Kyle Smitley Founder and CEO of Barley & Birch’s Entrepreneurs are busy by nature and the one chosen by me is Kyle Smitley. She may be busier than most as she’s a full-time second-year law student in San Francisco, and also the founder of an organic kids clothing line that has become popular with celebrity moms like Jessica Alba and Sheryl Crow. The reason I chose Kyle Smitley is because she seems to be able to do it all and handles her studies along with the business which makes her someone to look up to.
She admits that it is very tiring and busy, “At first it was Just me staying up until 2 a. . every day figuring out how to get people to notice the line,” she said in an interview with the time magazine. “l basically Just don’t sleep. ” Smitley is also fighting for a worthy cause, Barley & Birch’s business model operates on the idea of giving back. From the first day of the business, she has donated more than half of her profits after paying her staff and a business loan to organizations that she feels personally connected with, such as CoCoDa, a non-profit that promotes community development in areas of Central America.
During college, Smitley spent time living in El Salvador and met some of the eople for which the organization’s work was benefiting. When Smitley decided to start Barley & Birch, she wasnt the talk of the Fashion Week runways. She had absolutely no experience in the apparel industry. By chance, she ended up doing some side research for the owner of a clothing boutique who wanted to know whether the companies that claimed to have organic or green products were really making them.
Smitley’s reports turned up some useful information, including the fact that many of the organic kids clothing companies were not actually using the healthiest fabrics or materials. l kept noticing gaps between what companies were saying and what they were actually doing,” she says. “l basically made up my mind right then that I needed to start my own line, one that was accountable to the environment and to its customers. ” She saw what was missing in the area of her choice and capitalised on it.
Barley ; Birch clothes are made using 100 percent certified organic cotton and water-based inks that do not pollute the environment. The company’s donations also include offsetting emissions, and its manufacturers are U. S. -based and have been approved by Green America as environmentally responsible companies. Shipping is done from a warehouse in Ohio, a state that Smitley says she purposely picked for its central location, to reduce travel.
Before launching the first Barley & Birch line in December 2008, Smitley secured a $10,000 loan through the microlending site ACCION and embarked upon a major branding campaign. She then looked for a designer who had fashion experience to help bring her ideas to life. Her expectations were not sky rocketing and she started the venture as something to bring about a change. She collaborated with Jodie Milmore on designing the T-shirts, one-pieces, and pants, and then launched Just months after tarting ner first year ot law school. It didn’t take ner long to get the first sale.
Green Genes, an eco-friendly kids boutique in Chicago, wanted to start selling the line, Just days after receiving a letter and sales sheet from Smitley. Her first line sold out in just weeks proving the success of the business idea. There are millions of such students with great ideas out there, and a lot of new opportunities for people coming up with good new business ideas and even alongside college and with what life brings our way if one has a good idea they should go ahead with it and strive effortlessly till their aim is reached.