These are the successful twenty-somethings who are #killingit

November 02, 2016
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This article was originally published on shortpress.com.au.

Twenty-somethings often get a bad rap; we’re perceived to be lazy, entitled, spoiled brats who expect to be handed everything, all whilst never having to look away from our phones. However, these entrepreneurs beg to differ.

By tapping into their passions, these young go-getters are pushing boundaries, overturning industries and flipping stereotypes on their head. Proving that in actual fact, twenty-somethings can be a force to be reckoned with.

Jess Wilson, founder of Stashd (24 years old)

Jessica Wilson had previously worked throughout Australia, New York and Paris fashion weeks producing runway shows after dropping out of university. “I noticed online shopping was moving forward, bricks and mortar and print publications were moving back when it came to seating plans at fashion weeks. There was no hero app to discover, shop and share fashion on mobile. This is where the foundation of Stashd began.”

The app was awarded with the bronze trophy in China’s version of Shark Tank and Wilson also appeared in China’s version of The Apprentice which aired to 15 million viewers. “I was the last female founder in the competition from 55 global teams.

It’s possible to create a business with the use of the internet to disrupt global industries.

Stashd has since been featured as one of Apple’s ‘Best New Apps’ in 11 countries, as well as within the ‘Top 10 Lifestyle Apps’ in five countries. The app now has downloads in 136 countries with a HQ in Australia and soon to be another in Shanghai.

“The world is changing, now more than ever, says Wilson. “It’s possible to create a business with the use of the internet to disrupt global industries.” When it comes to advice, she says, “Figure out what your strengths are and find people who are strong in areas you aren’t. Make sure you’re passionate about the problem you are solving, be patient and persistent.”

Hannah Staples, co-founder of Peppermint Grove Australia (26 years old)

Hannah Staples was working full-time as she found herself putting blood, sweat and tears into someone else’s dream. “I started to crave the idea of doing my own thing and so I did.” Staples went on to co-found Peppermint Grove Australia along with her Dad, distributing unique candle, diffuser and bath and body products.

“We saw there was a gap in the market for a highly positioned elegant offering with an Australian feel and dimension. We wanted to develop a range that featured unique designs and put a lot of time and effort into developing glassware that people would want to make a feature of their home.”

The glamorous moments are rare, the spotlight is only temporary. So be prepared for the hard work, long hours and steep learning curves.

The business launched in 2014 and grew very quickly. “Since first opening, we have extended our product range from 30 SKU’s to over 110 SKU’s and are continuing to extend and develop our range both vertically and horizontally, says Staples. “Within nine months of operation, we had secured distribution in major department stores both in Australia and New Zealand and earlier this year we opened our first international headquarters in the UK. We are currently in the process of securing distribution throughout Asia and the Middle East.”

When asked what’s the one piece of advice she would give to other upcoming young entrepreneurs, Staples says, “The glamorous moments are rare, the spotlight is only temporary. So be prepared for the hard work, long hours and steep learning curves. Lastly, love the excitement, love the challenge and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.”

Tess Corvaia and Robert Tilbury, co-founders of Lack of Color (23 and 25 years old)

Tess Corvaia, previously a buyer and manager for an online clothing boutique and Robert Tilbury, a graphic designer and photographer are the creative couple behind the thriving label, Lack of Color.

“We saw a real gap in the market when it came to hats”, says Corvaia. “We felt there were lots of other accessory brands out there, but there weren’t really any hat specific brands for the youth demographic.”

Since Lack of Color’s launch in 2011, it’s now stocked in over 50 stores worldwide throughout Australia, New Zealand and the US, including retail giant Nordstrom. The label is also currently working on a clothing line under the same name, which is set to be released later in the year.

The one piece of advice she would give to other start-ups is to always remember why you started.

Their hats have been spotted having been worn by celebrities including Vanessa Hudgens, Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Gigi Hadid. But Celebrity endorsements aside, Corvaia says the one piece of advice she would give to other start-ups is to always remember why you started.

“Seeing our hats being worn by style icons is a cool moment for us, says Corvaia. “But we went into this to offer consumers unique pieces which can suit any style at an affordable price point – all whilst remaining inspiring yet relatable. This is still our goal.”

Pauline Morrissey

Pauline is a Sydney-based journalist for Domain and is frequently featured amongst various Fairfax Media mastheads including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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