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TeenStarts: Modest is Hottest for Teen Stylemaker
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TeenStarts: Modest is Hottest for Teen Stylemaker

Teenagers complain they aren’t taken seriously. We are changing that by sharing success stories of teen entrepreneurs.

Meet Bethany Husni, teen entrepreneur and founder of 31:25 Dresses.

Bethany is currently a senior at Laurel School, a member of the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum. When Bethany was a junior, she founded 31:25 Dresses to address a problem she was experiencing when trying to find modest yet fashionable clothing.

31:25 can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and their website.

Welcome to TeenStarts, Bethany! Tell us about 31:25 Dresses, your entrepreneurial journey so far, and what made you found a clothing company.

Bethany: I started 31:25 in November of 2016, at the beginning of my junior year. I chose to create a modest clothing company because I grew up in a Christian household, and my overprotective, yet well-meaning, older brothers always told me that ‘modest is hottest’. As I got older, it became more and more difficult for me to find modest clothes that made me feel beautiful and confident, so I decided to learn how to sew and make them myself!

I got a sewing machine in April of 2016, learned the basics in a class that August, and started making products four months later. I expanded into my true focus, custom modest dresses, in February of 2017. As far as selling the clothes instead of just making them for myself, I saw a sizeable market for women my age and a little older who want fashionable clothing options that aren’t as revealing as the clothes popularized by many social media influencers.

As I mentioned, I grew up in a Christian household. The name 31:25 comes from Proverbs 31:25, which states “She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future”.

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Who has influenced your business life and what are the most important steps you have taken to arrive where you are today?

Bethany: There are two people who have influenced me: Ms. Laurie Klopper and Mr. Taylor Kaar. First, Ms. Klopper, who owns and manages Blush Boutique, located in both Chagrin Falls and on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. I had the incredible opportunity to intern with her last year through Laurel’s Protege program, and she loved the clothes I wore so much that she asked if I’d be ok with making some for her stores! I currently have some skirts in the Chagrin Falls location.

The second person of great influence in 31:25’s young but fruitful life has been Mr. Taylor Kaar, Laurel’s Director of Entrepreneurship. I’ve gotten a multitude of words of wisdom from him about ways to improve my business in many facets, from the concept of it last fall to marketing and outreach. His sagacity has proved to be second to none, and I’m incredibly grateful for it.

For important steps, I’d say having a firm business plan from the beginning has surely helped me quite a bit. I learned how to write an effective plan when I entered myself in the Veale Venture Challenge. It’s something that gave me skills that I use regularly now, and it truly helped to solidify the background of my business, as far as how to go about running 31:25 the way I do.

What has surprised you the most?

Bethany: The mindset of potential consumers. When someone thinks about custom clothing, they immediately envision spending hundreds of dollars on a single piece. One of the goals of my business is to change that mindset, since I create custom dresses for the same price or less than a piece off the rack of a department store that requires tailoring after its purchase.

How do you juggle school and running a business?

Bethany:
Outside of running 31:25, I run cross-country and indoor and outdoor track. I also co-lead a Christian-based club at my school and work at Blush every Sunday. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy to balance all of these as well as schoolwork and college applications, but I’m happiest and most productive when I’m busy.

What have you learned about yourself as an entrepreneur that you think other young founders should know?

Bethany: I’ve learned that I need to embrace failure, because failure is simply success in need of a little tweaking. If you decide to be an entrepreneur, whether you’re 50 years old or in the fifth grade, you’re going to have to make some terrifying decisions, and you’re going to make mistakes. However, the mistakes that you make shape you into the best version of yourself (as an entrepreneur and otherwise) that you can be.

Related to failure, I tell myself to feel the fear and do things anyway! I know it sounds cliche, but I’ve tried to embrace this phrase over the past few months. I know that if I’d considered these words of wisdom when I first started my business, I’d be even more bold and ambitious than I am now. That being said, I don’t think I’d change anything about 31:25’s journey.

Finally, I was lucky enough to grow up in an entrepreneurial-based household, as my father started an IT company when he was 26. Because of this, I learned a lot about the inner workings of small businesses from a young age. Though this was certainly helpful, I think that anyone can be an entrepreneur, as long as they have enough drive, ambition, and self-discipline.

 

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