The 24-year old jewelry designer, whose rings have been spotted on Serena Williams and Meghan Markle, uses half her profits to fund female entrepreneurs

Shilpa Yarlagadda looks at the camera wearing a white coat
Shilpa Yarlagadda

This article was originally published on November 4th, 2020. On September 14th, 2021 Meghan Markle wore Shiffon jewelry on the cover of Times’ 100 Most Influential List. This article has been updated to reflect that.

When Shilpa Yarlagadda was in between her freshman and sophomore years at Harvard, she had an idea.

At the time, she was a computer science major with no experience in jewelry. She did, however, have the desire to make a change. In Indian culture, jewelry holds great sentimental value and is something that is typically passed down for generations, said Yarlagadda. And as a Silicon Valley native, Yarlagadda grew up close to one of the US’ venture capital hotspots. Her idea was a jewelry business that would also “give women access to venture capital and opportunities beyond the capital,” she told Insider in a 2020 interview.

She took $5,000 in savings and $20,000 she won from a grant in high school to launch fine jewelry company Shiffon in 2017. Half of Shiffon’s profits are given to the company’s nonprofit organization, the Startup Girl Foundation, which focuses on funding female-owned businesses.

The Startup Girl Foundation takes equity in each company it invests in and all returns go back to the foundation so it can invest in more businesses. “Twenty-five thousand sounded like a lot of money, but now growing and seeing what other founders are able to do, I’m realizing it actually wasn’t,” she said. “We had to be really resourceful in what we did.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for the cover of Times' 100 most influential. On her left pink ring,  Markle wears a white suit while Harry is dressed in all Black.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for the cover of Times’ 100 most influential. On her left finger, Markle wears a Shiffon pinky ring.

Now 24 years old, Yarlagadda’s business is thriving – along with the companies she invested in – and her jewelry has been spotted on Emma Watson, Kate Moss, Serena Williams, Amanda Gorman, and Shailene Woodley. Recently, Meghan Markle wore a Shiffon ring on the cover of Times’ 2021 100 ‘most influential’ people issue, which she shared with husband Prince Harry.

Last November, Shiffon partnered with When We All Vote – co-chaired by Michelle Obama – to create a line of jewelry encouraging people to vote.

“In the boardrooms, women are still not given a fair and equal say,” Yarlagadda said. “We wanted to inspire and remind women how hard they work to get these rights and that their voice matters.”

Shiffon rings have a symbolic meaning

Shiffon’s most famous product is the Pinky Ring, a version of which the Duchess of Sussex sported on her Times cover.

It’s a pinky ring to represent the pinky promise that women will pay it forward to other women and is adjustable so it can fit everyone, Yarlagadda said.

Priced between $155 and $780, the ring’s spiral designs represent how the company aims to help women spiral upward. Those who buy the rings unlock a secret menu that gives them access to more Shiffon products.

This year the company also expanded into creating hoop earrings in which 19.65% of profits will be invested back into female businesses through the Startup Girl Foundation. The year 1965 was the year the Voting Rights Act passed, which protected voting rights for all women – especially those of color.


To date, profits from Shiffon have gone to support 11 startups, including the bra company Pepper and the espadrille brand Sea Star Beachwear, Yarlagadda said. This kind of investment is sorely needed: Last year, just 2.3% of VC funding went to startups led by women, down from 2.8% the year prior. That number is even more dismal for women of color.

“If we can create exponential growth and a chain reaction, it’s going to help us reach equality in the venture capital and business ecosystem sooner,” Yarlagadda said.

Shilpa Yarlagadda stands against a wall wearing a Harvard sweater
Shilpa Yarlagadda

Providing mentorship opportunities is also key for female entrepreneurs

Shiffon has a mentorship board including stylist Sarah Slutsky, Obama’s stylist Meredith Koop, photographers Inez & Vinoodh, and former Elle Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers, who also advise the founders that Startup Girl Foundation invests in.

Mentorship has played a big part in Yarlagadda’s career, and it’s almost as important for young entrepreneurs to receive mentorship as it is to receive capital, she said.

“Having key advice from people who’ve been there before and people that you look up to can just really make a huge difference,” Yarlagadda added.

Her own mentorship journey began in the early days of her business when she started contacting people she looked up to, including Slutsky, who is best known for working with celebrities like Emma Watson and Tory Burch.

A post shared by SHIFFON (@shiffonco)

It was Slutsky who, in addition to providing mentorship, taught Yarlagadda about the Kimberley Process – a certification scheme that requires participants to source conflict-free diamonds – and helped her find diamonds.

Yarlagadda has also been a mentor to the female founders who are part of her foundation, including Trisha Goyal, founder of tennis company Break The Love.

Founded in 2019, the company seeks to make tennis more accessible and has worked with Burch, sports equipment company Wilson, and received capital from Adidas’ venture fund. Goyal told Insider the foundation has given her resources on how to stand out in the male-dominated sports industry, and that Yarlagadda has reminded her that each small win is an important win for every person who comes after her.

“We jumped through so many hoops to get here and there are so many more hoops to come,” Yarlagadda said. “We’re going to have to continue advocating for women more, and I just like to remind women to use their voices, and that their voices matter.”

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Instant coffee is a billion-dollar market with a bad reputation. A startup backed by Meghan Markle is on a quest to usher in a new era.

Hannah Mendoza CLEVR Blends
Hannah Mendoza

When Hannah Mendoza was nine years old, she had an idea: a smoothie bar for kids.

She set up shop in her home economics class and organized a group of classmates to help sell her creations. It was something she loved, Mendoza told Insider. She didn’t know it would foreshadow the business she would one day run.

Today, Mendoza, 29, is CEO and cofounder of two-year-old Clevr Blends, a company that sells instant, “SuperLattes,” infused with “superfoods” like mushrooms and probiotics, which help with digestion. Priced at $28 a bag (each bag makes around 14 lattes), the company told Insider it saw a substantial increase in sales last year and is expecting the trajectory to continue throughout 2021.

On Tuesday, it launched its latest product, a Rose Cacao mix, infused with calming herbs.

Instant coffee has a bad reputation, Mendoza said. However, in her view, it works for next-gen consumers who are always on the go. By marketing her instant coffee as a healthy form of self-care, Mendoza is attempting to tap into the intersection of the billion-dollar coffee market and the trillion-dollar wellness industry. It seems to be working: Meghan Markle – who, alongside Prince Harry, made Times’ 2021’s 100 ‘most influential’ people list – invested an undisclosed amount last year. Oprah also posted about the brand on Instagram. Overall, packaged coffee sales rose during the pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

In an interview with Insider, Mendoza reveals the steps her company is taking to remake instant coffee’s reputation and connect with young consumers, including making sure the brand’s actions match its ethos of empowerment and investing in a sustainable supply chain.

Spotting an intersection of two thriving markets

The global instant coffee market hit $12.1 billion last year, while the global wellness market was estimated at over $4.4 trillion in 2019. Mendoza saw the chance to tap into both by making a coffee and tea alternative that has less sugar and uses an organic mushroom-infused latte mix instead of just coffee beans.

“I would love to be in a position where I can squeeze my own nut milk and blend up an elaborate drink, but that’s not the case and I know that’s not the case for a lot of people,” she continued.

Hannah Mendoza CLEVR Blends
The goal of Clevr Blends is simply to make people feel good, Mendoza said.

