Co-founder at 15: My most meaningful experience
Kleiner Perkins Product Fellow Application: Describe your most meaningful experience(s) and why they matter to you.
When I was 15, I co-founded my own business. For a young girl of color in Silicon Valley, it was the most transformative confidence boost of my life.
In the summer of 2013, eBay and Junior Achievement hosted a young entrepreneur program in San Jose, CA. Four friends and I—all teenage girls—came together through the program and started our own company, Oopsie Daisie Sunnies. In just 12 weeks, we conducted market research about online DIY platforms and products, partnered with international manufacturers and supplies, and designed dozens of pairs of embellished sunglasses, with a 50% profit margin. Simultaneously, we worked on a national go-to-market campaign—our homemade YouTube advertisement reached 1000 views in one weekend, while our Instagram connected us to international influencers and customers. In the end, we were running the most profitable business in the program.
Running Oopsie Daisie Sunnies was my first experience with launching a meaningful product, and it had a lasting impact. The entrepreneurial spirit that was kindled that summer never really went away, as I went on to start the Social Entrepreneurship Society at my high school and Stanford Jam Pac’d, a dance organization on campus dedicated to women’s empowerment. The most profound impact was having girls younger than me from my hometown approach me with questions on how they could get started with their own companies. When eBay took a bet on one group of teenage girls, they empowered dozens more to become entrepreneurs in their own right.