23-year-old Kendall Glazer runs the charm jewelry company, Stoney Clover Lane, with her 21-year-old sister, Libby. Kendall talked to Like a Boss Girls about Stoney Clover Lane’s charity work, what it’s like running a business with her sister, and how they managed to keep the company going while attending college. So we interviewed them about how they build a business while still in college.
How did Stoney Clover Lane get started?
My sister and I started it almost six years ago. I was about to go into my freshman year of college at Tulane, and Libby was going into her junior year of high school. We were home over the summer and bored, and we started making beaded bracelets. We ended up meeting Taylor Swift about a week later. We gave her bracelets and she wore them in a photo shoot. We posted photos on Facebook, and all of a sudden, people were like “I wanna buy these.” We had just learned about the charity The Dream Foundation, and I knew I wanted to do something to raise money for them. So we were like, why not sell the bracelets and raise money for The Dream Foundation? So that’s kind of how everything got started.
What is the Dream Foundation?
The Dream Foundation grants wishes to people who are over the age of 18 and are terminally ill. The dreams can range from wanting to meet a celebrity or going to a sporting event, or just like, getting a laptop or something for their house, or a visit with someone in their family that they haven’t seen… the dreams really range in cost. It’s kind of like Make a Wish, but for people over 18. There’s all different ages—you’ll have someone who wants to meet Lady Gaga, and you’ll have someone who just wants a hearing aid.
Why is it important to you to work with charities?
We are so lucky to be able to be doing what we love, and we want to be able to give back. As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved giving back, and helping people. When I was in middle school, my sister and I did a big lemonade stand to raise money after Hurricane Katrina. I sold T-shirts in high school to raise money for Make a Wish. Since we have a big platform now to be able to tell people about something and raise money, we’re happy to be able to help other people.
What is it like working with your sister?
It’s fun. It’s crazy. Right now, my sister is a senior in college. There’s three people who work for us – me, my sister Libby, and our best friend Gabby. We’re the whole company. So right now, it’s just me and Gabby day to day in the office in New York. I think working with Libby is fun, because it’s like working with your best friend, but it’s also tricky, because other people leave the office and go home, and they’re done talking about the company for the day. But with us, we’ll be on vacation with our family and my mom’s coming up with ideas and my sister’s coming up with ideas. Sometimes it’s like “We need a break!” but other times it’s great – I can text her at one in the morning with an idea.
Do you ever disagree about things?
Sometimes, but not really – we’re both different. I’m really creative and I like coming up with big ideas. I come up with ideas for the charms, and finding people to source the different things we’re doing. Libby really loves social media, and she loves packaging and presentation. She’s much more organized than I am. We work really well together.
What do you do when you’re not making jewelry?
I’m pretty much always thinking of new ideas for Stoney Clover. I’ll be in a store, and I’ll be like “Oh, that’s cute… we could do this, this and this.” I’m always writing ideas down in my phone. At night, I’ll sit in my bed, on Etsy or Pinterest, just looking up new ideas or new people to work with. Stoney Clover is always in the back of my head. There’s no way it would be as successful as it is if we didn’t love what we do.
You graduated two years ago. When you and Libby were both in school, how did you balance that with running a company?
School was definitely our first priority. When we first started, the first two years, my sister was still in high school, and she handled the online orders from home. I would still do stuff on social media and with celebrities, but she was filling the orders. When she started her freshman year – my junior and senior year – I kind of took over and did all the orders from my house at school. We definitely put a lot of time into it, but it would be like, I’d spend a few hours once a week doing orders. It wasn’t something I’d do every day. Other times, my friends would help me. It always got done, but there were so many other things going on. It was my #2 priority, so we always figured out a way to make it work.
Are there any challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Sometimes we’ll come up with big ideas, but we’re still a small company, so trying to figure out the best way to implement them is hard. Sometimes I see other companies doing cool things, and I think “I would love to do something like that,” but they’re a company of 45 people, and we’re a company of 3 people. Sometimes my ideas are too big, and we have to take a step back, and say, “Well, how can we make this work for us?”
How hard was it for you to set up the online store and start selling pieces through it?
It’s really transformed over the years. When we first started, our aunt was our first customer. She wanted to buy ten sets of bracelets for her friends for gifts. We made the bracelet sets for her and took pictures of them. The files were too big to send in an email, so I put them on an Apple website and sent her a link. That link then started getting passed around, so that was our first website. There were pictures, but you’d have to email us to order. You’d figure out what you wanted, and then I would email you an invoice, and that’s how the order was done. That went on for about nine months. Once we started making sales, and having more money, we got our first website where you could order directly through us. I think now, five and a half or six years later, it’s a lot easier to start your own website. There are a lot of websites that make it easy for you, like Squarespace, where you can make really professional looking websites yourself, which is really cool.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting out with their own company?
I think you have to really love what you’re doing. I think we’re really lucky, because we started it as a hobby and then it turned into a business. I think that’s what’s kept it really successful. Also, you can’t plan for certain things. I think that if we had come up with a business plan, and said, “In one year, we’d like to be here… In two years, we’d like to be making this much money…” you can get disappointed. I think you have to have realistic expectations – or even no expectations, because then you get really excited about everything that happens. We could never have expected to be where we are today when we first started. I would never even have dreamed to be where we are. I think when you find something you really love, and people who really love what you’re doing, it grows automatically. It can flourish into something amazing.
You need to have people around you who really support what you’re doing. I’ve had people say to me, “I’ve studied business, and you should be doing this.” Great, but I’ve had a business for six years, and I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I think that kind of gives you the upper hand. Try it and fail if you have to. Nothing’s going to be perfect – we’ve had a million things go wrong, but then two million things go right. Every big thing that happens you have to appreciate. I still get as excited to see a celebrity wearing our stuff now as I did the first time.
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