How to start a business in high school: all you need is $20
Advice from Joyce Hsieh on how to start a business in high school, including how she built her $2 million dollar company Wild Daisy with 200k followers while spending $0 on marketing. Did we mention she is 17?
Joyce Hsieh (JH): I started Wild Daisy when I was 13 in the summer of 2012. I was totally not about the idea of looking for a ‘real’ first job. Instead, I decided to be-dazzle and glue metal studs onto phone cases with clear nail polish. I was obsessed and made tons of cases for myself, I changed my phone case everyday to match my outfit (OMG). Eventually my friends started asking if they could buy some for themselves. I became an undercover bedazzled phone case dealer in my middle school.
Catapult (C): You took your passion for fashion and turned it into a business?
Joyce Hsieh (JH):That’s right, sort of by accident. Soon I created a small Etsy shop to sell online and not just locally, then moved to my own custom website months later. Several years of bootstrapping and a long week of in-school-suspension later, I came up with the idea of a clothing line. I moved to sunny San Diego the summer before my freshman year and immediately got my own office and warehouse to serve as home for my brand new clothing line, along with shoes, swim, jewelry, and of course, phone cases. I wasn’t thinking about a career or college or anything, that summer changed my life because I found something I loved doing. It was meant to be more than just a side hobby, I wanted Wild Daisy to be big!
Home Town: San Diego, CA
Company CEO and Founder of Wild Daisy, $2 Million in revenue
Catapult Cohort: Silicon Valley 2015
Free Time: What free time?
do YOU want to become a high school entrepreneur like Joyce? Read our 5 step essential guide for young entrepreneurs with potential5 step Guide to High School Entrepreneurship
C: And what’s going on with Wild Daisy today?
JH: Today Wild Daisy is a lifestyle brand company, we sell all sorts of products that help people live the Wild Daisy life. We design clothes and other products for young people.
Joyce shot this when she was 13 about how to start an online business. It has 145,337 views
JH: I always get asked where i get my inspiration from and I just answer with ‘Life’. That’s what Wild Daisy is – my life in designs. If there’s anything i’ve learned, it’s that you can’t quit just because you or someone else thinks you can’t do it. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Like, let’s be real… If you would have told me 3 years ago that my own clothing brand would be sold to people across the entire globe and worn by famous celebrities, or that I would have hundreds of thousands of people following me online, I would have thought you were crazy. It sound cliche, but I mean, how could I have known any of this was going to happen? It just proves that anything is possible.
C: What were some of the challenges you faced early on with Wild Daisy?
JH: How do i get people to buy my stuff? I mean I liked it, my friends liked it, the people on Etsy liked it, it’s just hard to get the word out. That’s when I realized I could use things like Youtube and Instagram to get people to come to Wild Daisy. To this day I haven’t spent any money on marketing.
C: Wow, other companies would kill for that. Everything has worked out so far, but if you could go back and do 1 thing differently what would it be?
JH: I’d tell myself to stop trying to ride a trend until it dies out, but instead find the new trend and get with the latest stuff asap. Don’t fall into the Aeropostale cycle, super popular for a while, then brand didn’t innovated and was deemed as the middle school brand. But for all I know Aeropostale might still be really popular with middle schoolers, so maybe that’s a bad example.
C: I just checked, Aeropostale filed for bankruptcy in March after losing money for 13 consecutive quarters. You saw that coming. What 1 piece of advice do you have for other students thinking about entrepreneurship?
JH: go big or go home. follow ur dreams and don’t listen to people who don’t know you. Some people get so caught up in perfection and pleasing everyone. That will NEVER work for young people starting a business. Also learn time management. there is absolutely no room for procrastinating so get your stuff DONE.
JH: Blood. it can’t be learned. I mean I’ve learned some tactics and how to do certain aspects of entrepreneurship, but the drive and motivation and willingness to learn and fail and try new things. That’s in the blood
C: What are your plans for the future?
JH: We are just about to launch a cosmetics line this summer. I want to reach 100,000 subscribers on youtube, currently at 33,000, grow my personal brand on social media, work with more famous people. have fun!!!!
C: How can someone help you out?
JH: Follow Wild Daisy on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube
C: What resource would you recommend for other high schoolers interested in entrepreneurship?
JH: Sophia Amoruso of nasty gal!!!!! also the internet.
C: Thanks so much for your perspective, Joyce, it’s rare to meet someone so driven!
JH: But seriously follow me on Instagram.
Are you the next Joyce?