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了不起的18岁女学生 少女CEO创业记

2014-05-07    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The CEO is going to be late for class.
这位首席执行官上课要迟到了。

Megan Grassell founded her teen-targeted underwear company, Yellowberry, at 17 and now, as a high-school senior, she is trying to juggle a very full schedule of classes, extracurricular activities, and running a burgeoning business. "To say it's taking over my life is a very small way to put it," Grassell laughed during an interview with Fortune. "But I love it."
梅根•格拉塞17岁时创立了一家名叫Yellowberry的少女内衣公司。她现在是一名高中生,课程繁忙,课外活动丰富,同时还要运营一家快速成长的企业,忙得不亦乐乎。在接受《财富》(Fortune)采访时,格拉塞笑着说:“这种忙碌的状态占据了我的整个生活,但我很喜欢。

It was during a trip to the mall with Mary Margaret, her younger sister, that inspiration struck: "I was shopping for bras at the mall with my mom and little sister, and we went to a bunch of different stores looking for a good first bra for Mary Margaret, but there was nothing. There were jogging bras or these very sexual padded, push-up bras. I kept wondering, where is the cute little bra in fun colors? I realized that it just didn't exist. About a week later it hit me: If no one else is going to do it, I'm going to do it. I'm going to make bras for girls."
有一次,梅根与妹妹玛丽•玛格丽特一起逛商场,萌生了创办公司的想法。她说:“我跟我妈妈和妹妹在商场买内衣,妹妹正在发育阶段,我们想为她购买她人生中的第一件内衣,但是找了很多家店都没有找到。有些适合慢跑的运动内衣或是非常性感的带衬垫的托举式内衣,我就纳闷,怎么找不到色彩缤纷的可爱的少女内衣?然后我意识到,市面上根本就没有这样的内衣。一个星期后我突然想到,既然别人不生产这种内衣,那就让我来吧。我要为少女们制造内衣。”

To fund her startup, Grassell raided her savings: "I worked every summer since sixth or seventh grade. First pumping gas and then I bussed tables and waitressed at a place called Nora's, which is a fantastic restaurant. I saved all of that and used it to get my product to the prototyping phase."
创办公司需要资金,格拉塞花光了自己所有的积蓄:“从六、七年级开始,我每年暑假都去打工。最开始是在加油站加油,后来在一家叫Nora's的餐厅当服务员,这家餐厅很棒。我把赚到的钱都存下来了,用这些钱使我的产品进入原型设计阶段。”

While Grassell throws around words like "prototyping" now, actually developing prototypes for her bras presented a steep learning curve for the teen. "Going into this process, I had no experience. I don't even know how to sew! If I get a hole in my jeans, I'm out of luck, because I don't know how to fix it," said Grassell. "There are a lot of things that have to come together in order for a bra to be made. Sourcing the fabric was a challenge, finding out where to produce and who to work with. I didn't know about quantities or anything. I had to learn all of that."
像“原型设计”这样的术语格拉塞似乎是信手拈来,但实际开发内衣原型对这个高中生而言是个不小的挑战,她需要快速学习很多东西。格拉塞说:“进入这个过程中,我没有任何经验,我甚至不会缝东西!如果我的牛仔裤破了一个洞,我只能自认倒霉,因为我不知道要怎么修补。制作一件内衣涉及许多方面,采购面料是一个挑战,此外还要寻找生产地点与合作伙伴。我对数量也没概念,一切都得从头开始学习。”

To move from prototype to production, Grassell turned to the crowd funding site Kickstarter. "The original goal was $25,000," said Grassell, "And I raised almost $42,000, which was pretty exciting." It was also one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever for an underwear or lingerie startup, ever.
为了从原型设计阶段转向生产阶段,格拉塞求助于众筹网站Kickstarter。格拉塞说:“我本来计划筹集25,000美元,结果共筹集了42,000美元,非常令人兴奋。”这也是Kickstarter有史以来为内衣初创公司开展的最成功的筹资项目之一。

With the Kickstarter campaign completed, Grassell found a production facility through a contact in her hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyo. The factory, which is in Los Angeles -- and was vetted by her mom who was in California during one of Mary Margaret's soccer games -- has a low minimum order amount, which is good for a startup, but can also grow to meet increasing demand as necessary, which Grassell thinks is important. "If I get a phone call asking for a huge order, I will make that happen," she said.
Kickstarter筹资项目完成后,格拉塞通过家乡怀俄明州杰克逊城的一位联系人找到了一个生产工厂。工厂位于洛杉矶,梅根的妈妈在加州观看妹妹玛丽的足球比赛时顺道去考察了这家工厂。这家工厂的最低订单额很低,很适合初创企业,但在必要时也可以增加产量满足需求,格拉塞认为这一点很重要。她说:“如果我接到一个电话,对方要下一个巨额订单,我也能够完成。”

