AGE || 30
COMPANY NAME || The Neon tea party
JOB TITLE || FOUNDER
COMPANY START DATE || October 2016
YEARS LIVING IN NEW YORK || 8
SOCIAL HANDLES || @Theneonteaparty
COMPANY WEBSITE: The Neon tea party
What did you want to be as a child?
When I was a kid I wanted to be a fashion designer and then I wanted to be an accessories editor for a magazine.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
I feel like there has been so much good advice. I listen to a lot of entrepreneurial podcasts and go to events with speakers. I think one of the best was just go for it, it doesn't have to be perfect but better to just get started with whatever you're doing and then adjust the along the way. If you try to get everything perfect off the bat you're never going to get started.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting The Neon Tea Party?
You can and you should do a lot of planning but a lot of things develop over organic evolutions. Just keep an open mind and always be listening and learning from experiences and know the people that you work with or are partnering with in a business capacity. Be a sponge and stay open minded.
What made you want to start The Neon Tea Party?
I always kind of knew I wanted to start something. Ive always been pretty entrepreneurial and I've always had like a pretty strong aesthetic point of view and been passionate with what ever my interests are at the given time. I actually started the The Neon Tea Party 1.0 in college just as a fashion blog and I didn't share it with anyone besides my Facebook friends and it was just a place to put my thoughts down and pair with photos.
[After restarting it in 2016], the blog took off pretty quickly and there was just a lot of excitement it around it from the people I knew. I was very fortunate to connect with brands pretty immediately. It gave me a lot of confidence to be full-time and then as as I was trying to figure out how to monetize the site I realized DIY was one of the categories that I was writing about, doing craft projects and sharing tutorials online. I was figuring it out as I was trying to grow a following large enough to even consider sponsorships as an income stream so I realized if I am teaching craft projects online why can't I do it in person and thats how teaching pom poms came about. I never started out thinking I was going to be starting a craft education business but thats where the opportunity has taken me and now I enjoy doing it tremendously. It’s just very surprising this is where it has all gone.
Do you have a personal motto while you're working?
Just put one foot in front of the other — keep going. Often times you hear there is no such thing as failure. I don't know the exact quote but the only time you fail is to stop or give up. So, if you give up thats the only time you can fail. Anytime anything happens in your business or your personal life and you feel like it’s not working and it’s a failure then it’s a learning opportunity.
How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?
One step at a time and remembering to take breaks sometimes it just about stopping what you're doing and just giving yourself a moment whether its 30 minutes, a couple hours or a whole day. To just not think about it sometimes. I find when I stop thinking about it then I can sort of relax and then come back to it and look at the situation more objectively. When there is less time, trying to delegate where possible, prioritizing and seeing how other people can help take some stuff off of your plate.
What is the hardest part about being your own boss?
For me right now I don't yet have employees. I work with contractors on occasion and right now the biggest challenge is being a one woman show. I am looking to change that in the very near future. Starting with part-time and we will see how it all goes, but there is no way to grow with out asking for help.
What has been the most rewarding thing since starting The Neon Tea Party?
Pretty much just getting to terms with things in my brains and to do things I can share with the world, for other people to learn and benefit from. Creating a brand is so fun and in addition to connecting with people, that has been the coolest part.
What is your creative process like?
It really just depends, I have so much inspiration. I save photos on Instagram and I've had a Pinterest probably since Pinterest was a thing and having boards that are years old and just continue to grow with things that I find. I have so many ideas crawling around my head but what has been really fun and interesting lately is building out an education process as far as teaching different skills. It has been really fun to create a kind of linear teaching process and to create a solution in terms of what projects are resonating with people but also teach them a new skill. Often times having those sort of boundaries or guidelines or a creative problem is how you come up with something really cool.
How do you define success?
I think when you see that what you're putting out there is helping others, it’s really the best measure of success. To see if what you're putting out there is making someone else's life easier or better or more beautiful or bringing them joy. I think thats the greatest measure of success of them all.
What advice would you give to other women trying to break into your field?
Just go for it! I find so much joy in surrounding myself with other entrepreneurial-minded women and in New York. We have a little meet up group called the neontrepreneurs and we invite anyone who is entrepreneurial minded. It could be an artist that’s just trying to make it and provide for themselves. Maybe they share pictures on Instagram or maybe its someone with a full-time one woman show like myself. It’s people that have side hustles and everything in between.
I think just encouraging them to not be afraid to explore that and start putting things out in the world and just take it one step at a time. They should pursue their dreams because that’s what’s in their hearts and it can change and shift over time but, at the end of the day, whatever is in your heart is what you're called to do. It’s so important to pursue that because everyone is searching for meaning in their life so to leave something that’s so big in your heart just sitting there — everyone deserves the opportunity to go for it.
Which women inspire you?
My mom. She was a single mom supporting her two kids, my brother and myself, and she pursued a creative career. She was a fine jewelry designer. It was really challenging for her but she was able to simultaneously follow her dream and support her family. So that’s hugely inspirational and motivational.
Joy Cho, my ultimate boss lady inspiration because she obviously is an incredibly hard worker in addition to making beautiful products and having a gorgeous website. I don't know how familiar you are with her but she is a product designer and has a lifestyle blog for her brand but, besides all the pretty inspirational stuff, she has a joyful team who bring everything they do to life. She really built it from the ground up starting out as a graphic designer and product designer by herself and then growing this company and style brand which is really just doing a lot of good in a really smart way. She's definitely my number one girl boss motivation. Also, Justina Blakeney.
What are some of your goals moving forward?
So many, so many, continuing to produce wonderful content for our blog, so lots of craft tutorials. Opening our studio in New York is a humongous one. That will hopefully happen later this year. So that’s the biggest deal and bringing on help and continue scaling the business and then, overtime, continuing to release more products and craft kits, so really just growing from what we have right now.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.