It’s Female Founder Friday and I couldn’t be happier to introduce you to the co-founder of Princess Awesome, Eva St. Clair. Princess Awesome makes girls’ clothes with colors and themes usually found only in the boys’ department. As mothers, Eva and her co-founder were frustrated with the limitations of all of the pink and princess clothes, so they founded a company that makes dresses with dinosaurs, Pi symbols, sharks, fire trucks, rockets, and more. These entrepreneurs’ sentiments were echoed by parents everywhere. Princess Awesome raised an astounding $215,000 on Kickstarter in 2015, and has continued to experience double-digit growth since then! Having sat on a panel with Eva, I can attest to her dedication to her company and the fun she is having creating fashion that breaks gender stereotypes.
So if you’re building a company that solves a gender stereotype problem or are curious how two non-business women built a beloved fashion brand, don’t miss Eva’s candid answers to my questions below!
What inspired you to create your company?
My friend Rebecca was shopping for her daughter one day – she was buying pajamas from the boys’ section that had rockets and dinosaurs on them and she thought, “Why are there no dresses or girls’ clothes with dinosaurs? My kid would totally love to wear that.” A couple days later she asked me if I wanted to start a company that made clothes for girls with adventure and STEM themes. I said yes right away – what a great idea! Girls would love those clothes, and more importantly, we believed they deserved them. All those awesome things are for girls and boys and all kids should be able to express their interests through their clothing.
What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?
The biggest challenge to getting the business started was that neither of us had any experience in either fashion or business. We had to learn everything on the fly – and we did! But it definitely took longer than if we had known at least a little about either profession.
We love our work and are so very delighted every day to see little girls wearing our dresses – twirling, roaring, exploring, laughing, dancing, solving problems, and being themselves. We’re going to be making more awesome clothes for awesome girls, staying focused on what girls love and want to wear.
What is a life or business hack that you recommend to help other female founders?
You don’t have to base your business operations on existing models. I had it in my head that a business means working X hours at a desk in an office with HR and employees and all that jazz – and that I couldn’t have my children around while I did it. Well heck. I can run my business my way – I make my own schedule and often my kids are home or nearby when I’m working. I don’t have to raise rounds of capital to keep the cash flow working, and to grow the business. I don’t have to double every year to be happy with how the business is running. How I achieve work-life balance is completely up to me.
Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.
Find a business partner. I can’t imagine trying to run a business without Rebecca. We complement each other well, and are good sounding boards for each other too.