It took one year and “thousands” of iterations for Mendoza to settle on a recipe, she said. The result is now five different instant latte mixes, each infused with ingredients such as lion’s mane, a mushroom that helps improve memory, and ashwagandha, a root that helps reduce stress.

Young consumers, especially, seek to support brands that match their eco-conscious and social values, and Mendoza says it’s important for her brand to “put the money where its mouth is.”

That’s why the company strives to be transparent about its supply chain, touts its mostly female and non-binary team, and donates 1% of its revenue to charity.

“If there are 20 different types of matcha, we ask, ‘which one tastes the best, which one has the best transparent supply chain?” she said, adding, for example, the company sources matcha from Japan and buys turmeric from Diaspora Co., a company specializing in equitable spice trading, located in Oakland.

Clevr Blends also sources cocoa from a regenerative farm in the Ecuadorian rainforests, where farmers manage their lands to make the soil richly bio-diverse. This helps contribute to natural carbon mitigation, and the practice has been a growing trend as brands pivot toward becoming more environmentally friendly.

Knowing your customers intimately is key

In its early days, the Clevr Blends team took the time to meet with customers to garner feedback on how the products made them feel.

Daisy Pyo, a graphic designer based in Brooklyn, discovered the brand on Instagram, where its photos feature soothing pinks, yellows, and greens, waves crashing at the beach, and selfies of people sipping their instant lattes. Pyo told Insider she loves that the powders already contain adaptogens and probiotics so she can skip taking additional supplements in the morning.

Hannah Mendoza CLEVR Blends

“I really enjoy the ritualistic aspect of starting my day with making matcha in the mornings,” Pyo said. “It’s also just really tasty, so I see it as my little ‘pick-me-up.’ I feel good about incorporating it into my daily routine because I know it’s good for me.”

One high-profile customer turned out to be Markle, as Fortune reported, who found the brand after trying one of its instant lattes and became attracted to its ethical ingredients, community-focused business model, as well as the fact the company is female-led. Fortune reported that after news of the investment spread, the company had a month-long waitlist.

Hannah Mendoza CLEVR Blends
Hannah Mendoza

Working at a start-up was useful training for running her own

Mendoza always wanted to open her own business.

Growing up outside of London, she decided to move to California, without knowing a soul, after seeing an article about Emma Watson applying to school in the US.

Mendoza figured she’d give it a try, and went on to attend the University of California, Santa Barbra, where she studied applied psychology, global studies, and entrepreneurship.

Her first job was at food startup Imlak’esh Organics, where she learned the importance of organic farming, fostering healthy company culture, and how to be comfortable with the unknown.

It doesn’t hurt to take chances, either.

For instance, Clevr Blends is primarily e-commerce but is sold in one store – Erewhon Market in Los Angeles. A friend of Mendoza’s had a meeting set up with Erewhon buyers for his own product but believed in Clevr Blends so much, he snuck Mendoza and her cofounder into his own buyers’ meeting.

The buyers were skeptical at first but eventually fell in love with Clevr Blends. The same way Markle did, and Oprah, and all those kids at Mendoza’s elementary school. “It was an incredibly rough year for everyone,” Mendoza said. “But if what we’ve created made people’s mornings even ten percent easier – I’m really grateful for that.”

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A 23-year-old former waitress started her own restaurant marketing business that earns 6 figures. Here’s how she spends her days.

Sherane Chen
Sherane Chen

At 16, Sherane Chen started her first job at Steak-n-Shake as a waitress. By the age of 21, she’d launched a business specializing in restaurant marketing. Today it earns six figures, as seen in documents confirmed by Insider.

She got here by gaining restaurant industry experience, studying marketing, and having the confidence and wherewithal to spot an opportunity to combine her two areas of expertise. The hospitality industry was devastated by the pandemic, but the The National Restaurant Association is expecting some type of bounce back this year, with food and drink sales projected to hit $731.billion.

During and after college at the University of North Florida where she studied communications, Chen worked in restaurants. She made sure to build savings because she knew one day she wanted to start her own business.

After years as a waitress, she got a job in marketing at a local place called Oceanside Grill where she learned the operational aspects of the restaurant business. When she launched her own marketing firm focusing on social media management, graphic design, video creation, and hiring in 2019, Chen landed her first clients selling marketing services door to door.

“I would say, ‘hey I found your social and saw you weren’t active and I wanted to give you some tips on how you can get more customers in the door,'” she told Insider. She would leave behind her business card and wait for them to call.

Today her company has 17 clients and makes over six figures a year, according to documents provided to Insider. To Insider she reveals what her typical day is like, from walks on the beach, to endless Zoom calls with clients.

She wakes up at 7 a.m. making her first of many cups of coffee

Chen’s day typically begins at 7 a.m.

The eponymous restaurant company she founded has always been remote, which has allowed her to work from wherever, whenever. It currently has two-full time staffers including a graphic designer, a social media manager, and a part-time copywriter.

Before the pandemic, Chen used to work from local coffee shops, but now that she’s working from home, she invested in a top-tier coffee machine that keeps her going throughout the day. “I truly don’t know a marketer who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee to get all of the creative juices flowing,” she added.

Sherane Chen

After having her coffee, she then either makes breakfast or “treats” herself to a breakfast from a restaurant nearby. “Whenever I eat out for breakfast I usually take my computer so I can work on a few things while I’m out,” she continued. “The area I live in is peaceful and not very crowded so it’s usually just me getting things done while enjoying pancakes, eggs, bacon, and whatever else I decide to have that day.”

Around 9 a.m. she prepares to Zoom with her clients

After finishing breakfast, she prepares for her meetings with clients, which have been happening over Zoom since the pandemic struck.

Normally, she said, she would meet them at their restaurant to work on rebranding various parts of it, such as the menu, or develop new general marketing strategies. “We work on the strategy together and then I re-assign to my employees who took over most of the tactical things for me,” she said.

This part usually takes up most of her day. Meanwhile, Chen also makes ads for her own business, which she then runs on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to help attract new clients.

Chen always finds time to take a ‘breather’ during the day

Like most, her workload depends on what day she is having. “It’s not the same every day,” she said. “Some days are super chill and others are hectic. All holidays are really busy, and the start of each season – spring, summer, fall, and winter.”

Once Chen finishes the bulk of her workload, typically after lunch or in the early evening, she goes to get some fresh air. Her favorite place to go is the beach because it’s close to where she lives. “Taking a walk along the beach really helps to clear my head and gives me the boost of energy I need after being on the screen for so long,” she said.

Sherane Chen

Often during the day, Chen hops on the phone with her mentor Bruno DiFabio, a pizza chef who’s been helping her “learn the ropes” of the restaurant business for the past two years. Together they chat about ways to help grow her business.

And he isn’t the only mentor Chen has had these past few years – at 19, she met local business owner Nate Mayo, who does social media marketing and photography for various Jacksonville-based restaurants, and has a viral Instagram account that highlights popular food places in the area. Chen snagged an internship with Mayo around 2016 and began working for him, which inspired her to launch her own company.

After her ‘breather’ she goes straight back to work

She typically holds more meetings with restaurant owners throughout the evening, especially since the “lunch rush” is finished, which is usually around 2 p.m.

Chen says to manage the workload of having two jobs she makes sure to always take some time off. She books vacations and takes breathers such as the walk above. Chen also sometimes gets up an hour early to clear her head and prepare herself to stay focused for the day ahead.

