Today’s career profile features Samantha Cooper, someone I’m fortunate to call a close friend and peer mentor. Samantha and I met at a networking event two years ago and immediately clicked. We even have a small, intimate Lean In group with one of our other friends, Evann. When Samantha and I met she was working at a corporate job and it has been so exciting to watch her chase her dreams and build Trend Tribe, a successful company that empowers Gen Y women. I know you’ll love her advice just as much as I do!
What inspired you to start Trend Tribe?
When I was in college, I was craving an opportunity where I could do more than file papers and get coffee so I started designing and selling my own jewelry. It totally changed my life. To be honest, some of the most glamorous internships in fashion can be unfulfilling and I felt totally underutilized. The college woman today is more sophisticated and educated than ever before. She needs an outlet like Trend Tribe where she can apply her skills in a real world setting and see her own ideas come to life. That’s the inspiration for Trend Tribe.
How would you explain Trend Tribe in a few sentences?
Trend Tribe is a New York based accessories company that not only has the hottest trends at the most affordable price (everything is less than $50!), but also provides college students hands-on experience as philanthropic fashionpreneurs.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business?
-Be open to change: Your business plan will probably not go according to plan.
-Savor the small accomplishments: When you have a big dream, it can be easy to beat yourself up for not “being where you want to be.” Be proud of yourself for everything you accomplish here and now. Your dream will only continue to get bigger as you grow more and more.
-Make time for friends and family: Even if it’s a 20 minute lunch date, it will fuel you for the next few days.
What are some of the best things, and on the flip side the most challenging things, about starting your own business?
1. Seeing your dream come to life every single day!
2. Being surrounded by beautiful, sparkly jewelry!
3. The support of my friends and family through the ups AND the downs. They undoubtedly believe in me and that fuels me on the tough days.
1. Constantly putting your heart on the line.
2. Turning my mind off. I’m ALWAYS thinking about Trend Tribe.
3. Going to the gym. I never have time to workout. Well, I guess I never worked out. Now I just blame it on Trend Tribe!
Can you explain the Trendsetter program? What are a few great things Trendsetter’s have accomplished so far?
Trendsetters host on-campus fashion events and online marketing campaigns promoting Trend Tribe. Through this experience our Trendsetters are gaining real world, hands on experience in marketing, merchandising, sales, communications, PR, social media, and event planning.
Their biggest accomplishment is being able to put the quantitative results that come from their events and campaigns on their resumes, to stand out from the competition and ultimately land their dream job or internship. Of course there are tons of perks like monthly free jewelry credits, access to fashion industry professionals, and being a part of network of other go getter fashionistas!
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
I’m shocked that colleges don’t teach more about personal finance. It can be so complicated and overwhelming and no matter what your career is and how much money you make, understanding how to manage personal finances is crucial. I’m still learning!
What advice would you give to someone who is in the first five years of their career?
Take risks and be bold.
You’ll never have as little responsibility and financial obligations as you do now. I’m SO happy I started my company at such a young age. I don’t have a family to support or a mortgage to pay, so I can make business decisions without all the pressure. There’s a safety net in knowing I have a lot of time to establish my business before “life” gets in the way.
How would you define your professional style? What are a few staples?
My personal style is sophisticated with a punch of sparkle, naturally. On any given day you can find me wearing skinny jeans, a blazer, heels, and a statement necklace. That’s my go-to.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
My besties! Each of us has such a unique personal style. It’s my priority to make sure there’s something for everyone on Trend Tribe so if there’s something each of my friends would wear, I know I’ve covered my bases.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve received invaluable advice from so many of my mentors, but there was one particular day that I was feeling totally defeated and my boyfriend had me watch this famous speech by Jimmy V. It totally stuck with me. One of my favorite quotes from the speech is “Every day ordinary people do extraordinary things.” You don’t have to have a fancy MBA or a ton of connections to be successful. Be yourself and go for it. Be extraordinary.
What is a fun fact about you?
My sorority voted me, “most likely to be mistaken as Carrie Bradshaw!”
What is your favorite quote?
“It may not all happen today, but it’s all going to happen.”
Thank you, Samantha!
Images via Samantha Cooper, bSmart Guide, and Levo League.