The Entrepreneurial Leap: Reflections on the junedays' Launch


By Nicole Verspyck

Entrepreneurial Leap

The idea of designing and curating products that would help keep things organized and provide extra storage onboard boats began 10 years ago, with our first and only boat purchase to date. It became evident that items on boats could easily become disorganized and misplaced, and finding adequate storage space was a significant challenge. Adding guests to the mix only exacerbated the chaos. If I wanted to enjoy myself, and I wanted our friends and family to enjoy themselves, then I had to find solutions. So began the journey of research, experiments, designs, prototypes and product testing, culminating in the decision, seven years later, to embark on creating a business centered on boating and solving for organizational and storage issues in a cheerful and functional way. 

The same year we bought our boat, my mother, June, passed away after a long bout with cancer.  She was an incredible woman, always curious, had an appetite for adventure and travel, and a deep love for nature and its inhabitants. I was fortunate to have a mother that nurtured these values in me. I knew that when the company came to fruition, I wanted to honor her memory in some way. Fast forward to 2021, during a trip with my daughter, we brainstormed names for the company. After much deliberation, we settled on "junedays." We both looked at each other and knew immediately the name was perfect. I get chills thinking about it. A "juneday" embodies sunshine, optimism, celebration, outdoor activities, love, and laughter—a fitting tribute to my mother, who was the epitome of a "juneday."  

In early 2022, we were fully committed to a June launch. With the help of creative experts Aufi, we connected with the creative agency Human NYC. Led by Rachael Yaeger, Michael Burton Ray and Pam Batstone, we knew our branding was in expert hands. Product designs were finalized, samples were received, purchase orders were placed, and production at the factory was imminent. I was determined to meet the June deadline - for sentimental reasons, as my mother was born on June 2nd. However, on March 1st, our family was struck by an emotional tornado: my husband and junedays partner, Charles, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Cancer. The diagnosis blindsided us, accompanied by a prognosis of 8-10 months and scans revealing numerous tumors in his liver, lungs, and a sizable tumor on his kidney. We were told to go home and get his affairs in order. Despite the devastating news, we resolved to explore treatment options and sought second opinions. junedays was put on hold as we focused on Charles's health, with calls made, understanding vendors notified, and production postponed, albeit with incurred costs. By May, we were adapting to our new reality, navigating tests, treatments, and the emotional rollercoaster that accompanied them.  

Close friends and family helped carry the weight of the days and encouraged me to revisit junedays. 

In June, Charles and I decided to forge ahead with junedays albeit at a slower pace. A photoshoot on Lake Winnipesaukee rejuvenated our spirits, thanks to the collaborative effort of a talented team. With Meredith Jenks, Tyler Haft, Rachael Yeager, Pam Batstone, Kelsey Morgan, and a small group of friends and family as the cast, magic was created. These moments, infused with my mother's spirit, were etched in my memory and heart. I experienced what it feels like when people have your back.


This is not just a story of another small startup. This is a story about people: friends, family and community; it’s about courage while facing adversity; it’s about leaning on or holding each other up; it’s about shaping priorities, building promise, and trusting in the collective efforts of our team. The months following these early days saw us focused on countless details, work crucial to our launch, despite the uncertainties and financial strain upon us. Charles's scans every three months brought scanxiety, yet we persevered, buoyed by my father's mantra: "just keep shooting the puck up the ice", an expression I share almost daily.   

It was scary watching the money go out but nothing coming in. Charles’s health remained a major concern, if not debilitating at times, and I started second guessing myself, and truthfully the whole idea of junedays. But I put on a brave face and went to bed with the optimism that tomorrow was a new day. A new day to shake off the doubts, course correct if needed, delegate as necessary, address challenges from a new perspective, or to take them on with new vigor. Indeed my dad was right, I just needed to “keep shooting the puck up the ice”.   

On March 15, 2023 junedays went live! There really are no words to describe the feelings felt that day. There were just so many: some were conflicted, while others were jubilant. When the first order came in, we scrambled with excitement to pull it together. Then more orders came through and we felt the weight of our uncertainty dissipate. We felt lighter and more buoyant. The hardest part of going live was saying goodbye to our close-knit creative team, and jumping into operational details with our small team of four; it was challenging, yet exhilarating.  

Weeks after the launch, Charles had a cancerous kidney removed, followed by a two-month recovery. By June, we received uplifting news; the latest scans showed no evidence of disease. We had a skip in our step, and we were energized to turn our full attention to junedays. 

So how were things for junedays?  

In our first year, junedays achieved notable milestones: 

  • Featured in goop's 2023 Gift Guide 
  • Collaboration with the Telluride Film Festival on gifts for donors and directors 
  • Participation in seven boat shows, fostering connections and visibility 
  • Completion of our first annual audit with 1% for the Planet 
  • Steady increase in orders and website visits (with no paid advertising) 
  • We’re getting repeat customers!  
  • We even had one customer who saw one of our products on her friend’s boat in South Africa and tracked us down to order it. So cool to see the brand get international recognition! 
  • Lots of heartwarming offers of assistance from customers at boat shows  

While we didn't set sales records or attain viral fame, our accomplishments have exceeded expectations given the backdrop of our personal lives. We have many people to thank for their support, encouragement and belief in us and junedays. We are forever grateful.  

Year 2 here we come! We have more defined benchmarks and goals to achieve. We have skills to fine tune and applications to master. We have new products, new boat shows, new people to meet, customers to serve, and old friends to reacquaint ourselves with.  

I hope our paths cross!