After her breather, she usually goes back to work but likes to make a “quick snack.” She likes to recreate YouTube recipes, such as the snack she made pictured below. “I found this on Youtube years ago and have been eating it ever since,” she said. “Brown rice cakes, almond butter, and chia seeds are really filling and hit the spot when you are not a big lunch person.”

Sherane Chen
A snack

Around 6 p.m. she takes photographs outside

Chen’s favorite time of the day is “golden hour” – around 6 p.m. when the sky is a golden-tinted yellow. Chen takes advantage of the good quality light to take photographs of food she is seeking to help advertise.

Sometimes she has to hire someone to help her do it, as work can get busy. “I don’t really get a chance to do food photography anymore,” she said. “When I do have time to go, I love it.”

She eats dinner around 7:30, this day choosing to grab Mediterranean food. Afterward, she spends time studying – reading new books to help her gain knowledge in different areas outside of marketing. She’s currently reading “Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale” by Zig Ziglar and “Spin Selling” by Neil Rackham.

Sherane Chen

She goes to bed around 11 p.m.

Chen says she doesn’t really “finish” work until around 11 pm. “People always need me all day,” she said, of her marketing exec job. “It’s a management role so I always get my team texting me at all hours.”

But when the calls finally stop and the text messages slow down, Chen has time to think about her next business idea – a podcast agency that helps brands and entrepreneurs achieve success in podcasting. She’s already started running ads for the venture.

“I’m working toward seven streams of income to be a millionaire by 2025,” she said, adding that she has a dream board of other projects she would like to helm. Asked about possible burnout, Chen let her ambition answer for her. “Just keep your focus on what you’re working hard for,” she said. “If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen.”

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Brittni Popp’s 6-figure side hustle is making custom cakes for celebrities like Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian

Brittni Popp
  • Brittni Popp‘s custom cake business Betchin Cakes helps people celebrate important moments in life.
  • Betchin Cakes saw a 120% increase in sales from last year and is on track to book six figures in sales this year.
  • This is part of Insider’s series Star, Rising which highlights early-stage entrepreneurs who are gaining popularity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Name: Brittni Popp

Age: 31

Location: Redondo Beach, CA

Business: Brittni Popp likes to help people commemorate their important life moments, whether that’s a bridal party, divorce, or even an expunged DUI. Her business, Betchin Cakes, sells highly customized baked goods that come adorned with decorations like Barbie dolls or empty nips. In the two years since she launched her side hustle, she’s landed high-profile customers like Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian.

Brittni Popp
Brittni Popp

“It’s always been about making people happy and having a moment for them,” she told Insider. “The coolest part about it is that I’ve been the most authentic this entire time – that’s what’s getting me business.”

She doesn’t bake the cakes, just decorates them. The base cost for a cake is $150 but prices can increase depending on the amount of customization. Popp’s most expensive cake was around $900.

Before Betechin: Popp briefly studied communications at a local junior college before dropping out in 2009. Now, she works full time in business development for grants management software company eCivis.

Growth: Betchin Cakes saw a 120% increase in sales from last year and is on track to book six figures in sales this year, Popp says. The Instagram account has 12,000 followers and Popp recently expanded into making cupcakes and cakes for puppies and children.

Despite the increase in business, Popp says each week is different – in one she can decorate 18 cakes, and in another, she’ll only tackle five. “It’s never normal and I’m the queen of last-minute orders,” she said.

Challenges: Since Betchin Cakes started as a passion project, Popp has been learning how to run a business on the fly. However, she’s found it difficult to create a balanced working schedule, especially as she continues to work full time.

Brittni Popp
Paris Hilton with a Betchin cake

Business advice: Take risks, Popp said. “Don’t be afraid to try and make your ideas come to life and into something that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.”

Brittni Popp

Business mentor: Popp calls Lauryn Bosstick, founder of skincare brand Skinny Confidential, a mentor. Popp followed Bosstick’s career on Instagram before cold messaging her last year, asking for her thoughts on Betchin Cakes as a business. “It’s great to have these women in the industry who are starting out just like me and gone through the same obstacles,” Popp said, referring to Bosstick’s journey of turning her passion into a full-time job.

Why is now the best time to start a business? “I would say anytime is a good time,” Popp said, noting that many people make excuses when it comes to launching their passion projects. “I genuinely started my company wanting to make people feel special and have a moment they remembered.”

Hiring in today’s labor shortage: Popp’s friends help her bake, decorate, deliver and ship the cakes, but that’s on a part-time basis. The rest is up to her. “I do my own marketing, buying, sourcing, and client calls right now,” she said. “Everything is pretty personal.”

Popp hopes to expand her business, which could include hiring, but is still imaging what a mature version of Betchin Cakes would look like. “This year has been a big year for me,” she said. “There’s so much opportunity and the demand is really high.”

Managing burnout: Popp prioritizes scheduling personal time, including a two-week vacation each summer. She and her boyfriend visit their houseboat on the Colorado River and she disconnects from social media. “It’s a great break from reality to disconnect,” she said. “I always make time for a break.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The latest “it bag” is affordable, accessible, and counts Beyonce as a fan. Here’s what its business model is doing right.

  • Fashion brand Telfar is rewriting the rules of luxury and it’s not hard for other brands to follow suit.
  • With its Bag Security Program, customers have a better chance of snagging the brand’s high-demand products.
  • Experts explain why it’s paving the way for next-gen luxury consumers and entrepreneurs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tianni Graham, 27, remembers the “before times” – that is, the harrowing months before Telfar introduced its Bag Security Program.

It was early last summer and she, along with thousands of others, was stuck testing their luck each day trying to buy the wildly popular Telfar handbag whose celeb fans include Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Solange. But they often sold out before anyone could click ‘check out.’

It turns out, robots and resellers were buying products in bulk, making it harder for real customers to purchase them. So, last summer, Telfar introduced its Bag Security Program, in hopes of giving customers better access to its bags by allowing patrons 24 hours to pre-order any bag on the site, with no limits on how many can be purchased. The bag is then made to order, and shipped directly to the customer.

Its first drop, which happened last August, brought in about $20 million – about 10x what Telfar made in all of 2019.

Suddenly, Graham, who is also a fashion archivist and consultant, had her green Telfar bag. It arrived right before Christmas and was a “present to myself,’ she told Insider, adding that other brands could benefit from implementing a similar program. “It would make things so much easier and make the customer feel like you care.”

The program’s success shows how a luxury brand can create accessibility without losing the allure of exclusivity. The old-school model for luxury brands states the product should be scarce and elite, but the next generation of high-end consumers and entrepreneurs are taking a different route.

What’s more, Telfar is growing its exposure by becoming an official sponsor of the Liberian National team for the Olympics – Clemens is of Liberian descent. Additionally, the brand released collaborations with Ugg and Converse, accessible brands that are affordable to a mass audience, rather than Louis Vuittion and Supreme or Dior and Nike partnerships, which target the aspirational class.

Teflar is rewriting the rules of luxury, and this time, it’s not too hard for other brands to follow suit.

Telfar ‘white glove treatment’ is what next-gen luxury shoppers crave

Young consumers look less at price tags and more at brand values when determining where to spend their money; these next-gen consumers want sustainability, inclusivity, and a sense of community. The new “white glove treatment” when it comes to luxury shopping is a speedy online checkout from a brand that cares.

