Jeff Bender

Jeff Bender

CEO and Founder - Lion + Owl

Today, I sat down with Jeff Bender, the CEO, and Founder of Lion and Owll, a company that designs gender-neutral, chic, and comfy kids’ clothing, a business he launched in an effort to create a safe, inclusive, and self-confident environment for all children after learning that his daughter is transgender.

During our conversation, we explored Jeff’s transition from a career in hospitality, drawing parallels between parenting a transgender child and launching an apparel company. We discussed the significance of supporting children’s choices in the face of financial constraints and differing opinions. Jeff also shared his leadership style and provided valuable advice for entrepreneurs on key questions to ask when pursuing an idea, and how Kickstarter is helping businesses find impactful solutions that resonate with a broader audience.


[1:43] – An introduction to Jeff Bender and his company, Lion and Owl.

[8:56] – Jeff discusses the challenges he faced in transitioning from a career in hospitality to starting an apparel company, the parallels between raising a transgender child and starting a business, and the need for support and community in both endeavors.

[13:39] – Jeff explains his leadership style, drawing from his background in the kitchen, where the executive chef provided the vision, and the staff executed it.

[22:27] – Jeff emphasizes the role of love in promoting inclusivity and shares his insights on how to have positive conversations with individuals who may not share the same viewpoints.

[25:21] – Jeff shares valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on the essential considerations to address when pursuing an idea. Plus, his tips for using Kickstarter to zero in on solutions that not only improve people’s lives but also effectively address pressing issues.

[27:27] – A devoted listener, Jeff shares his response to his all-time favorite question on AL4EP. He also opens up about his go-to meal when he’s at home in the kitchen. Plus, the pivotal role of music in his family’s life and the special musical connection he shares with his transgender daughter.

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Lion and Owl

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L+O TikTok: @lionandowlapparel

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