Upon walking into a dimly lit room, one lined with strangers at that, your survival instincts veer you somewhere towards the warmest and most radiating smile in the room. Either that or someone visual like myself locates a couple of the more interestingly dressed in the room. Who knew the lady with the striking red lipstick and Michelle Williams pixie cut would turn out to be 17-year-old retail and media entrepreneur, Chloe Tomalin, guest speaker at the Little Miss Creative networking event.
One of the youngest retailers ever to open a store at just 16-years-old, her acute business sense developed some time before puberty selling sweets on school trips. An online boutique, teen mag and media company later, Chloe’s the CEO and founder of 31B Store, showcasing her love of aesthetic with growing multimedia talent.
Private-school educated and a mum with her own lingerie store, her story at first seemed wrapped in bubble wrap, fairies and twinkle dust but beneath the success story was horrendous bullying – she was spat at on her first day of attending state school by her own choosing – a breakdown, which lead to taking a year out during her GCSEs and a fighting spirit which made Chloe’s journey all the more powerful and insightful.
Captivated by her enthusiastic delivery of what can only be described as an organic entrepreneurial process, she imparted subtle nuggets of empowering advice for anyone who’s driven towards success, whatever their pursuits.
Chloe’s Lessons for Success:
Lesson 1: It’s who you know.
Doors are almost always opened by someone that you’re already connected with. Take the time to nurture those relationships as it makes life so much easier. Network and put yourself out there but not too much that people either a) get bored or b) write you off as being pushy.
Lesson 2: “You don’t need money to be successful.”
When there’s a will there’s a way. Chloe started her first official business with a £100 stash of pocket money and while studying media at college full-time, transports her office to the open access area and borrows costly equipment. Don’t be too proud for second-hand.
Lesson 3: Self-belief is everything.
Refusals from high-street banks for a loan and threats of a bomb attack to her store, still didn’t deter this determined young lady from her ambitions. You will have doubters and ‘haters’ as much as I dislike that word, so get used to it and make it happen regardless.
Lesson 4: “It takes passion, persistence and patience.”
Nothing happens overnight. Chloe, by her own admittance, has only just developed a social life after been a recluse in her office for two-years working up to 50-hours-a-week. Be prepared for good days and bad days but it will all pay off in the end.
Lesson 5: “If you don’t, you won’t.”
You could be out there living someone else’s dream for them or creating a custom-made, fabulous one of your own but if you never act, it will never happen. Don’t say you’re going to do it, just do it. Nike.
For her latest project, I’m sorry what did you say? – tipped to be the next ASOS, click here.
Check out 31B store for individual and alternative fashion.