For Telfar’s latest drop this week, customers had the option to use the payment installment plan Klarna, making it even easier for those looking to obtain a bag. While customers will have to wait a few months before receiving the bag, people often spend years on a Birkin bag “waiting list” and most will probably never get one.

Shortly before Telfar’s program ended this week, a spokesperson for the brand told Insider it was, already, “going very well.”

Telfar started with an aim of inclusive luxury

Telfar was founded in 2005 by its eponymous founder Telfar Clemens and has dedicated the past two decades to building an inclusive business model.

In 2014, it released its now-iconic vegan leather handbag, which takes inspiration from a Bloomingdale’s shopping bag. The bags became widely available around 2018 after Telfar won $400,000 from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, allowing the company to expand production.

Clemens described his brand to The Cut as being “genderless, democratic, and transformative,” purposely seeking to challenge the notion that high fashion is only for a certain group of people, with the brand motto being “Not For You – For Everyone.”


Now, Telfar bags come in three sizes, with prices ranging from $150 to $257. (For comparison, Birkin bags go for at least $12,000 while Black-owned luxury brands such as Brother Veilles go for at least $1,295.)

As reported by FT, handbag sales in the US declined 18% between 2016 and 2019. Yet, Telfar stood out – in 2016, the brand earned $102,000, growing to earn $2 million in 2019. Last year, New York Magazine deemed its bag the “Bushwick Birkin” and the brand was on pace to earn eight figures, even as the fashion industry was expected to take a 90% loss in profits due to the pandemic.

Boston Consulting Group’s Head of Luxury Sarah Willersdorf told Insider that Telfar has checked all the boxes on what it takes to connect with next-gen luxury shoppers. She said the brand has a narrative that “evokes emotion” and properly intertwines timelessness, creative partnerships, and culturally relevant authorities. GQ pointed out Telfar’s customer base was built, not through influencers, but through “customer aspiration alone.”

Telfar Clemens.

Raising the bar for next-gen luxury

Brands like Telfar are important in proving accessible business models can be just as lucrative. Willersdorf expects other brands to follow similar strategies in a post-pandemic world, as shopping continues to pivot online.

In the old days – a pre-millennial world, perhaps – having too much of a product is thought to dilute its value. The Bag Security program defies that. But even the most tech-savvy luxury brand is often behind the curve, as Insider has previously reported.

“Luxury brands are always nervous,” Joseph Yakuel, CEO and founder of consulting firm Within, told Insider last year. “There’s so much risk to them tarnishing their brand reputation because luxury brand price points are only supported by their perception, and if their brand perception goes down market, their price point gets eroded very quickly.”

Clemens and his artistic director, Babak Radboy, said they aren’t worried about oversaturation. It’s about community, now. The new “white glove treatment” is making sure everybody gets a pair that fits perfectly.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the Cathys, heirs to the Chick-fil-A empire, who have a fortune of more than $14 billion and are one of America’s wealthiest family ‘dynasties’

chick fil a family 4x3
The Cathy family.

When it comes to the Cathy family’s reported $14.2 billion fortune, it’s all about the fried chicken. That’s because the Cathys are the family behind the Chick-fil-A empire.

S. Truett Cathy officially founded the popular fast-food chain in the 1960s, laying the roots for what is today America’s 21st-richest family wealth “dynasty,” according to the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies’ “Silver Spoon Oligarchs” Report.

Since then, the family-owned business has remained in the hands of second- and third-generation family members. Truett’s sons, Dan Cathy and Don “Bubba” Cathy, run the company as CEO and executive vice president, respectively – they each have a reported net worth of $7.1 billion, according to the Forbes 400.

Born and raised in the south, the Cathy family has been dedicated to continuing Truett’s legacy, growing Chick-fil-A across the US. Chick-fil-A has been celebrated for its company culture, customer service, and quality food, but it has also received backlash over anti-same-sex marriage issues that align with the Cathys’ Christian beliefs.

Take a look inside the rise of Chick-fil-A and the family behind it.

The Cathy family’s multibillion-dollar fortune is rooted in the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

S. Truett Cathy
S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A (second right) poses with son Dan T. Cathy (far left), daughter Trudy White, and son Donald “Bubba” Cathy.

SourceForbes, Business Insider

In 1946, without any management or restaurant experience, S. Truett and his brother Ben opened an Atlanta diner called the Dwarf Grill, later renamed the Dwarf House.

Truett Cathy

Source: Business Insider

It was there that they first served chicken sandwiches, mainly to Ford factory workers and airport employees who worked nearby.

truett cathy

Source: Forbes

Three years later, Ben died in a plane crash and Truett found himself handling the business on his own.

truett cathy

Source: Forbes

In 1967, he opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant at a mall in Atlanta.

truett cathy chick fil a

Source: Forbes

More than 60 years later, Chick-fil-A is a massive restaurant empire.

chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A

Today, it has more than 2,500 restaurants across 47 states and Washington, DC.

chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A

In 2019, it was the third-largest restaurant chain in the US by sales in 2019, bringing in $11.3 billion.

chickfila thanksgiving

Source: Insider

It’s the most profitable fast-food chain in America on a per-location basis, with the average per-unit revenue greater than $4 million.

Chick fil A
hick-fil-A cow and brand ambassador attend the PANDORA Discovery Den SXSW on March 17, 2016 in Austin, Texas.

Source: Business Insider, QSR

According to Forbes, Truett “practically invented the idea of a quickly served chicken sandwich.”


Source: Forbes

Chick-fil-A is a family-owned business. Truett had three children with his wife, Jeannette: Dan, Don “Bubba,” and Trudy.

truett cathy office
Truett’s family photos.

Source: Forbes

When he passed away in 2014, he left the fast-food chain to his sons, Dan and Bubba. They’re America’s 21st-richest family-wealth “dynasty,” according to a recent report.

dan cathy
Dan Cathy.

Source: Forbes, The Silver Spoon Oligarchs Report 

Dan is Chick-fil-A’s chairman and CEO – he spends a lot of time visiting restaurants and grand openings across the US.

Dan Cathy

Source: Forbes, Forbes

It’s a fitting position for someone who grew up doing odd jobs at Chick-fil-A, including scraping chewing gum from table bottoms with a butter knife.

chick fil a dan cathy

Source: Forbes

He helped expand Chick-fil-A’s growth monetarily and geographically, opening restaurants in big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Chick-fil-A in Manhattan, New York.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Dan lives on a farm south of Atlanta with his wife, Rhonda. He has two sons, Andrew and Ross, and three grandchildren.

cathy dan

Source: Chick-fil-A

Outside of Chick-fil-A, he’s very involved in community organizations, including the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Aquarium, and Atlanta Committee for Progress. He’s particularly passionate about the revitalization of Atlanta’s Westside.

georgia aquarium

Source: Chick-fil-A

He also serves on multiple boards and is involved in ministries, philanthropies, and nonprofits such as City of Refuge, Passion City Church, and the Rock Ranch.

dan cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

In his spare time, Dan plays the trumpet, gardens, and landscapes.

dan cathy chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A

He also pilots small jets and rides motorcycles. He was previously a competitive wrestler.

chick fil a dan cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

His brother, Bubba, has held a number of positions in the company, including construction apprentice, and is the executive vice president.

