How I Accidentally Started A Profitable Business At 16
Trust me, I know how that title sounds and I didn't expect it either. I quickly wanted to retell my business story because recently I have gained a bunch of new friends and followers and I just wanted to catch you all up on what's been going on the last year and a half
I want to start off by saying, I have always dreamed of having a clothing line and owning a business. I feel like when you are younger you are only encouraged to pursue the "safe careers"
Clearly I threw all caution to the wind, but we'll get into that later.
I had gotten to a certain point where I was so tired of just dreaming about my line. I wanted it to be a real tangible thing. So that's what I did. May 29, 2019 is the day that I started to plan out my line. After school that day I walked into my kitchen and declared that I was going to start a clothing line and call it hey friends. As you can imagine, my parents gave me a look and were a little confused but they somehow went with it.
Let me also remind you that I am 16 I just got my drivers license and I know 0 about business or anything related to it. I definitely had an advantage because my family owns a silkscreen and promotional products company and I grew up around this. My parents were a huge help in this time and my dad is still my sales rep to this day. Although they were very supportive of the process and my little dream, they still were very confused as to why I was attempting to do this.
A few weeks later I had my designs finalized and production was underway. A few days after this I had some friends over and I took a ton of pictures for my Etsy listings and a bunch for social media as well. It is safe to say that I had no idea what I was doing but somehow it was all coming together and working out.
Then came my official launch day. On July, 5th 2019 and a few all nighters later it was 10 am and my best friend Chelsea came over to help me with all of the final touches for my launch.
Just a few minutes later I started receiving orders from people I didn't even know and I was astonished. I remember asking Chels, "do you think they bought that by accident??!!"
That same night I had a mini launch party at my house. Everything went well and I ended up selling out of most of my items on the first day!
Looking back it is absolutely insane how well things were going from the start and little did I know, only crazier things were to come.
After a few weeks went by, things were still very steady. This is where things get interesting. After a long day of running errands, and being starving I knew I needed one thing. Chocolate covered sponge candy… an essential. As I was walking out of the small grocery store, I saw a new little boutique down the plaza. I decided to walk down and check it out. As soon as I walked into the little boutique I immediately fell in love with everything in the store. I ended up meeting the owner, struck up a conversation with her, my line was mentioned, and a week later my line was in there and a week after that it sold out.
When fall came around that year I was getting requests for another line. When I first started Hey Friends in July creating another line didn't even cross my mind. I was so excited to plan another one!
The months from October to December is when I quickly realized that this was no longer a little side hobby but was quickly turning into a full time job.
It was in these months when I attended some of my first events, trunk shows, conventions and fashion shows. This was an essential time for me and my business because I gained so much experience and life changing contacts. At times it felt like I was net working more than anything else in my business. Also at this time, one of the most influential things was the exposure I was getting from attending these events.
This led me to getting a cover story in my local newspaper along with the local boutique that my line was featured in. This was a huge milestone in my career because at the time my business had only been around for less than 6 months. And I want to remind you that I still had absolutely no clue what I was doing, I was just trying to navigate through this crazy career that I accidentally found myself in. Shortly after this, I got my first attorney and started the process of trademarking my logos for my brand and business.
When Christmas came around Hey Friends was still doing great. On Christmas Eve, I received an unexpected letter from Pennsylvania Senator, Bob Casey congratulating me on my business and entrepreneurship! As you can imagine, this was a really nice and unexpected Christmas gift. I was mind blown that this little thing that I dreamt up was a real tangible thing that was now getting recognition for itself.
It's safe to say that I ended 2019 on a huge high and I was ready to take on 2020 with everything that I had.
Right away in January, I got to work planning my spring line. I knew that I wanted to start off the year big so I ended up designing a 10 piece spring line. At the time, this seemed like a great idea and granted it was going well for the first 2 weeks after my launch. That's until Corona took over and it seemed like the whole world shut down, including my sales.
At first, it was so hard to see my business be so stagnant but I had to remember that it was not just my business that was struggling. At the same time, as much as I hated those few months for my business, I was also very grateful for them. In this slow time, I had a chance to research and really deep dive into everything about the e-commerce business. I really tried to educate myself as much as possible and took the necessary steps to build my platform and brand.
Since then things are much better! I launched my summer 2020 collection in June, and in July I celebrated my one year of business!!! It is so crazy to me that Hey Friends has only been around for one year!!! It has been one crazy and unexpected year but I could not be more grateful!!
Fast forward a few months to now where I am currently in the process of planning my new winter collection and my 7th launch overall! I love what I do and what I am creating. I feel so incredibly blessed to have accidentally found myself into this career, and truthfully I cannot imagine my life without it anymore. I have never felt passion like this in my life and I am so proud of my business. It is so hard to believe that this is only the beginning for Hey Friends and I.