Navigating Entrepreneurship with Caitlyn Chase of caviar & cashmere.
Even being based in New York City, one of the top entrepreneurial hotspots in the world, it’s not often that I come across female founders who at a young age have already successfully scaled three different beauty brands and run two businesses themselves, all while being committed to the empowerment of women globally.
Caitlyn Chase, lifestyle blogger and founder of skincare line Caviar & Cashmere is indeed exceptional. Not only has she been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair and Marie Claire, but she has spoken on panels at Simply and StyleCon and shared her luxury lifestyle tips on CNN, CBS and FOX. She was recently named one of the top 10 fashion bloggers in Los Angeles two years in a row and was named “One to Watch” and awarded “Trendsetter of the Year.” She was also chosen to be a U.S. delegate to represent the American beauty industry abroad.
Learning about Caitlyn’s story and way of living after connecting with her on social media has shown me that it truly is possible to combine great success and influence with a deeper mission. Her story is bold, inspiring and something that every entrepreneur can learn from.
But great success doesn’t happen overnight, and as someone who regularly works with entrepreneurs, I was intrigued by Caitlyn’s struggles, lessons and experiences along the journey.
Growing up with a father who started over 30 businesses, Caitlyn started out as an entrepreneur when she was 17 years old. Her love for writing led to an internship at In Touch Weekly, which turned into a position as a fashion and beauty reporter, all while still attending college full time. After graduating, she went on to work for magazines such as Esquire and 944 and soon started her own blog, Caviar & Cashmere. It grew rapidly, and it was the reason for her first e-commerce store, a line of cashmere home and fashion accessories with 150 retail partners worldwide. The business was excelling, but after being offered a high-level position at well-known beauty company GlamSquad, Caitlyn put the Cashmere line on hold. She helped open the GlamSquad L.A. office and had an amazing experience, but she ultimately wanted to be a full-time entrepreneur, and her new mission was to develop skincare that was clean, vegan and cruelty-free.
When she was a student, Caitlyn realized she was learning more from her work than from her university, and almost regrets not having used her tuition to start a business. For entrepreneurs, this stresses the importance of experience. Even though it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize and make the step into entrepreneurship sooner rather than later, having a solid foundation of experience and knowledge to leverage from is what keeps many inspiring entrepreneurs from becoming stuck.
Perhaps one of the most shocking lessons Caitlyn learned in business was how to address bullying. After becoming a victim of female-to-female bullying in the workplace, she wanted to find a way to address bullying in a professional manner without disturbing the peace or losing her job. So she made it a point to band women together and empower one another. She soon started a female networking breakfast series in 2013, the mission of which was to empower women through conversation and collaboration with each other. The event scaled quickly, with women from all over the world wanting to join. Caitlyn even decided to tie her mission of empowering women to her new skincare line.
Another significant challenge entrepreneurs face is handling stress and overwhelm. Working for yourself while being a one-woman show is incredibly difficult. How do you handle running a business by yourself and wearing many different hats during the day? Switching between shipping and production, sourcing and managing outsourced talent, and producing content requires you to be alert and organized.
It’s essential to know how to optimize your time and energy. Adjust your schedule and workload to still challenge yourself but without feeling overwhelmed. Setting boundaries in your business, such as only working certain hours a day and not answering phones calls or emails outside of those hours, prioritizing high-impact activities, and delegating the “small stuff,” is the first step to finding focus and being more productive.
Caitlyn found a rhythm for herself that allows her to stay centered and balanced. “The solution for my busy everyday life is to prioritize self-care, to meditate or do yoga every morning in order to gain perspective.”
Travel somewhere exciting. Make it a point to take off weekends. Working until burnout is the least beneficial and productive thing one could do. In the long run, overworking sets you back instead of bringing real results.
“Of course there is always something to do and something to work on,” said Caitlyn, “but it’s critical for me to realize that the business is not in control. I am.”