Bubba Cathy photo (1)

Source: Chick-fil-A, Forbes

Like his brother, Bubba is a motorcyclist, leading groups on charity rides in the US. He’s also an avid sailor, taking groups on charity yacht voyages.

bubba cathy

Source: Forbes

Dan and Bubba both have fortunes of $7.1 billion, according to the most recent Forbes 400 list.

dan cathy

Source: Forbes 400

Their sister, Trudy Cathy White, began working for the family business at age 19 when she became operator of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama. Today, she’s an ambassador.

Trudy Cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

She’s also an author – her book “Climb Every Mountain” is published by Simon & Schuster.

climb every mountain trudy white

Source: Simon & Schuster

It could be said that she got the writing gene from her father, who published five books about business, motivation, and parenting during his lifetime.

truett cathy book

Source: Business Insider

She and her husband, John, have four children and 15 grandchildren.

trudy cathy white

Source: Trudy Cathy White

Truett raised his children in a “modest house” but had a car collection that included former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s 1937 Lincoln Continental, George Glaze’s Brewster 8 Town Car, and a 1931 Duesenberg.

truett cathy car collection

Source: Business Insider

The Cathy family is known for their Southern Baptist values – Chick-fil-A is famously closed on Sundays, restaurant openings often include prayer, and employees are advised “to base your business in biblical principles.”

chick fil a

Source: Forbes, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal

Truett and his wife created the WinShape Foundation in the 1980s, which donates money to Christian organizations and offers residential camps, a retreat center, and a foster home.

truett cathy

Source: Business Insider

Truett taught Sunday school for more than 50 years. Dan followed in his footsteps – he teaches Bible study on Sundays.

truett cathy chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A, Business Insider

The Whites served for 20 years with the International Mission Board. For half that time, they served as missionaries in Brazil, where they started a small church.

trudy white

Source: Chick-fil-A

They also cofounded Lifeshape and Impact 360 Institute, two religious nonprofits.

trudy cathy white

Source: Chick-fil-A

In 2012, Dan stirred controversy for his comments on gay marriage. In an interview with Baptist Press, he said he’s “guilty as charged” when it comes to supporting what he calls the “biblical definition of the family unit.”

chick fil a anti gay

Source: Baptist Press

WinShape was criticized for donating to anti-gay marriage groups – about $5 million since 2003, Forbes reported in 2012. Chick-fil-A told Insider in 2019 that giving to all but one of these organizations – Fellowship of Christian Athletes – has stopped.

chick fil a anti gay marriage

Source: Forbes, Forbes

Dan has said the chain doesn’t have an anti-gay agenda. “While my family and I believe in the biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees,” he previously said.

chick fil a kiss in.JPG

Source: Forbes

Chick-fil-A may be considered controversial by some, but it also has a reputation for its commitment to customer service and employee experience: It’s received a number of rankings in both categories and has been dubbed the “Best Franchise Brand.”

Chick fil A

Source: Chick-fil-A

Its giving arm, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, is focused on providing support for youth and education programs nationwide. In 2017, they funded $150,000 programs for Salvation Army, including camps for kids and the Angel Tree program in Atlanta.

salvation army

Source: Chick-fil-A

And back in April 2020, Chick-fil-A donated $10.8 million to local communities for pandemic relief.

chick fil a pandemic
People walk past Chick-fil-A in New York City.

Source: Chick-fil-A

In 1973, Truett initiated a scholarship program called Remarkable Futures Initiative. It has awarded $75 million to nearly 53,000 team members, Chick-fil-A told Insider in 2019.


Source: The Wall Street Journal

In 2021, it awarded $19 million in scholarships to restaurant team members.


Source: Chick-fil-A

Franchisees have been known to cover costs for not just a worker’s education, but for support during a personal emergency. They also encourage employees to follow their dreams.

chick fil a

Source: Business Insider

Chick-fil-A’s employee culture translates to how the brand treats its customers, with a focus on quality food and a pleasant dining experience. It’s taken on a healthier menu, removing all trans fats from its foods, using only antibiotic-free meats, and even establishing an Innovation Center to develop recipes.


Source: Business Insider

In 2018, it was rated the most beloved fast-food restaurant in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey.

Chick fil A

Source: Insider

Ever the family-owned business, Chick-fil-A has no plans to go public.

chick fil a cow.JPG
Truett’s family photos.

Source: Insider

The Cathy family has been working together for more than 70 years and third-generation members continue to carry on the tradition – 12 of Truett’s grandchildren work at Chick-fil-A.

truett cathy mark cathy
Truett with grandson Mark Cathy.

Source: Forbes, Chick-fil-A

New York Times reporter Kim Severson wrote in 2012 that many people in Atlanta have respect for the Cathy family.

mark cathy
Mark Cathy.

Source: The New York Times

“People speak of the Cathys as if they were local royalty, and the company logo is as much a part of the Atlanta cityscape as Coca-Cola’s,” she wrote.

chick fil a

Source: The New York Times

When asked what was so smart about creating his chicken sandwich, Truett answered with, “Nothing. That’s why I was able to do it.”

S. Truett Cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millennial entrepreneur Brandon Blackwood shares how $7,000 and Instagram helped him build a handbag empire that’s on track to book $30 million in revenue

Brandon Blackwood
Brandon Blackwood

  • Brandon Blackwood is a handbag designer who is on track to book $30 million in revenue this year.
  • His eponymous business is best known for its “end systemic racism” tote that went viral last summer.
  • He found success by cultivating connections with customers and sharing his political views on Instagram.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fashion designer Brandon Blackwood was at a crossroads last summer: Along with other Black-owned brands, he saw an increase in support as Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation. He was inspired but didn’t want to create just another handbag for his collection.

“It felt fake and dangerous to do at such an important time,” Blackwood said.

In early July, he conceptualized a small tote bag printed with the words “end systemic racism” and planned to donate a portion of proceeds to the pro bono legal assistance program Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Almost two weeks later, Blackwood launched his collection of 500 “ESR” bags, made in 37 different colors and materials.

It sold out in two hours. “That’s when I knew the bag was more powerful and necessary than even I expected,” Blackwood told Insider.

Blackwood built his eponymous fashion label in six years and is now selling in the prestigious retailers that once rejected his designs. He found success by cultivating connections with customers and sharing his political views on Instagram.

Brandon Blackwood, which sells in bags ranging from $70 to $8,500, booked $3 million in revenue last year. Today, the brand already netted $6.5 million in revenue and estimates it will hit $30 million by the end of the year, according to documents viewed by Insider.

Blackwood shared how he built a brand with strong messaging that’s been sported by celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Normani, and Joan Collins.

Building a Black-owned brand from the ground up

Blackwood was born and raised in Brooklyn, and when it came time for college, his parents believed he was pursuing a degree in neuroscience at Bard College in upstate New York.

Brandon Blackwood
Brandon Blackwood

Growing up in a “strict Jamaican household,” he had two options: become a doctor or lawyer. “It was ingrained in me that no other job exists and nothing else will make you successful,” said Blackwood, now 29.

But he secretly pursued fashion instead, interning at Bergdorf Goodman and Elle Magazine, in addition to working with a manufacturer to make custom handbags for himself.

On graduation day, the announcer read the title of his thesis as he walked across the stage. His parents were expecting to hear something neuroscience-related and not his actual thesis title, “Diane von Furstenberg: Feel Like A Woman, Wear a Dress.”

