In the newest installment of "Lady Bosses I Love," I will introduce you to Fallyn Smith, who was my college roommate and remains one of my dearest friends, despite the fact that we live on different coasts. In addition to being one of the best people I have ever known, Fallyn is also completely unstoppable. By trade, Fallyn is a Licensed Social Worker, and runs a social and emotional health program for an elementary school system in San Francisco. As if that wasn't awesome enough, Fallyn used her summer vacations and school breaks to turn a side-hustle into a burgeoning company, Smith & Starr.
Smith & Starr invented the world's first fashion-forward hydration handbag, which has been featured for its innovative concept and design in publications such as Bustle, Reader's Digest and Mental Floss. They were also recently featured on The Skimm's new video series called "Get Off The Couch," which was launched to help support other female entrepreneurs. And as if all of that wasn't enough, Fallyn launched a second business called Mindful Kids Coaching, that brings her expertise with emotional health and wellness into homes to help kids (and parents!) gain the tools they need to succeed. This lady boss can't be stopped!
Fallyn Smith: Smith & Starr Hydration Bags
What is the name of your company and what do you do?
My company is SMITH & STARR and we are the creators of the first-ever hydration handbag, called The Conway.
How long have you been in business?
We launched a Kickstarter campaign in October 2016 but have working on making The Conway a reality since March 2015.
How did you decide to launch your own business?
I had the idea for the bag and my friend and now business partner, Chelsea said “Let’s do this!” and from that coffee date on we’ve been full steam ahead.
What challenges did you face in the process of launching your business?
We had a lot of learning to do. Both Chelsea and I do not have a fashion or business background so we took a lot of classes, workshops, and troubleshooting coffee dates to figure out how to take The Conway from an idea to a physical product. Our current challenge is now figuring out where to allocate our very limited budget to help market and sell The Conway.
Did you feel as though there were resources available to you, specifically as a woman business owner?
Yes! Luckily, San Francisco has a lot of resources available. The best place for us was the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center which a non-profit in the Bay Area that provides a lot of resources including classes to help people start and sustain a small business. They provided a fashion series workshop that helped us learn the industry and meet key people including our pattern and sample maker.
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t have a mentor but Chelsea and I have a good amount of people that we consult about SMITH & STARR.
Books you recommend?
These three really resonated with me:
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love creating something that people love.
What is your least favorite aspect of running your own business?
My least favorite aspect of running a business is the stress that comes along with running a business. It’s guaranteed no matter what business you run and I had to learn how to manage my stress and make sure that I was also practicing self-care.
What is your best piece of advice for other women who are thinking about launching a business?
Go for it! Talk to a lot of people who are already have their own business ideally in the same industry as you, network your heart out to make connections, and make sure you set yourself up (financially, emotionally, mentally) so that you can turn your dream into a reality. Make sure you have a great support network with people that believe in you no matter what and will support you during the good times and the not so good times. Most importantly, make yourself happy.