Growing up in Connecticut, Juliette Brindak used to start bake sales, lemonade stands, and garage sales. But when she was 10 years old, her entrepreneurial horizons expanded during a routine family vacation.
Juliette created a series of drawings of girls, one of whom was named Miss O. Everyone liked the characters so much that she kept drawing them – and soon enough, her family joined in to help bring the characters to life.
In 2005, Juliette launched MissOandFriends.com, a by-girls-for-girls site where tweens can go to safely interact, get advice in a supportive community, and play flash games that range from fashion contests to mini golf. The Miss O characters offer positive role models for growing girls and they’ve been featured in a series of books that have sold over 120,000 copies collectively. In 2008, Procter & Gamble invested in Miss O and Friends and estimated the company’s value at $15 million dollars.
Today, the Miss O and Friends team includes over 30 people – including 15 interns, a board of 12 people, a webmaster, a lawyer, a school psychologist, and Juliette’s mom and dad. Juliette is the spokesperson and a writer for the website. She’s also going into her senior year at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, studying anthropology.
The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1).
Q: How did you plan and organize Miss O and Friends?
A: When it first started, it wasn’t a business. The characters of the Miss O girls started off as my drawings. It was basically a hobby that my mom, my sisters, and I did. Then, for my sister’s eighth birthday, my mom made Miss O characters for all of my sister’s friends and they went crazy. They loved them.
I was 13 at the time, my sister was eight, and that’s the time when things start to get a little bit rough for girls. There are cliques at school, along with changes physically and emotionally. Girls can be mean. Boys come into the picture and school starts to get important. It’s just really stressful. So, I thought, “We should really start doing something for these girls.” That’s what drove me to start Miss O and then, once I did, I had the best support ever. My dad, who has been in business his whole life, got involved and he really, really helped to get the company going.
Q: What challenges have you faced specifically because of your age? How has your age helped you to succeed?
A: My young age didn’t create any challenges. It actually helps me, because when I would present to Colgate, Procter & Gamble, Yahoo, or Target, they would be shocked that a 16-year-old could present a company to them. I think that they were really impressed. At first, I thought that people wouldn’t take it seriously – but because we have accomplished so much, I think that people really respect me for it.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Finding a good support team is really the key to being successful. You have to find people who really believe in what you’re doing. Once you do that, you’ll do great things.
This is an abridged version from Juliette’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. A lot of the young entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed are only three or four years into their businesses. Juliette has been building this business for 11 years, over half her life. It’s an inspirational reminder that these young people are still in the early stages of their businesses. Juliette is a class-act and an incredible spokesperson for her brand. Check out Miss O and Friends. My favorite game is Mini Gold!
Juliette Brindak’s Top Quote
“If you can find people who think that what you’re doing is great, they’re going to do everything in their power to make it a success.”
Want even more inspiration?
Don’t miss 39 more inspirational quotes from crazy-young kids like Juliette:
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