Today we’d like to introduce you to Eileen Lofgren.
Eileen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story starts at the Univerisity of San Diego where I majored in Humanities. I took classes in Philosophy, Fine Art, Art History, Theology, World History. These classes progressed my thinking about culture and the importance of art within our culture. From my studies, I then created a baseline of standards for what my company stands on today. I wanted a jewelry website that carried authentic cultural jewelry while giving the artist credit and a small history of the design. Something the fashion industry severely lacks.
Simultaneously, I had a buffalo skull in my college dorm room and I thought “what a great blank canvas” and decided to decorate it with vintage jewelry. After posting it on facebook I got immediate orders. I then hunted for authentic cultural jewelry at all the flee markets, all over the internet, and random bead shows. I spent all my money on a Shopify website (I was within the first group of people to have a Shopify website) and with the start of Instagram I blew up overnight. I had celebrities buying within my first 50 orders online and my Instagram account, full of Native American jewelry and decorated cow skulls, went viral.
Today we boast half a million followers on Instagram, a team of incredibly talented and creative 8 girls, and a successful brick and mortar store.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Absolutely not. There is nothing more challenging than overcoming the vulnerability of being an entrepreneur. You are creating something out of nothing and showcasing your art for the world to either reject or love. I lived off of broccoli and coffee for the first year because I was so broke. I didn’t go out to the bars nor spent money on clothes. You have to work your ass off. No one owes you anything and you have to make it work.
Learning about the legality of starting a business, doing taxes, hiring employees while simultaneously trying to be creative is INCREDIBLY hard. The road bumps you hit don’t get easier, they actually get harder the bigger your company gets. This is why a strong company ethos is so important. If you are working for a bigger cause than just “making money” then these road bumps won’t phase you.
Struggling comes with the territory of entrepreneurship. You learn to excel in it and become stronger and more resilient because of it. Still stings though!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Child of Wild – what should we know?
“CHILD of WILD is a lifestyle brand that believes objects with past lives or cultural relevance have a depth that can be felt.” I hate jewelry that has no motivation behind its design. Jewelry that just exists because it is a “trend”. We tirelessly research the cultural history of our jewelry and objects. When we purchase we try to go directly to the source.
Looking for indigenous designs made directly from the tribe/artist/region etc. We have traveled to Istanbul, Bali, all over Europe and most recently Morocco to source authentic jewelry and to be inspired. We also carry modern artists that have their own mission statement. These are jewelry makers that produce their own designs and have a strong identifiable aesthetic.
I believe we are known for having eclectic jewelry you cannot find anywhere else as well as having great quality pieces. Our repeat customer base is incredible! People have trust in our company that we a higher motivation than to just sell them on a trend.
We are also a very political and philanthropic company. We are about to launch a $1 donation with every order placed. It is so important to leverage the fashion industry to do good!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have done a fantastic job of surrounding myself with people more intelligent than I. Everyone has their expertise and I outsource things that I know I am not good at.
Marketing (analytics, facebook/Instagram ads) has been a huge contributor to our success and my marketing manager KILLS IT. Our web developer is a genius and pushes me to stay on top with new web features and customizations.
I have an incredible team of girls in my office. Everyone has different talents but all are so creative and hardworking. It has been a challenge to manage so many girls but finally, we have an office full of genuinely nice and supportive women. I could not be more proud of our office culture right now. I view them all as family and truly would not be able to do this without them.
Also a MAJOR shout out to my Dad, Mom, and husband. There have been many tears and hard days that without a strong support group, no one could survive to own a business. My dad does all of our accounting (another talent I absolutely do not possess) and has been an incredible business coach since the beginning.
To recognize that it takes a team to fulfill your dreams is a very interesting lesson to learn. To let others contribute and shine is so important but not always easy. I owe everything to my team and am so grateful.
- Address: 5376 Napa St. San Diego, CA 92110
- Website: www.childofwild.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/child_of_wild/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChildOfWild
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/child-of-wild-shoppe-san-diego