“My whole family was caught off guard,” Blackwood recalled. “But I was like well, I can’t turn back now.”

After college, in 2013, Blackwood returned to Brooklyn and worked as a buyer at a consignment shop for about $10 an hour. During that time, strangers often compliment the backpack he designed and wore, asking where they could buy it.

“That’s where it clicked,” said Blackwood, who then aspired to create a brand people would feel proud to wear. “I should start taking this more seriously.”

He trademarked his name and began saving money – often opting to walk instead of paying subway fare. “It was either pay for my samples or a train ticket to work, ” he said.

Blackwood saved $7,000 and officially launched his brand in 2015 with four bags named after his close friends and brother. But he couldn’t get into stores because his name wasn’t big enough and e-commerce sales were slow because nobody knew who he was.

“No one was really seeking Black-owned brands,” he said. “It was about top-selling brands, which was disheartening to see.”

Zacharina Dainkeh
Zacharina Dainkeh

Using Instagram to connect with fans and reach cult-status

To build a relationship with customers, he used Instagram to boost his voice and identity. Blackwood often shared candid photos of himself with his bags, his diverse consumer base, and used the platform to voice his political opinions.

In the comments, he also would ask shoppers what colors and materials they’d want to see on his next bags. Business was steady, until 2020 when he released the “end systemic racism” tote.

After selling out his initial 500 bags, Blackwood restocked and sought celebrities who would promote it on social media. Most were reluctant to do so, he said.

Then, in August, he took a chance and cold messaged Kardashian on Instagram, asking her to share a photo with her 224 million followers. She obliged, and in late October, shared a picture that received more than 2 million likes.

“When she did that everyone began circling back around,” Blackwood said. Since then, other bag styles have gone viral, such as its mini trunk bag seen styled on Jessica Alba. He’s also begun working with a diverse set of celebrities to promote his work, including singer Doja Cat, model Winnie Harlow, and tech heiress Jaime Xie.

Most of his consumers are millennials and Gen Zers, who support brands that appear authentic and share their socio-political and ethical views. Fashion blogger Zacharina Dainkeh, 23, bought the “ESR” tote last summer, telling Insider the message resonated with how she was feeling at the time.

“I always support businesses that are important to me,” she said, adding that Black designers are undervalued. “We are not trends – we are everlasting and here to stay.”

Predencia Solange, 28, an account executive based in Brooklyn also bought the “ESR” tote in an effort to support more Black designers. She said systemic racism has played part in her life as a woman and color, and being more sociopolitically conscious as a Black woman also meant being also being more conscious as a buyer, she told Insider.

“I wear the bag in style, mood and politics,” she said.

A future without the End Systemic Racism tote

This March, Blackwood discontinued the tote. He didn’t want the bag to become a trend that distracts from its initial purpose to give back.

Brandon Blackwood
Brandon Blackwood

But he’s already made a name for himself that extends beyond the viral hit.

The brand just released its spring selection of bags, and some styles have already sold out. He’s now joined other Black fashion entrepreneurs such as Telfar Clemens, Christopher John Rogers, and Kirby Jean-Raymond, who are seeking to redefine the luxury sector.

Luxury within the Black community is about comfort and taste, rather than price point, said Blackwood and fashion historian Darnell-Jamal Lisby. For the new rising crop of Black luxury entrepreneurs, it’s also about being accessible and making sure Black people can be included in the conversation of luxury that has long excluded them.

This is one reason why Blackwood’s company insists on letting customers pre-order items to ensure everyone gets a bag, similar to Telfar’s Bag Security Program, which Insider hailed the “New White Glove Treatment.”

Today, Blackwood’s bags are sold in some of the very stores that once turned him down. He hopes to expand into shoes, outerwear, and sunglasses to become a household name.

“People think I’m this new person who came from nowhere but that’s not the case – there are five years of history behind this,” he said. “This is one of the few times where I can finally take a step back and breathe.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet Zhang Yiming, the secretive Chinese billionaire behind TikTok worth $44 billion who just stepped down as ByteDance CEO

zhang yiming net worth bytedance tiktok 2x1
ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming makes his own TikToks – and requires his senior employees to as well.

  • Zhang Yiming has built a $44.5 billion fortune since cofounding ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant behind TikTok.
  • Despite being one of the wealthiest people in China, Zhang is extremely private and little is known about his personal life.
  • Zhang recently stepped down as ByteDance CEO, saying he’s “not very social” and lacks management skills.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The widespread popularity of TikTok has not just created a new generation of social media stars, it has also created a social media billionaire.

Zhang Yiming, the 38-year-old software engineer who founded the app’s parent company, ByteDance, now has a net worth of $44.5 billion, Bloomberg estimates. Despite being one of the wealthiest people in China as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhang is extremely private and little is known about his personal life.

After running the company for nearly a decade, Zhang stepped down as CEO this week, Reuters reported, telling employees that he’s “not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and contemplating what may be possible.”

“The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager,” Zhang said, according to Reuters, saying he would be a better help to the company in a role that didn’t involve managing people directly.

Keep reading to learn everything we know about Zhang Yiming.

Zhang, 38, lives in Beijing, China.

Zhang Yiming bytedance

Zhang was born in 1983 in China’s Fujian province, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Zhang’s parents worked as civil servants, Bloomberg reported.

His name is based on a Chinese proverb about “surprising everyone with a first attempt,” according to the South China Morning Post.

He married his college sweetheart.

Nankai University is located in Tianjin, north China.

Zhang graduated from Nankai University in 2005, where he started off studying microelectronics before switching his major to software engineering, the South China Morning Post reported.

The couple does not have any children, according to the South China Morning Post.

Zhang’s first job out of college was at a digital travel booking startup called Kuxun.

Yiming zhang bytedance
ByteDance founder & CEO Yiming Zhang.

“I was one of first employees. And I was an ordinary engineer at the beginning, but in the second year, I was in charge of about 40 to 50 people responsible for back-end technology and other tasks related to products,” Zhang told ByteDance employees, according to the South China Morning Post.

Zhang credits that job for teaching him sales skills that he later used to grow ByteDance.

“I remember that at the end of 2007, I went to meet the client with the sales director,” Zhang said, according to the Post. “This experience let me know what sales are good sales. When I established Toutiao and recruited staff, these examples helped me a lot.”

Zhang also worked at Microsoft before founding ByteDance, the South China Morning Post reported.

Zhang founded TikTok’s parent company in 2012.

The headquarters of Beijing Bytedance Technology Co Ltd, in Beijing, China.

The company is now worth $250 billion, according to Bloomberg, making it the most valuable privately held company in the world.

The company owns several social networking apps that operate within China, Insider previously reported. The company released a WeChat rival called FlipChat, and a video-messaging app called Duoshan in 2019.

Zhang and ByteDance’s first product was a news aggregator app called Toutiao.

toutiao bytedance
An ad for Bytedance’s news feed aggregator app Toutiao. Zhang not pictured.

Zhang wanted to create a news platform whose results were powered by artificial intelligence, separate from China’s search engine Baidu, Insider previously reported.

“We push information, not by queries, by news recommendations,” Zhang told Bloomberg in 2017.

Despite its focus on news, Zhang told Bloomberg’s Lulu Yilun Chen and Mark Bergen in 2017 that ByteDance does not have any journalists on its staff like many other social networks.