That can-do attitude is what people expect from a CEO, but not necessarily from a teenaged girl. Grassell admits that her age has been a challenge in doing business. "One of the biggest problems I had getting started was getting people to take me and my ideas seriously. I hope now they can see that I'm serious and that this is happening," said Grassell, who comes across as a hybrid businesswoman: Half Rookie magazine editor savant TaviGevinson, half Spanx founder Sara Blakely. "I have a vision for the company. I know how I want it to grow, and I can't wait to see how it becomes established."
人们认为这种什么都能做的态度正是首席执行官的品质,但十几岁的女孩不一定具备这种品质。格拉塞承认,她的年龄对她的生意构成了挑战。她说:“创办公司之初我遇到的最大的困难是,别人都认为我是小孩,不把我的想法当回事。我希望他们现在能看到,我是认真的,我的想法正在成为现实。”格拉塞给人的印象像是一个混合型女商人:一半像Rookie杂志的主编泰薇•盖文森,另一半像塑身内衣公司Spanx创始人萨拉•布莱克利。“我对公司设有愿景,我知道应该如何促进它的成长,我迫不及待地想看到公司成熟起来。”

Yellowberry is already on the market. At the company's polished online shop, customers can choose between four styles, including "Bug Bite" and "Tiny Tetons," names in line with the company's motto: "From the bunny hills to the Tetons, we have you covered." Yellowberry's brightly colored bras are made from a cotton-spandex blend that is meant to provide a soft, comfortable transition between children's undershirts and more adult bras. Needless to say there is nary an underwire in site. The bras are meant to give growing girls an option in the underwear market. "Yellowberry gives girls the idea that they don't have to grow up so quickly," Grassell said. "If they want to wear other bras, they can, we're not saying what's appropriate or not, but we want them to have another option."
Yellowberry的产品现在已经上市销售。这家公司精美的网店提供四种风格的产品供客户选择,包括“小荷露角”(Bug Bite)和“小特顿山”(Tiny Tetons),这些名称契合公司的标语“从小到大,一路有我。”Yellowberry颜色鲜艳的内衣使用棉氨纶混合面料制成,柔软舒适,是从儿童内衣到成人内衣之间的过渡产品。当然,这些内衣中没有钢圈。这类内衣产品是为了在内衣市场中为成长中的女孩提供一项选择。格拉塞说:“Yellowberry向女孩们宣传一种理念,就是她们没必要那么快长大。她们可以选择穿其他内衣,我们并没有说哪种合适,哪种不合适,我们只是希望她们有另一种选择。”

While launching and running a one-woman company ("My mom has been helping me recently," she noted) and bringing a new product to market is challenging for anyone, Grassell has more on her plate than the average CEO. "The biggest challenge is that I'm still a full-time student, so the timing aspect has been really hard," said Grassell. "I'm excited to be finished with my senior year in a few weeks so that I can truly work full time." Grassell may end up deferring college -- she's been accepted at Middlebury College -- for a year to focus on Yellowberry.
一个人创办并运行一家公司(她妈妈最近也在帮忙)并为市场带来一种新产品,这对任何人而言都具有挑战性,格拉塞要处理的事情比一般的首席执行官多得多。格拉塞说:“最大的挑战在于,我现在仍然是一个全日制学生,所以很难安排时间。我很高兴再过几个星期,我就高中毕业了,到时我可以全身心投入到工作中。”格拉塞可能会推迟一年上大学【她已经被米德尔伯里学院(Middlebury College)录取】,以便专注于Yellowberry的运营。

While Grassell may study business when she gets to college, she has already managed to do something that most MBAs dream of: She identified an unfulfilled niche in the marketplace and designed a specifically targeted product to fulfill the demand. As it turns out, her comfortable, well-designed cute products may disrupt the teen lingerie world.
格拉塞进入大学后可能会学习商科,不过她已经成功实现了大多数MBA毕业生们的梦想:她发现了一个未得到满足的利基市场,设计了具有针对性的产品来满足市场需求。事实证明,她的公司生产的可爱舒适、设计精美的产品可能会在少女内衣市场掀起一场风暴。

It appears that there is a lot of demand for wholesome, age-appropriate, fun bras for tweens and teens. At the time of this article, Grassell's product is completely sold out ("It's a very good problem to have," she said) and she is working to fill back orders as quickly as possible.
看来,少女们对健康舒适、充满趣味且适合少女年龄段的内衣有很大需求。在写这篇文章的时候,格拉塞的产品已经售罄(她说:“遇到这种问题很让人高兴”),她正在全力处理订单需求。

After calculus, of course.
当然,她得先要去学校上完微积分课。



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