Courtney Brown’s Story –Cents of Style
I began Cents of Style in the spring of 2007. I was a stay at home mom with a young daughter and I was looking for an outlet that would bring me a little personal fulfillment and empowerment. I have always loved fashion and was often asked by my friends and family how I was able to stay in style, affordably. I saw the need for a place where women could ask a trusted friend, find affordable fashions, and feel like that great deal was accessible. I took a leap of faith and began Cents of Style, my online women’s fashion accessories company, that hopes to help women across the country find that fashionable friend with the great deals.
I fought for my dream and grew this idea into a multi-million dollar company through a lot of hard work and other great women. Today, Cents of Style is made up of about 25 women, mostly moms. Our families are our first priority, but we use this company to bless our families financially and through the personal empowerment it brings each of us. This unique perspective of being women, mothers and businesswomen allows us to bring an accessibility to fashion and a level of understanding to our business relationships.
Our motto here at Cents of Style is “when you look good, you feel good,” and I would add, you can then use that goodness to bless others. Our entire purpose here at Cents of Style is to empower women to lead bold and full lives. We strive to provide this empowerment to our employees by creating flexible schedules and remote work environments. We empower our customers by helping them feel a little bit better about how they present themselves to the world, and we empower ourselves by living each day boldly. Knowing we can have it all as women.
I feel very strongly about empowering women and girls to know that they are good enough, strong enough and able to be whatever they desire. We have enough messages in this world that tell girls to be something other than themselves, let’s change the message. Women are strong. We are tactful. We know what we want, we just sometimes have to be given the courage to go for it. The larger our company gets in employees and profit, it is my hope that we only spread that message and empower more women.
That not only makes good business sense, but it further allows us to work with one of the most under-utilized, yet talented, workforces there is-- stay-at-home moms. Women who want more for themselves and their families and are willing to work for that balance. The physical element of shipping our product is even fulfilled by our employees sometimes at home. Most of the product we sell literally goes from our homes to yours when you purchase from Cents of Style.
Thus far, the new ways we have found in working this way has been… working. One of our biggest challenges has been incredible growth and dealing with that growth. In the last 3 years, Cents of Style has grown by 200-300% each year. Although exciting, growth is challenging. It is challenging to maintain your core values of empowering women through affordable fashion, while still focusing on positive growth. Hiring new talent and making sure they fit our vision has been a focus of mine, and learning what to delegate is still a balancing act for me. When you are used to doing everything, it feels wrong sometimes not to be doing it all. I think that’s not just a lesson for a woman CEO, it's a lesson for all women who are the CEOs of their families. Finding balance sometimes means letting go, or finding people to help you get it all done. There is no shame in that, and if working makes you a happier person, then you will be a happier mom and woman by doing so. Don’t expect balance, but fight for it and seek help when you feel you really can’t do it all.
Pursuing Cents of Style has made me a better version of myself. Owning your own business is not for every woman. But I am better because of what Cents of Style has brought to me. My family is better for what Cents of Style has brought to me. And my employee’s lives are better because of this little idea I had eight years ago.