Curated and bespoke merchandise boxed and shipped on to shoppers are enormously fashionable proper now, and with good purpose; as my interview with Freshly founder Michael Wystrach illustrated, persons are keen to pay for each comfort and a superb product, notably as on-line purchasing has grow to be the dominant mode of commerce.
If comfort and high quality are what individuals need, what nearly all of us want is each self-care and leisure, and that’s what Cuddle Box is offering. Based by Phoebe Chen, one more entrepreneurial wunderkind, Cuddle Field affords customized, artisanal self-care routines, and as befitting this newest technology of ever-younger founders, it has an eye fixed in the direction of higher good, with a course of that emphasizes financial and environmental sustainability. I spoke with Phoebe about her journey as a younger entrepreneur, her perspective on the enterprise world, and her targets for each herself and her firm.
Mary Juetten: What’s the identify of your organization and the place are you primarily based?
Phoebe Chen: My firm is Cuddle Field, a self-care curation firm, and it’s primarily based in Jersey! Nevertheless, we’re in the course of a rebranding to open up an even bigger imaginative and prescient past care packages so maintain your eyes open for some recent updates this spring.
Juetten: When did you begin?
Chen: I began Cuddle Field on my sixteenth birthday. Nevertheless, my journey into entrepreneurship began at age six once I had the sensible thought of promoting cups of grime and moss to my neighbors as “potted vegetation.” I made $20 in two weeks and I believed to myself, “Wow, enterprise is my calling!”
Juetten: What drawback are you fixing?
Chen: We’re fixing three issues. Primary is that an enormous majority of presents available on the market are generic items made by large companies. All our merchandise are fastidiously made by native artisans and customized to the recipient! Financial sustainability is one thing I actually care about, so apart from working to supply an even bigger platform to my artisans, I additionally donated a portion of Cuddle Field’s earnings as a grant to Haitian entrepreneurs final summer season.
Quantity two is that self-care merchandise are sometimes made in large batches with chemically-ridden elements. We don’t–– all our merchandise are clear and cruelty-free.
Quantity three is that individuals, particularly now, typically neglect self-care which is why burnout charges are skyrocketing. Our purpose is to convey self-care routines from the fingers of artisans the world.
It’s a win, win, win scenario: good for the artisans, good for the planet, and good for you.
Juetten: Who’re your prospects and the way do you discover them?
Chen: I’ve one-time prospects who buy Cuddle Packing containers as a leisure care bundle for themselves or for a beloved one, however my greatest market is companies– from Gen-Z tech corporations to actual property co-signing businesses. I acknowledged that plenty of corporations, from all industries, have challenges giving a “thanks” present to their valued purchasers and staff and Cuddle Field strives to vary this. I discover most of my company purchasers by LinkedIn chilly messaging and heat contacts.
Juetten: How did previous initiatives and/or expertise assist with this new undertaking?
Chen: My first enterprise was Hephaestus Hand, the place I used to be on-boarded because the director of operations. Hephaestus Hand was a startup that produced one of many least costly battery-powered prosthetic fingers available on the market using 3D-printed know-how. This undoubtedly opened my eyes to the truth that teenagers may accomplish what society deemed as “inconceivable.”
Juetten: Who’s in your group?
Chen: On the chief group, it’s simply me. Nevertheless, I did rent a number of different teenagers who’re volunteering to assist me out with advertising and marketing, operations and graphic design. Shout out to Sophia, Angela, and Alexa!
Juetten: Did you increase cash?
Chen: I didn’t increase angel or VC funding, however I did win some cash from competitions and my mother and father additionally gave me round $1,000 to begin off. Except for that, I’ve been simply utilizing my Cuddle Field income to proceed funding myself. This implies I haven’t given away any fairness, which is one thing I undoubtedly take satisfaction in.
Juetten: Startups are an journey — what’s your favourite startup story?
Chen: I discover that the very best startups are based primarily based on issues that the founders themselves expertise. Two of my favorites are The Lemonade Stand and Spark Teen. The Lemonade Stand is an invite-only publication for bold teenagers creating startups and Spark Teen is an entrepreneurial launchpad for teenagers who wish to make a distinction. The founders of those corporations are my mates they usually acknowledged the necessity for actionable change within the teen entrepreneurship group, so that they determined to take motion. I discover that extremely admirable.
Juetten: How do you measure success and what’s your favourite success story?
Chen: This one’s robust. I assume I measure success by my value-add. This sounds somewhat generic, however I actually have heard so many heartwarming tales from my artisans. I discover my native artisans by way of the web and have had inspiring conversations with them about their very own journeys. They vary from moms who misplaced their job throughout COVID and needed to put money into their passions to teen entrepreneurs like myself. They encourage me to proceed doing what I do.
As for my favourite success story, I actually admire the sweetness firm Glossier’s story. As a buyer, I’m impressed by founder Emily Weiss’s journey of launching a magnificence weblog, being rejected by 11 enterprise capital corporations after which rising Glossier right into a unicorn!
Juetten: Any suggestions so as to add for early-stage founders or CEOs in progress mode?
Chen: Put your self on the market. Particularly if you find yourself early-stage, persons are seemingly not going to achieve out to you, so you’ll have to attain out to individuals. Chilly name, LinkedIn message, and be a part of incubators. You by no means know the individuals you may meet. I undoubtedly am actually blessed to have met nice mentors, together with JC Garrett, the CEO of Farshore Companions. He has been encouraging me to try for extra each step of the way in which. I undoubtedly wouldn’t be right here with out him and his encouragement.
Juetten: And naturally, any IP challenges or horror tales to share? They are often nameless.
Chen: This sounds fairly brutal, however sadly, it’s the reality: most teen entrepreneurship tales I hear are horror tales. Society nearly inevitably views teen entrepreneurship as a simulation, so plenty of teenagers find yourself arising with sensible concepts and profitable competitions however not often do they really execute these concepts. The end result? A reasonably line on the resume, an exquisite enterprise pitch and $0 in traction. I do know teen entrepreneurs are able to breaking out of this vicious cycle, and that is additionally a change that myself and different teen entrepreneurs try to actively promote.
Juetten: What is the long-term imaginative and prescient on your firm?
Chen: My plan is to convey Cuddle Field to the college I find yourself attending. I wish to main in sustainable growth, social entrepreneurship, or sociology so I can learn to higher long-term financial situations worldwide. At college, I hope to proceed rising the B2B stream of Cuddle Field and land in some huge tech corporations like Spotify and Google. I additionally hope to outsource manufacturing in order that Cuddle Field will be as automated as potential. In fact, investor funding is just not out of the query both! I feel particularly as a teen entrepreneur, all the things is so topic to vary and I’m so excited to see the place this journey finally ends up. Be at liberty to achieve out to me by way of my e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Phoebe for taking a while to reply my questions; undoubtedly heading in the right direction! She is spot-on about hitting individuals up on Linkedin or Twitter – that’s the place I met the very best and boldest entrepreneurs. I can’t wait to see what’s forward for Phoebe. #onwards.