurship in Indian Country. “Our ancestors were the ultimate entrepreneurs. The only difference is that instead of getting rich, they got to live!” says Bardwell. “Think of how many business owners would be successful if people’s lives, their families lives more importantly, depended on building and running a solid business?” he questioned. “My Great Great Grandfather John Magee did not have the option to just quit and try something else or get a job. There were no jobs. It was survival of the fittest. It was go time and there was no other option but to succeed!”
Bardwell’s Great Great Grandfather, John Magee is credited as the “First Entrepreneur of the Temecula Valley” where his ancestral lands of the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians still reside in Southern California. Magee built the first general store in the area which served as the post office and a stop on the historical Butterfield Stage line which ran from St. Louis to San Francisco in the mid 1800s. “It’s inspiring to know that I’m following in the footsteps of my ancestors and that I’m building a legacy for my children and grand children to carry on” Bardwell continues.
It is this creation of a legacy that drives Bardwell. He refers to a famous quote by Sitting Bull that drives him, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” The quote reminds him constantly of what is important in this life and what keeps him on track with his core values. “As a role model to my kids and our youth as a whole, it’s a very humbling quote to live your life by.”
President of Native Threads, Randy and his team operate Indian Country’s most successful lifestyle apparel line marketed to Native people throughout the U.S. and Canada. Bardwell states, “Native Threads is more than a clothing line; Native Threads represents to our youth what is possible to accomplish when you formulate a plan, set goals and put in the work to make your dreams possible. Entrepreneurship is the future of Indian Country period. Not casinos or government grants. Our future will be carried on the backs of those Indians that step up and create businesses that can thrive for decades.”
“The foundation of any business is built on solid leadership. Solid leadership is built on numerous fronts like experience, planning, organization, vision and most of all core values.” Bardwell says.
Native Threads core values are integrity, value and the spirit of entrepreneurship. “That spirit comes in many forms and the easiest way to explain it is that we always remain open to listening and exploring new ideas to grow our business.” Bardwell states.
“Our new Native Threads shoe line is an example of how exploring our options is put to work. We had no experience in the shoe industry which means no knowledge, no contacts, nothing. So we explored the possibilities of partnering with those that have experience and we found a partner in Vox Footware that was willing to work with us in manufacturing a shoe.” Bardwell adds. “Here we are, four months later and we’re on track to an December 2010 launch of Indian Country’s first lifestyle shoe line that will be on par with the likes of industry giants DC Shoe and Vans.”
When asked about the overall direction of his company and how he has sharpened his vision for success, Bardwell cites his continuous work with the Edge of Change coaching program and Rapport Leadership International’s Master Graduate program. “No matter how effective you are as a leader there is always room for improvement or refinement of your skills.”
“I like to refer to the most effective leaders as problem solvers. Think about it…the most effective leaders are the ones who can solve the issues we face in life and business. To solve the problems we have on a daily basis we need to have the tools to do so and when you can fill that tool box with knowledge, processes and exercises to pass on to your team then you are creating a whole army of problem solvers.” Bardwell states. “Edge of Change has really helped me to sharpen my skills on a personal level that has carried into accomplishing all the goals I have set for the year. When you decide to work with Edge of Change, be prepared because you’re going to realize the power of You.”
As a dedicated member of the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, Randy has served on his tribe’s Trust Review Board which creates tribal conservatorships for tribal members who are unable to manage their finances on their own. He is also jointly developing a business mentorship program with his tribal leadership to ensure continued entrepreneurial success among the members of his tribe. Bardwell is a Master Graduate of Rapport Leadership International’s highly acclaimed leadership program. He also serves as a member of the National Support Committee for the Native American Rights Fund and is a past board member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California.