Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist with a passion for real estate and design. She is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles – a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.
Where did the idea for Styles for Smiles come from?
I am personally very proud of starting my own charity – Bryn’s Styles for Smiles – where I sell bracelets to raise proceeds for the Smile Train organization, which helps to repair cleft palates of children in developing countries. I am passionate about helping children and being a role model for those younger than me. This organization has given me an opportunity to be that role model.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Whatever my day tends to look like I try to be organized. Even on the weekends I do try and schedule my time so that I can accomplish what I need to do, prioritize those items and tackle them early. Some days I spend focusing on studying and schoolwork, and others I spend putting more focus and energy into self-care, marketing, and growing my businesses and personal brand. I’ve found that time management is so important and don’t procrastinate!
How do you bring ideas to life?
To bring an idea to life one thing I like to incorporate is asking others who have brought their ideas to life how best to do it. For instance, I am passionate about reworking recipes and finding ways to make them a healthier alternative that still taste good! I routinely email and ask chefs from many parts of the restaurant industry their advice on favorite swaps they’ve made! Some of my favorite swaps consist of regular rice to Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower, flour to almond flour, and noodles to zucchini noodles!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love when old fashion trends come full circle…I always try to add a retro touch to my outfits without overdoing it. Flare jeans are a staple in my closet and I’ve found some fun jeans with patterns adding a retro yet a modern trend. For example, the Free People Float On jeans are IT!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I love to ask for feedback from customers – asking them why they chose what they did and always ask them for pictures! I love to see pictures from customers with my bracelets on! They are excited and love their new addition!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I believe it’s important to always remain your authentic self – to remain true to who you are, where you have come from, and where you are headed. I would also encourage myself to surround myself with people who accept all of what you are, and when you do that life becomes that much better!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I wish I didn’t have to sleep! Sometimes I have so many ideas, lists I am making in my mind, and creative thoughts that I wish I could hurry through the night and go right on to my next project! I realize many around me would absolutely not agree!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing I have struggled to master is letting myself fully rest! I love to be on the go, and my mom always jokes with me that I only rest when I am simply exhausted. So I believe you must rest in order to recharge your batteries and therefore be ready and are capable of being creative as an entrepreneur! That way, you will have new ideas, new ambitions and can embrace new challenges.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Recently I have had customers ask me for custom designs, and at first, I thought this would be much more difficult, would take much longer, and would require a bigger expense as I would need materials outside of what I usually order. This actually ended up being an incredible opportunity as I learned how to order items differently and led to larger and larger orders!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think initially when I started my bracelet business I didn’t have a clear vision of my market. I look back at that now and see it as an incredible opportunity that eventually I grabbed ahold of, and that was the number of men and guys my age who love them and wear them! I only thought of it as something a female might order, but that was not the case at all. I had a huge market for my guy friends, too!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Certainly a plane ticket to Palm Springs with 15 of my closest girlfriends. What’s funny is that it was the most expensive part of the weekend. We ate our own food, stayed at my friend Karina’s house, and really indulged in nature and soaking in the waves and sunshine – no cost at all!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The app Trello is something I cannot live without. Being a list-maker, this app/website allows me to create lists of what I need to do, order the tasks at the level of importance, and archive them when completed. For example, one of my lists on Trello is “Free Time to do” – complete with “create a new vision board, organize the pantry, go through clothes and donate, car wash…..”. This allows me always to have something constructive to do!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book Snowball is a phenomenal read, inspiring one in the mind of business and life.
What is your favorite quote?
“Your brain is powerful. Mindset is everything. Feed your mind with positive thoughts, and you will notice that your life will begin to change completely.”
- To bring ideas to life, seek out experts who have already done it.
- Get customer feedback and photos with your product – it will help you to build closer relationships with your customers and provide them with better solutions.
- Always stay true to yourself.
- Take opportunities to provide your customer with what they want even if you are unsure how to do it at first.
- You may be surprised who your market is once you launch the product!
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.