“The most important thing is that we are not a news business,” Zhang told Bloomberg. “We are more like a search business or a social media platform. We are doing very innovative work. We are not a copycat of a U.S. company, both in product and technology.”

Zhang launched ByteDance’s most successful app – TikTok – under the name ‘Douyin’ in September 2016.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration/File Photo
The logo of TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken

In 2020, Insider reported that TikTok is the No. 1 non-gaming iOS app in the U.S. TikTok is one of the most popular social networks among American teens and has been downloaded more than 1 billion times.

TikTok still goes by the name ‘Douyin’ in China, Insider previously reported. 

Zhang makes his own TikToks – and requires his senior employees to as well.

TikTok ByteDance
TikTok has seen a meteoric rise.

“For a very long time, I was merely watching TikTok videos without making any of them myself, because it’s a product mainly for young people,” Zhang said, according to the South China Morning Post. “But later on we made it compulsory for all management team members to make their own TikTok videos, and they must win a certain number of ‘likes’. Otherwise, they have to do push-ups. It was a big step for me.”

Zhang’s leadership style is “soft-spoken yet charismatic, logical yet passionate, young yet wise,” according to Time Magazine’s Kai-Fu Lee.

TikTok’s global reach makes Zhang’s life “much more interesting.”

Man walks past a sign of ByteDance's app TikTok, known locally as Douyin, at an expo in Hangzhou
A man holding a phone walks past a sign of Chinese company ByteDance’s app TikTok, known locally as Douyin, at the International Artificial Products Expo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China October 18, 2019.

Zhang wants the app to continue to grow abroad, saying that he hopes his ByteDance will be “as borderless as Google,” according to the South China Morning Post.

“We must work harder, we must also be more perfectionist,” Zhang said, according to the Post. “Just like there was an international division of labour in the industrial age, in today’s information age there’s also an international division of labour. Chinese entrepreneurs must also improve their own capabilities as they go global,” he said.

However, TikTok’s growing influence in the US has raised questions from US regulators.

FTC building

TikTok agreed in February 2019 to pay a $5.7 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission over allegations the app illegally collected personal information from children under age 13 without parental consent, in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Insider previously reported.

President Trump threatened to ban the app in the US over alleged security concerns in July 2020, prompting ByteDance to pursue deals to sell TikTok’s US operations to potential buyers including Oracle and Microsoft. The proposed deals sparked fierce attacks on Zhang on Chinese social media, where he was called a traitor, a coward, and an American apologist for negotiating with the American tech titan.

But ByteDance ultimately walked away from the deals after the election of Joe Biden, who experts say is unlikely to continue fighting for the ban.

The billionaire attributes his success to his work ethic.

Zhang Yiming bytedance
ByteDance founder & CEO Zhang Yiming.

Zhang learned the value of pursuing excellence while still in his first job at Kuxun, he told ByteDance employees, according to the South China Morning Post.

“At that time, I was responsible for the technology, but when the product had problems, and I would actively participate in the discussion of [the] product plan,” Zhang said, according to the South China Morning Post. “A lot of people say this is not what I should be doing. But I want to say: your sense of responsibility and your desire to do things well, will drive you to do more things and to gain experience.”

Zhang’s fortune is growing rapidly: He made over $12 billion in 2018 alone.

Zhang Yiming
Zhang Yiming.

The majority of Zhang’s fortune comes from his 24% stake in ByteDance, according to Forbes.

Forbes first declared Zhang a billionaire in March 2018, estimating that Zhang was worth $4 billion. Bloomberg now estimates his net worth at $44.5 billion.

Read the original article on Business Insider

28-year-old Tyra Myricks makes 7 figures and has 5 side hustles. Here’s how she typically spends a day.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

  • Tyra Myricks, 28, makes seven figures a year working a day job and five side hustles.
  • She works for Drake, has a fashion line, a branding company, a website for entrepreneurial resources, a pizza shop, and co-owns a gym.
  • To Insider, she breaks down what a typical day looks like.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If the Land of Side Hustles had a queen, it would surely be 28-year-old Tyra Myricks, daughter of hip hop legend Jam Master Jay. It all began in 2009 when she launched a fashion label while still in high school that eventually helped pay her way through college. She initially went to university to study pre-med but dropped out after the label saw her earning over double her tuition.

She took the streetwear world by storm with celebrity partnerships, and advertising on Instagram’s TMZ the Shade Room. In 2012, she rebranded the company now known as Wealth as high fashion streetwear.

“It’s not the business you do, it’s what you do differently,” she told Insider.

Aside from owning a fashion label, and branding and merchandising company, she’s also the co-owner of The Method, Los Angeles’ first Black-owned gym. Myricks is also about to launch a pizza shop with T’yanna Wallace, daughter of rapper Biggie Smalls, and she’s co-creating a platform to provide young entrepreneurs with resources to start their own businesses.

“It’s not an easy game,” she said of being an entrepreneur. “Everybody on the internet shows the glorious side, but nobody shows the treacherous side where it’s hard to get up in the morning.”

Her day job, of course, is working as director of design, merchandising, and development for Drake’s OVO lifestyle brand, which earns her six figures a year. In total, she makes about seven figures a year and says a secret to her success is knowing how to constantly be agile with the opportunities life brings.

To Insider, she breaks down how she puts that process to use on a typical day.

She wakes up at 5:45 in the morning

Waking up before the break of dawn, Myricks prays, takes a shower, gets dressed, and downs six espresso shots. Her first stop this morning is to The Method to prepare the gym for opening.

Around 6:30 a.m. she leaves the house and puts on gospel music as she drives downtown, trying to beat the morning traffic rush.

At 7 a.m. she opens the gym and gets breakfast

She arrives at the gym and inspects everything to make sure space was cleaned properly before closing the night before. She also folds extra towels and gets the system ready for patrons.

Myricks became co-owner in the gym after investing a substantial amount last year, though she declined to share how much she gave. There are no employees at the gym, though it has 17 independent contractors. It opened in a new location last summer in the middle of the pandemic. Myricks remembers that day clearly because a few days later, the city of Los Angeles shut down again due to COVID-19.

“It was a grand opening, grand closing,” she said.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

During the shutdown, they moved classes outdoors, which helped cover overhead costs (rent is $6,500 a month). Currently, the club has nearly 300 members, giving it a feel of exclusivity, which is something Myricks prizes in all of her entrepreneurial endeavors.

Membership is $99 a month, another reason to ensure service is top-notch. “What’s stopping someone from going to planet fitness for $30 a month?” Myricks said.

After opening the gym she gets breakfast. This day: a green smoothie.

Then, she preps for her day job

Myricks is also the director of design, merchandising, and development for rapper Drake’s OVO lifestyle brand. At 9:30 a.m., still at the gym, she prepares for a Zoom call with the OVO team to discuss upcoming projects. That lasts until about 11 a.m.

Cofounded by Drake in 2011, OVO is known for selling high-end streetwear and has done collaborations with Canada Goose, and the Major League Baseball, as well as having hosted pop-ups at Nordstrom and the once-popular retail store Colette in Paris. “I look at the recipe and formula a lot of successful people use and get little pieces of that to create my own recipe and formula to be successful,” she said.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

Afterward, another business partner meets her at the gym to discuss upcoming projects for the branding agency they own together. Drake offered Myricks a job after seeing some of the branding and merchandising work her agency did for an artist signed to his label. She moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2017 to take the job.

