13-Year-Old CEO of GaBBY Bows Is the Inspiring Story You Need to Read
More. Of. This.
Gabby Goodwin has accomplished more in her 13 years of life than most of us have by middle age. But that doesn't mean she's looking to leave anyone behind. This trailblazing teen, who launched her company Confidence at the age of 7, has also created and runs a Mommy and Me Entrepreneurship Academy—a nationwide program which mentors other girls and helps them start their own businesses under the Confidence brand.
Gabby and her mom Rozalynn invented the first patented double-face, double-snap barrette. Fed up with too many typical hair bows gone missing and styles not lasting, the pair engineered GaBBY Bows to solve for this everyday frustration. Since 2014, when the bows first started selling online, the mother-daughter duo have expanded to offer plant-based natural hair products as well. Today, the business has filled online orders in all 50 U.S. states and in twelve countries.
Despite her impressive resume, Gabby couldn't be more down to earth. She's inventive, sincere and ambitious. And we all could take a cue or two from her, take a look at her advice, story and plans for the future.
Persistence has been a key driver in seeing your idea come to life. What advice would you have for other entrepreneurs who are trying to break through?
For people who want to break through, keep putting yourself out there, be active on social media, be consistent, use hashtags, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Be active wherever you think your target is most active. Our target audience has been on Facebook and Instagram. And it’s not just about social media. You may hear no and may want to stop because of it, but no is just abbreviation for Next Opportunity. Keep pushing.
What has been your favorite part of working with other young innovators as a part of your Confidence platform?
For me, it’s meeting a lot of people - a lot of cool people and people I have looked up to. I also get to use my own expertise in our Mommy and Me Entrepreneurship Academy. This is where moms and their girls start businesses and sell our products under our brand. We teach them how to sell face-to-face at vendor shows and online. They get 25% commission with their affiliate link. We have Girl Bosses, even one-year-olds making money and building confidence. I was shy growing up and I built my confidence through entrepreneurship. If it happened for me, it can happen for them. I see some girls in our Academy come in shy in front of a camera and now they are twirling in front of a camera.
Your line includes the infamous barrettes, hair products, an inspirational book of your journey and a carrying case. Are you looking to expand your product line?
We are planning on adding two or three more hair styling products to our line by the end of this year or early next year. We started the line with a detangling and conditioning milk, scalp pomade and moisturizing styling cream. Our plant-based products help moisture and styles stay in. I can keep my styles in for two to two and a half weeks when I use our products. Our milk helps detangle without tears, reduces the time [it takes to style] and serves as a leave-in conditioner. Our pomade is an alternative to hair grease which can suffocate the scalp.
The invention of GaBBY Bows really showed that taking action can make a difference. How do you apply this, “if it’s not right, fix it” mentality in your day-to-day life?
This kind of thinking helps me do well in difficult classes at school. I get my work done on time and make A’s. School comes first, I’m not working on my business or chores until I’m done with schoolwork.
What do you like to do when you’re not mentoring or inventing?
I like to dance. I have been a dancer for more than 10 years. And I play the violin. I like all the normal teenager stuff - watching YouTube or playing games. [On any day] I’m probably in my room playing games, reading or doing a word search. During quarantine, I picked back up some things like making rubber band loom bracelets.
Can you tell me a bit about your children’s book?
“Gabby Invents the Perfect Hair Bow” is written about me. Four kids with businesses were chosen across the country by a non-profit to feature through a four-part book series. My book ended up being so realistic. It was a great experience. The book aims to inspire any one to dream big because it can take you big places.
Do you see yourself staying in the beauty industry?
I don’t see myself going into any other lane or industry. I like that we remove stress from the hair styling process and can help everyone with their hair care needs. I hope to run this business with my daughter like my mom has with me. The hair care industry can be hard, and there are always stereotypes, especially with black women. For example, [people say] box braids are ghetto or unprofessional. I want to keep going out there and educating everyone that rocking your hair is an important part of your confidence. That’s what motivates me to stay in this realm and in the beauty industry.
You can find GaBBY Bows line of products carried in select Target, retail, and beauty supply stores in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa.
Feeling inspired? What everyday frustration could you solve for?