Over the past two years of launching and growing Trend Tribe, I get asked the same questions over and over. I love how interested people are in entrepreneurship these days. It’s so exciting to hear about people’s dreams and goals and I’m honored to share my advice to help them make it a reality.
Hearing myself share the same stories and advice repeatedly got me thinking about compiling it all in one place and I figured, why not share it on our TT blog? So here it goes … post #1 about all-things entrepreneurship …
The question I get asked MOST frequently is, “How did you get the idea for Trend Tribe?”
I share the shortened version here, but if you’re interested in the fullllll story and not-always-shared details, keep reading …
Let me preface this by saying I ALWAYS wanted to start my own business. As a child. I used to set up “The Store” on Thanksgiving Day and sold all of my toys to my family members who were over for Thanksgiving dinner. Lets just say they weren’t thrilled by the fact that they had to buy back the toys they originally purchased for me. Ha!
Fast forward to my freshman year at Babson College. I was DYING to get an internship in fashion. The Hills made it seem like everyone could land an internship at Teen Vogue, amirite?! I realized quickly that fashion companies never heard of Babson, an all-business school with zero fashion courses, and would barely read my resume.
That summer I went back to my hometown in Long Beach, NY with no internship in hand. I desperately needed to do something that would keep me busy. Whatever I did, I knew I needed to follow my love for fashion so instead of waitressing or babysitting, I decided to start making my own jewelry.
At the time, I was taking vintage charms and chains I found on ebay and assembled them into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Trust me, it was nothing super high-tech or fancy. I started selling the pieces at local events and fairs and hosted a few trunk shows at my parents house. I even had pieces on consignment at a local boutique which I thought was the coolest thing ever at the time.
My sorority sisters saw on Facebook what I was up to that summer and encouraged me to bring my jewelry back to campus in the Fall. I hosted trunk shows with the chapter and donated a percentage of sales to our sorority’s philanthropy, Make-A-Wish. Soon enough, my friends from home who went to other schools asked if I could send them my jewelry so they could also host trunk shows with their sororities.
That’s when I realized I was on to something.
I kept my jewelry business alive through my sophomore year but quickly realized I couldn’t balance studying, making jewelry, and hosting trunk shows all while looking for internships. The jewelry business went on pause as I began the hunt for another fashion internship.
This time around I jazzed up my resume with my jewelry business experience and applied for my dream internship at Barneys New York. Believe it or not, I got the internship!!
Barneys loved the experience I had creating my own jewelry business. It DEFINITELY helped me stand out from the competition.
The whole experience also got me thinking, “What do other college students do to build their resume with real world experience?” I knew first hand how hard it was to get an internship, but saw how a little experience can make a huge difference.
After doing some research, I saw there were two types of opportunities that existed for college students …
1) Become a campus rep for a company and hand out free swag and collect email address.
Womp. It sounds cool at first, but you’re pretty much just being used by companies to do their marketing for free and you’re not really gaining much real world experience.
2) Work for a traditional direct sales companies.
This option is great for some people, but I still felt like the prices were too high. Who really spends $80 on a statement necklace?
Realizing there was a real gap in the market, the idea for Trend Tribe was born. My goal was to create an opportunity that provided hands-on experience, but was also affordable (I’m saying, like $14-$30 kind of affordable).
And as the saying goes, the rest was history!
I’m no longer making the jewelry myself and we’re beginning to grow beyond college campuses, but that’s where it all began!
If you’re considering starting a business, I hope this story helps you realize that sometimes you just need to get started. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you don’t know what the eff you’re doing, even if it’s scary. Just put it all out there. It’s worth it. I promise.
To this day, the idea for Trend Tribe is continuing to evolve and grow. I’m working on some BIG projects and I can’t wait to keep you all in the loop as it starts to come together.
In the meantime, I’d love to know: What other questions do you have about entrepreneurship, fashion, or being a woman in business? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer your questions in future blog posts!