Madelyne Van Hoff on Helping More People Realize their Entrepreneurial Dreams With Tangible School

Madelyne Van Hoff started her career at a young age in LA where she learned to hold her own among some of the biggest real-estate barons in the world. Most of them lived overseas and owned luxury hotels from Las Vegas to Dubai. Working in this environment, she learned the dance of careful negotiation and client relations that propelled her to chase a career in Public Relations.

Soon after her time in LA, Madelyne found herself in the fast paced world of corporate events in the heart of New York City working with notable clients like Chanel and Larry King.

Later, she refined her expertise in written and visual communications through her work creating campaign based and holistic content strategies that increased the visibility, credibility, and valuation of her clients. Some of her past clients include Gap, Banana Republic, iRobot, Facebook, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the NFL, and many more.

Now, Madelyne is running a startup called Tangible that launched early in 2019. The goal is to build a community focused on startup founders who sell physical products primarily online. Currently this is being done through a unique workshop-based education experience held in-person for 10 weeks. The Tangible team hopes to give the true product people a home and community.

At the end of the day, she is passionate about helping people achieve their professional aspirations. This was inspired by one of her earliest and most powerful clients who ended every call with, "you know what to do and do what you love."

Madelyne currently lives in Utah at the base of the rocky mountains where she and her husband, baby, and airedale terrier can be found exploring and observing the beauty of life!

When did you launch Tangible School and where did the need to have this school come from?

Tangible School launched in March of 2019, but we started formally playing with the idea in November of 2018. The idea came from Travis Chambers, one of my co-founders and a true expert in promoting physical products in a way that drives expansive revenue for brands. Travis and Scott Paul, another cofounder on the team and a startup expert, have talked casually about the idea of Tangible for a year or two. They called me when they wanted to think more seriously about it and, together with Stefan Van de Graaff and Rachel Nilsson, we formed Tangible.

There are so many great product ideas and startups in Utah and around the country. We wanted to give people a place where they could learn a comprehensive e-commerce education so that they could elevate their ideas and startups, and chase the lifestyles they want. So many people want to quit their day jobs and work for themselves, but the world of e-commerce can be a bit like the wild west. At Tangible, we help people navigate the wild west in a way that brings tangible value to their business.

How difficult is it juggling your time at Tangible and Wild Mustang Media?

I founded Wild Mustang Media with my husband a couple of years ago. We saw a big need for lifestyle content and started it as a side-hustle that quickly gained a lot of traction. Brands are dying on the line for content and even though they get some content and promotion by working with influencers, it isn't enough to fill their content banks. They need partners who can take their products and show them in application in a natural way that reflects their customer's ideal. With very little business development we were able to land some BIG clients in the outdoor recreation space like Yeti, DJI, Camp Chef, and many more.

In the last year we had a baby and I started Tangible so my time working with Wild Mustang Media has been almost non-existent. My husband has another business that has required a lot of energy and done really well in the last year so our time spent on Wild Mustang Media has been very limited. We honestly should revive it and bring on someone to run it, because the opportunity is ripe and it was really fun!

As far as juggling Tangible and motherhood, it hasn't been easy. This year has come with so many firsts all at the same time. In all honesty, before my little guy was born, I wasn't sure about motherhood and if it was for me and if I would be good at it, but it has been the most fulfilling and fun time of my life. Very hard, but so worth it! My little guy was only a few months old when we launched Tangible so I would be in the bathroom pumping every night half-way through our classes. I look back now and don't know how I did it. It comes down to my support system. I have an amazing husband who supports me and somehow we can hustle and make just about anything work as long as we have the same goal.

Where do you see Tangible 5 years from now?

In five years we hope Tangible is a thriving and international community of product founders that come together to learn and grow. We hope to always offer educational solutions to startups so that they can take their projects to the next level. And we hope to always be a source for creative inspiration, personal fulfillment, and professional success!

What are some of the issues you've faced or have seen other women face here in Utah?

I talk to a lot of local founders through our application process and I get to hear their pain points, concerns, and road blocks. Some women are unsure of taking our program and opening up about their idea or startup, because they are afraid someone else will take their ideas or learn from what they have done and push them out of the market. We have some women who won't enroll in our program if another founder with a similar product is already in the class. I never hear this concern from men, but I hear it all the time from women.

On the one hand I understand, because a lot of these women are working and raising babies AND building a startup. Their time is so limited and they want to protect their ideas and the work they have done. On the other hand, I think they are holding themselves back because competition is good and healthy and makes everyone better. In my opinion, competition can be the best catalyst for success!

What's your favorite thing about living in the Salt Lake Valley?

I currently live in Utah County, but I grew up in SLC and consider Utah County part of the greater Salt Lake area. We love the mountains. My husband and I met in LA/OC area 12 years ago. We lived on the beach and loved every minute of it. Later I moved to New York City and fell in love with the East Coast. We got married in NYC a few years ago and still miss it there, but we LOVE the mountains. Utah is a majestic place to live! Besides that, Utah has a fun startup scene. There is a lot of talent here and a great network of people doing amazing things!

Where would you most like to live?

We would love to live in Nashville at some point if it made sense or to move back to NYC. There is an energy in New York that is undeniable!

What is your most treasured possession?

If my family is considered a possession then my husband and baby are my most treasured by far! Other than that, my experiences in life and the friends I have made and places I have lived. If those aren't considered a possession then my most treasured possession is a vintage ruby and diamond ring that one of my past clients sent me for Christmas one year. My client was an inspirational woman who had done amazing things in life and career. She is someone that I really look up to and enjoyed working with. The ring is from the 1930's with a large vintage ruby and two carats of diamonds surrounding it. I wear it often as a reminder of my amazing client and other stalwart women in leadership and how I want to carry on the same example for the upcoming generations. The world needs more women in leadership!

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Before this year I would have said the lowest depth of misery is when a family breaks up. I was raised by a single mom and there were times when we were homeless, carless, and couldn't afford food. Those were some very dark years but they bred strong and independent children. My siblings and I used that experience as fuel for who we could be despite our disadvantages. But this year, I have learned what real misery is from one of my co-founders who has a baby with an excruciating incurable disease called EB. He won't live to see his first birthday and until then, their lives are very sad as they do their best to keep their little angel comfortable and prepare for the hard days ahead. I am positive that watching your child suffer with an inability to help them is the lowest depth of misery by far!

What is your favorite occupation?

My favorite occupation is whatever I am doing right now. I've never had a job I didn't like or a boss I didn't like. I put everything into what I am working on and love to put my skills to the test.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My past bosses would say that I am very action oriented and have an ability to push through numerous tasks and do the hard things that no one else can or want to do. My friends and family would say that I'm welcoming and always have an open door policy, literally and figuratively. If you need a place to stay, food to eat, or a non-judgmental ear - I'm here for you!

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