We're starting something new here at Hatch Tribe, because we've discovered some stunning female entrepreneurs who fall into the bright, young, millennial age group—and we want to help them shine!
Our first Millennial Moment spotlight is on Carlie Christenson, the rockstar behind Boob-eez.
At the age of 10, Carlie discovered her inner entrepreneur. As her body began to develop, she felt self-conscious, and started borrowing her mother's array of adhesive bras and nipple coverings. Inspired by the idea that other developing young women were facing her same insecurities, Carlie came up with her own idea of what would work better. With help from her parents, she invented the perfect product and named it Boob-eez because it made boobs "easier."
Here's what Carlie has to share about how she manages running her own company while doubling as a college student.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Sugar, spice and everything nice!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
In life: The best advice I’ve ever received is from my mom, Emilie. She is a local boutique owner in Neptune Beach, Fla., devoted to healing women with top-of-the-line retail therapy! Back home she is everybody’s mentor – friends, family, employees, customers – bringing fresh perspective to sticky situations and business advice to those needing an outside opinion. Nurturing by nature and a powerful woman by practice, my mom never fails in helping me get my head out of the clouds. My favorite piece of wisdom is a quote: “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.” She preaches to be careful with our inner magnets and what they attract – that it’s important to “focus on one thing at a time,” and “do the best we can with what we have.”
In business: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to “ask for advice as much as possible. Not only can we stand out to whoever we’ve engaged with, but the opportunities that may arise with moments of confidence could change the course of your businesses!” We don’t have to be professionals in all trades. Asking questions leads to much needed answers. I’ve gathered that it’s okay to change roles from the ‘master’ to the ‘pupil,’ because as a leader, it’s important to be innovative and malleable, being open to new ideas and ways of getting stuff done – in order to reach those profound light-bulb moments!
What has been the toughest obstacle you’ve had to face as an entrepreneur?
College. Period. It’s been a major balancing act trying to be successful in business while making the most of my time as a student. Not to mention valuing my social life, traveling, community service, and making sure I visit my parents frequently enough (all the stuff that makes my soul happy). College, in general, has been a whirlwind of opportunity! But it’s also been the hardest commitment I’ve ever made. In business, I think we can all agree there’s just not enough hours in the day. I dream about spending all my time, money and effort on Boob-eez, and although it’s doing good thanks to a team of extraordinary women and men working behind the scenes for my mom and me, my attention isn’t as focused as I want it to be right now. I love school and learning almost to a fault – studying eats up a lot of my energy – and so my business suffers a little bit because being a student is like having a full-time job. I get caught up in thinking “oh, the places I’ve yet to go!” BUT Planning and patience will get me there.
College first, Boob-eez forever.
How do you balance the entrepreneur lifestyle with having a social life?
At first, it was really difficult. My Freshman into my Sophomore year of college I was a total introvert thinking that all the magic had to happen behind the scenes like the wizard of Oz… but that truly isn’t the case! The second I broke down my walls and opened myself up to talking to new people, asking their advice, and exploring organizations outside of the College of Charleston (AKA Hatch Tribe!), Boob-eez not only gained more traction but I became a happier human all around. I found that being social was the recipe for success – who knew?
I’m a total walking billboard. Students on campus call me “Boob-eez,” instead of “Carlie!” It doesn’t matter where I go, Boob-eez always seems to be talked about. I admire the flow of conversation from Boob-eez to feminism, business, ICAT (Start-ups in Charleston), environmental concerns, politics, and the future. I find it important to soak in various perspectives because I have so much to learn and you can learn a lot from people in general! Boob-eez and I have grown up together. It is just as much a part of my identity as I am a part of it, so my social life gives IT life, and I hope Boob-eez’s voice as a brand gains credibility socially while I do as well.
How have your parents played a role in your journey?
My parents are far more than just parents. They’re my best friend, my advisor, my business partner and my inspiration. My mom, Emilie, is the owner of Jaffi’s Boutique and previous owner of Kyds Boutique in Neptune Beach, Fla.. She started her business career working for Merrill Lynch, moved to Jacksonville, FL., fell in love with my dad, had my sister and I and then left her corporate world for a life of being her own boss! My Dad started up his own company, Surf Source, when he was 21 with only $60 while attending Flagler College in St. Augustine and grew it to reach supply chains worldwide! Their perseverance in business doesn’t only make me proud, but provides a pretty badass blueprint to learn from!
Apart from being the most selfless individuals I will ever know, they’ve raised my sister and I to “treat others as we’d like to be treated,” to work hard and to appreciate hard work. To be genuine is to be respected, and in business, this has helped them establish a cherished, long-lasting place in our community. I would not be where I am today (beautiful CofC with a booming business) if it weren’t for them and I thank my lucky stars to have had their help when I pitched them my idea back in 2008 (I was 9 years old). They are the developers, and I, the direction.
Do you view age as being a disadvantage or advantage, and why?
I view being younger as more beneficial for some. Especially child entrepreneurs if they have help contacting the right people. Naturally, we are built to nurture the young, don’t you think? From experience, although I was surrounded by men and women who wanted to see me successful, I lacked the expertise to deal with volume effectively and fully run a business because I was 10 years old and more worried about getting an A on my spelling test. Although my parents kept Boob-eez afloat, I lost the passion for our project once I hit middle school and into high-school because I didn’t realize how cool owning a business was! I lost a lot of time that could have been directed toward Boob-eez and I blame it on my youth and lack of focus.
As we get older, it gets easier to understand the structure and strategy that goes along with building a brand altogether. The ins and outs get more complex, but we become more confident and knowledgeable which makes it way more fun! It’s all about persistence and presence. Don’t let age hold you back because it’s never the “right" time.
How do you tackle self-doubt when it comes up?
When I get stuck thinking about all things negative, first I recognize that horrible space that I’m in and fall into it trying to discover why. Then, I quite literally count my blessings and think about all the extraordinary aspect of my own, unique life.
How do you literally count your blessings?
I have multiple journals and diaries hidden around my room. I’ve kept journals since I was young and reading back and laughing (and crying) really help me feel more in touch with who I am. It’s easy to lose sight of personal identity. Scrolling through social media, noses stuck in books, minds glued to TV series with complex characters and close to perfect actors take a toll on our natural response to compare ourselves. Usually feelings of jealousy or anxiety are signals to change something, so listen to your gut and maybe change is needed.
What is your favorite social media platform and how has it impacted your business?
I’ve loved Instagram from the get-go. Pictures are worth 1000+ words and it’s the platform I find the simplest, most concise and informative. I love art and think the curation of a cool page is appealing and great for brands trying to develop a cool experience for customers.
What is your favorite way to de-stress?
Three important de-stressors for me are bubble-baths, the gym, and the ocean. As long as I make time for myself, do something active and spend time in the sun I am a pleasant person!
Say a young entrepreneur with a brilliant idea is reading this and is hesitant in making the leap into entrepreneurship. What is your advice for her?
Youth is on your side! Hustle now so that your future self will thank you later.
Find someone to help you develop your dream and don’t lose sight of it. You don’t have to do everything yourself – you’re not supposed to! Study those who are successful, trust your own intuition and no matter how distant or hard to achieve your goals may be, it’s the baby steps that will get you there.
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