Generation-Y grew up in a tumultuous era. We endured a recession and watched as the economy, housing market and an abundance of financial institutions tanked. However, instead of falling victim to the tough economic times and losing our motivation, we gained drive and a determination to battle through with hard work and a newfound sense of entrepreneurship. These are principles that have been at the foundation of our country from the beginning, and Gen-Y seems to be embracing them now, more than ever.
What is interesting is how, now recovering from the past few dark economic years, female entrepreneurs are growing in number and becoming a strong force to reckon with in the job market and economy. More than ever before, young women are starting their own businesses and proving that they are just as viable as the male population in the workplace.
One of these fresh Gen-Y females is Stefanie Olesen, whose initiative and originality sparked the now flourishing brand, SOGlamDesigns.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800"] SoGlam's Founder Stefanie Olesen[/caption]
I had the opportunity to speak with Olesen on what inspired her to start her own business, the challenges she faced along the way and advice she has for females in our generation who are willing to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
SOGlamDesigns is a headband and hair accessory line, which was inspired, as so many businesses are, by personal need. Stefanie, a New Jersey native, wanted something stylish that would also serve to protect her ears during a particularly cold winter in 2011. She decided to craft her own headband and was astonished by the reactions she received from complete strangers. The overwhelmingly positive feedback motivated Olesen to head home and immediately start creating more.
From there, SOGlam was born, and by marketing the product herself and selling them to local stores, Olesen’s headbands began to gain attention.
Stefanie quickly learned how challenging it is to start your own business, as she found herself responsible for not only creating the product, but also covering all marketing opportunities and building a brand image on her own. By utilizing social media, Olsen began to increase outreach and gain a following for her brand.
A pivotal moment for SoGlam was with the debut of the “turban” style headband. As a student at The University of Rhode Island, people from sororities, clubs and sports teams were reaching out to Stefanie to inquire about ordering headbands. The company took off like wildfire and her realization of how popular her brand had become on campus came when Olesen saw students she had never even met rocking her headbands.
“My brand was finally being recognized, and if you know you’ve done everything in your power to work as hard as you can, then nothing beats the feeling of well-earned success.”
SOGlamDesigns headbands are 100 percent handmade by Olesen, and that is what sets them apart from other competitors in the market. Taking the time and dedication to truly ensure your product is well made and unique has become a growing trend among Gen-Y startups. This work ethic is even seen in companies as well recognized as Facebook and Tumblr.
The CEOs of these companies are still involved and hands-on in the processes of growing their products, albeit websites, and making sure their content is original and efficient for users. Business owners dedicating themselves to customer satisfaction is one of the main reasons the economy has turned around.
Olesen wants young females to know that embarking on an entrepreneurial idea is worth it. There will be plenty of challenges along the way, and you will face rejection, but if you have confidence in yourself and truly work as hard as you can to achieve your goal, you will find success and most importantly, gain invaluable knowledge along the way.
“Starting a business is stressful, fun, exciting and nerve-wracking all mixed into one. Stay determined, set goals for yourself and stay patient. The harder you work, the more rewarding your accomplishments will be.”
As for the brand, SOGlamDesigns is gaining tons of attention because, among a competitive market, it’s a really great product! Stefanie’s own sense of style definitely attributes to the growing success of the brand. Pulling on trends, she is able to create fashionable headbands that can be worn in a variety of settings. Whether casual - think skinny jeans and a big sweater - or even doing Yoga/working out, her headbands are not only stylish, but also completely functional.
SOGlam headbands can be used in the winter to keep your ears warm in the cold temperatures, or in the summer to push your hair back while the sun is heating you up - they are fashionable in any season.
While Stefanie has begun to taste success, her ambition and motivation hasn’t slowed in the least. She is focused on continuing to establish her brand, while also upholding amazing customer service and satisfaction. In continuing to improve the company, Olesen recently added infinity scarves to the SOGlamDesgins collection. In addition, she plans on launching "BabyGlam" in the future, a subdivision of SOGlam, which will be aimed towards mothers, grandparents and anyone with a close relationship to an infant - boy or girl.
Stefanie is proving that, as a young woman in our generation, there are truly no limits to what you can do in business if you dedicate yourself and work hard to reach your goals. Her journey is inspiring, to say the least, and is certainly only going to continue to grow.
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr