Q. When you were growing up, were you always so confident or did you ever worry about someone not liking you?
A. I definitely struggled with self-confidence growing up. I think in many ways, we all do! When I started working on Yellowberry, especially right after the launch of my Kickstarter, I was embarrassed to go to school because I felt like everyone was watching me fail. The turning point for my own self confidence was not when Yellowberry started to grow and see success. It was when I became so proud and excited about the way in which I spent my time working on my idea and my company. I felt (and still feel!) so passionate about Yellowberry that it didn’t matter if other people didn’t agree with it, or like me for working on it.
Q. Did you ever have friends who put you down when told you them your ideas?
A. They weren’t really my friends, but there were definitely kids in my high school who were incredibly mean to me about “My terrible, stupid, awful bra idea.” I think any time you do something different from your peers in middle school or high school, it makes it very easy for a group of self-conscious teenagers to make fun of it. When I look back, I still remember how awful they made me feel, but I also see that they had their own insecurities to deal with every day.
Q. What was the first step you took turning your idea into a business?
A. Two things happened: first, I ordered fabric online in a bunch of different colors that I took to a local seamstress in my town. And secondly, I checked a book out from the library that’s called “How To Write a Business Plan” and I wrote a plan for what I wanted Yellowberry to become. I look at both the original samples and that business plan and am SO embarrassed because they were terrible! But, it takes several tries, edits, versions, redos, etc. until you land on something that works. As you continuously stumble forward and learn from each misstep along the way, that’s when you will find yourself with a finished product and a new business ready to launch! There is no step-by-step guide, and there are a lot of mistakes and things that go wrong. I think that’s part of building something from nothing. It’s not easy!
Q. You made a big decision to not go to college, do you ever regret that? A. I definitely do not regret starting my own company and choosing to focus my life on Yellowberry! But that’s a still HUGE, life-altering decision to make. On a personal level, it’s scary. So, to help understand if this decision to defer indefinitely from college was right for me, at the end of each day I ask myself a question. “Would I have learned this in college?” and if the answer is “No,” then I know I’m doing something right. So far, literally every single day, I have answered “No.” On the flipside of that, I do feel that I’m missing out on a lot of the social aspects of college. My friends I graduated high school with are now halfway through their junior year having so much fun with so many incredible experiences! It’s been a learning curve to understand that although my own experiences are different, they are what’s right for me!
Q. Did you ever think you might fail at this? A. No. I never doubted my idea, or the ability to figure out how to make this work. Now, that’s not to say I have all the answers - I do not! There is so much more to build, grow and create. But, what I have never doubted for a second is that the bra industry for girls needs to change, and Yellowberry exists today to make that happen.
Q. Young girls can sometimes be mean to each other, do you find that other women entrepreneurs are supportive?
A. Absolutely! So much more than I could have imagined. It’s an incredible time to be a woman entrepreneur, and the community of female founders, mentors, executives, investors and business women in general is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s super competitive, but not in the way that means only helping yourself and never anyone else. It’s competitive in a cohesive way that’s more like, “We can all do this, we can have our own careers and help one another navigate their way through. We can learn from each other, offer advice, help, mentorship and a strong sense of community.” It’s been special to be a part of it!
Q. What female do you look up to the most?
A. This is such a hard question! A have a couple of women that have mentored along the way with Yellowberry. And then there are women I admire from afar, that I still feel like I can learn from. I am not sure I could choose just one! But, I think one of the most dynamic, inspiring, kind, insightful and hard-working women I’ve met and had the opportunity to work with is Jen Foyle. Not only is she so incredibly accomplished, but I have been able to learn so much. When I think of the woman I want to one day be, I think of Jen!
Interview conducted by Delamey P, Huntington, NY (age 9)