How Amanda Hofman Is Revolutionizing Branded Merchandise
Amanda Hofman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Go To Market, an enterprise specializing in sustainable and standout branded merchandise.
Amanda’s journey into this venture was inspired by the challenges she faced at her previous company. During her search for high-quality, branded merchandise for her company, she was frustrated by the limitations of bulk printing. However, in 2019, she discovered the potential of print-on-demand technology for brands and businesses. This revelation led to the inception of Go To Market, which serves as a solution to transform the traditional concept of promotional items into sustainable merchandise that mirrors a brand’s values.
We asked Amanda about the founding story behind Go To Market, the biggest misconception others have around entrepreneurship, and what’s next for her and her company.
Q: Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Go To Market?
A: In my first company, I adored my brand and wanted to buy cute, branded merchandise and swag for my team and members. But each time I ordered, I ran into the same roadblocks: committing to just one design, picking out sizes at random, finding a place to warehouse my goods in my NYC apartment, and minimum order quantities that were too high. So when I discovered print-on-demand technology in 2019, I realized that entrepreneurs would benefit dramatically from having an alternative to bulk merchandise, especially one that is also high-quality and sustainable. That’s where Go To Market was born.
Our company is about much more than print-on-demand. We are changing the way companies think about branded merchandise, shifting the focus from “promotional items” to meaningful merchandise that showcases the values of the company. We design gorgeous, fashion-forward items that people want to keep in the long run. We think of branded merchandise as a tangible connection between a brand and its customer, fan, or team member.
Q: What were the most difficult and most impactful lessons you’ve learned starting and running a company?
A: Go To Market is my second company and so I was able to learn from the many mistakes I made in running my first company. My first company was—by design—all work and no “life.” It was a passion project turned business that I wanted to work on every moment of the day. I began my second company with two elementary school-aged kids and a desire to be available to them after school. As such, I made very intentional choices about the design of the business—from client expectations down to the industry—to be conducive to a work-life balance. I would advise new entrepreneurs to think about the kind of life they want to have from a holistic view—not simply focused on the business.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception that others have around entrepreneurship?
A: In both of my companies, I’ve met with aspiring entrepreneurs in a mentorship role. It seems that many people think there’s some trick, shortcut, answer, or secret to running a successful company. The only “trick” is hard work and hustle. You often see a successful entrepreneur in the moment of their success, not in the hundreds or thousands of hours of work that came beforehand. It’s sexy to show “shortcuts” on social media, but even those influencers are hustling. It always comes down to the hustle.
Q: We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of?
A: The work we do brings joy to our clients and everyone their branded merchandise touches, and I’m incredibly proud of that. We often hear from clients that our calls with them are the most fun part of their day and that they squeal with glee when they see their branded merchandise. Our work extends far beyond a logo on a shirt. We are harnessing the powerful connection people have to a brand and expressing it beautifully—as well as beyond just their logo—on items and gifts.
Q: What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again?
A: If there’s one thing I wish I knew in my career when I was younger, it was to have some perspective. I had a bad habit of believing that my worst days were the “truth” of my career and that every year that I didn’t join the ranks of my friends getting masters’ degrees was a year I fell behind. I was convinced that I had to have my path in place by my late twenties. The idea of having it all figured out by then is hilarious to me now. Perspective is key!
Q: What’s next for you and Go To Market?
A: My dream is to truly revolutionize the way companies handle branded merchandise—both for the environment and their bottom line. We are accomplishing that one client and one follower at a time. We will work at it until the changes we are trying to make in our industry are completely commonplace.
Amanda is a member of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community that amplifies extraordinary women entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders by securing PR, forging authentic connections, and curating high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and get involved here.