Without giving exact numbers, Myricks said she makes six figures a year from working at OVO, where she leads the design team, approves and denies designs, and deals with manufacturers overseas. “It’s a constant 24-hour job because China and other manufacturers are 12 hours ahead of us,” she said. “When you ask what is a day like – it’s literally a day. It’s a constant revolving door that never stops.”

At 11:28 a.m. she starts working on her fashion side hustle

Next, she heads to the factory she co-owns with a business partner and begins ordering fabric for her Wealth fashion line which she primarily sells online and in one store in downtown LA.

“This isn’t because other stores aren’t interested,” she said. “We like to keep exclusivity.”

She also discusses plans with her business partner on renovating the space next door to expand the factory, makes sure production is on track and approves new patterns for sweaters. There are 16 people currently working for her company, and the brand produces about 2,500 units each week. Each item sells for between $13 and $1,300.

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks

Finally, it’s lunch time

An assistant brings her lunch around noon, which today is a grilled chicken salad. Before eating it, however, she heads to the screen printer to drop off samples for Wealth’s upcoming fall/winter collection.

When she gets to Wealth headquarters around 2 p.m., she finally eats lunch as she packs all of the orders that arrived the day before, preparing to ship them to customers.

Next, she orders a double shot of espresso from Blue Bottle Cafe. Then, she keeps it moving.

Around 4 p.m. she finally ships off the Wealth packages, then heads to the Inflamed store downtown, the only brick-and-mortar location that sells Wealth. There, she restocks and checks inventory.

On to another side hustle

Next, she heads to a meeting at the pizza shop she’s opening called Juicy Pizza to discuss patio design and merchandise. Myricks said she came up with the idea of Juicy Pizza because, as a New Yorker living in Los Angeles, she felt there was “no good pizza in Los Angeles.”

Tyra Mavericks
Tyra Myricks (L)

“The more I thought about how to bring that New York theme to Los Angeles, I felt, who represents New York more than Biggie Smalls?” she continued. So she called her friend T’yanna Wallace, daughter of the late rapper, and presented her with the idea. “She loved it,” Myricks said.

Myricks also knew the importance of reaching out to Wallace because, being the daughter of the late Jam Master Jay, she knows first hand what it’s like to have people profit from her father’s name and career. “I was like I don’t want you to invest anything,” she recalled telling Wallace. “Let’s just make money together. Let’s make moves.”

The shop is set to open later this year.

Last stop: a dinner reservation downtown

At 7 p.m. she meets two friends at a Latin restaurant called Dama downtown, where she orders a celery salad with pineapple juice, Mexican corn, and an Oxtail Tostada.

She picks up shipping bags from the storage unit before heading home.

Around 9 p.m. she finally arrives home and begins to unwind, if only for a moment. She answers emails before starting her next project, a website for celebrity client merchandise, which is part of the branding agency she co-founded.

Around midnight, she falls asleep. In five hours, she will get up and do it all over again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

11 mind-blowing facts that show just how wealthy Bill Gates really is

bill and melinda gates
Bill and Melinda Gates are getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage, the couple announced Monday.

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage.

bill melinda gates
Bill and Melinda Gates on “CBS This Morning” in February 2019.

The couple, who married in 1994, announced the divorce on Twitter on Monday.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” their joint statement said. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”

The announcement raises questions of how the couple will divide their massive fortune. Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, is the world’s fourth-richest person with an estimated net worth of $146 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Gates live in Washington state, where all assets acquired through a marriage are split 50/50 unless otherwise specified in a prenuptial agreement. A spokesperson for Bill Gates declined to comment on whether the couple had signed such an agreement.

In another high-profile billionaire divorce in Washington state, that of Amazon founder Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos in 2019, MacKenzie Bezos walked away with 25% of the Amazon stock the couple co-owned, which was worth about $38 billion. Jeff Bezos retained the remaining stock as well as his ex-wife’s interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin.

However their assets are divided, both the Gates will likely remain two of the richest people in the world after their divorce. Read on for 11 facts that put Bill Gates’ $146 billion fortune into perspective.

1. Bill Gates has become $41 billion richer in the past year alone.

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Bill Gates speaks ahead of former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City.

On May 4, 2020, Gates’ net worth was an estimated $105 billion. 

He’s nearly $70 billion richer than he was five years ago in 2016.

2. Based on how much wealthier Gates got in the past year, he makes approximately $4,630 per second, according to Business Insider calculations.

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That means it would not be worth his time to stop and pick up a $100 bill that he dropped on the ground.

3. If Gates spent $1 million a day, it would take him more about 400 years to spend his fortune, according to Business Insider calculations.

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But although Gates indulges in a few luxuries — such as a private plane and a massive Washington home now worth $125 million — the billionaire is known for being relatively frugal in his spending.

4. Gates is about 66% richer than the British monarchy.

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Queen Elizabeth II in 2017.

The British royal family was worth an estimated $88 billion in 2017, according to Forbes.

5. Although Gates made his fortune cofounding Microsoft with Paul Allen, he only owned 1.3% of the company in 2019 – and he’s still worth $146 billion.

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Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 2984.

It’s unclear what percentage of the company Gates now owns after he stepped down as a director of Microsoft in March 2020.

6. Gates remains the fourth-richest person in the world even after giving away at least $41 billion to charity over the years.

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Bill and Melinda Gates founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.

Gates and his wife founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which is now the largest private charitable foundation in the world and focuses on global health and poverty. Gates has donated $35.8 billion in Microsoft stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Forbes.

Bill and Melinda will remain co-chairs and trustees of their charitable organization following their divorce, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a spokesperson told Insider.

“No changes to their roles or the organization are planned,” the spokesperson said. “They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organization’s overall direction.”

In 2010, Gates and Warren Buffett — now the world’s seventh-richest person — founded The Giving Pledge, a charity organization that encourages the world’s wealthiest people to give the majority of their fortune to charity during their lifetime or after their death.

He has also invested $50 million into Alzheimer’s research and another $30 million to a fund with the aim of diagnosing Alzheimer’s earlier.

7. Gates is so rich that an average American spending $1 is similar to Gates spending about $1.2 million.

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The median net worth of an average US household is $121,700, according to Federal Reserve data. Dividing $146 billion by $121,700 comes to about $1.2 million.

8. Gates’ net worth is greater than the GDP of Luxembourg, Estonia, and Bolivia – combined.

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Luxembourg’s GDP is about $71 billion, Estonia’s is $31.4 billion, and Bolivia’s is $40.8 billion, according to World Bank data.

9. Gates is richer than the richest person in Asia and the richest person in China, combined.

Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person, is worth $66.3 billion.

Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani, worth $74.7 billion, is the richest person in Asia. And bottled water and vaccine billionaire Zhong Shanshan, worth $66.3 billion, is China’s richest person, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

10. Gates could give every single living person on the planet $15 – and still have $28 billion left over.

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The world population was 7,874,758,042 as of May 2021.

11. According to the Social Security Administration, the average American man with a bachelor’s degree will earn about $2.2 million in his lifetime. Gates makes that in a little over 28 minutes.

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According to the SSA, the average American woman with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1.3 million in her lifetime.

Based on his earnings of $41 billion in the past year, Gates makes about $78,006 per minute, according to Business Insider calculations. 

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