5Q: CAROL HU, THE STELL
How did I meet Carol Hu, founder of the Stell? Online of course! Carol is a talented business woman with an eye for style. The Stell is a finely curated collection of beauty, skincare and home products. We met over a conversation about CLEANSE by LAUREN NAPIER and have been partnering since. Carol is also a very talented photographer. Sign up for her updates and get 15% off of your order, follow her stories and see her uber, chic style and globe trotting adventures.
1. Looking back on your first job, what skill did you use that you still use today?
That was a long time ago! My first job was at an art gallery in Chelsea and I definitely still use those skills today. I was really timid about talking to people and especially being responsible for selling art that cost thousands of dollars! But I know now that it was all in my head. Today, I use the people skills I developed on a daily basis. The benefit of age and experience is that you become much more sure of yourself.
2. What was the first step you took to launch your brand?
There were so many “first steps.” We were definitely working simultaneously to reach into our network while also just contacting brands we really wanted to stock. When we contacted literally everyone we knew, we asked if they wanted to work us with and most people were very supportive. I think that having a strong idea combined with a network, helped a lot.
3. How did you choose between launching an online store vs. traditional brick and mortar location? How many brands did you start with?
Launching online was a no brainer - our customer is a digital native who gets inspiration from reading beauty sites and browsing Instagram, and we wanted to be where they are most comfortable. E-commerce allows for the freedom to browse and find the best possible of what’s out there. With an online presence, we’re able to reach a wider audience and provide our customer with the same high-quality experience - whether or not they live in New York.
We started last year with 15 brands and have doubled since then!
4. What is the greatest lesson learned in your first year in business?
It’s still early, so look forward, keep building your brand and maintain a solid image to really connect with your customers. It’s so easy to throw in the towel, but in your first year the company is still in its infancy.
5. What is your best piece of advice for your fellow Female Founder?
In the beginning stages, look to others for support-- friends, family, and reach out into your network. Just talking to people can be surprisingly helpful during your journey. You never know when people will throw a brilliant idea your way.