ADRIANA CARRIG // Founder of the Little Words Project
I fell in love with Adriana’s founding story. A FEM that changed courses to go follow passion and to make a positive impact. I hope you find inspiration in her story and it confirms that life and purpose in business is a beautiful path. -Violette
You were a law student and then changed gears to being an entrepreneur. What was the aha moment that happened to get you to shift tracks?
I actually never quite made it to the actual law student phase ... I took my LSAT but when I really thought about it, the long plan and goal of going to law school just wasn’t exciting me anymore. I wanted to do more. I wanted to do work with a social impact, work that would positively affect the people around me. While I was in college, I created a version of these bracelets to be passed around my college sorority. The girls were so obsessed with the idea of “sharing kindness” that it really took off. I kept thinking about that concept, and knew I was on to something. What started as an exercise in positivity and self-love, needed to become a movement. I reluctantly went to my parents, let them know I wouldn’t be going to law school and instead let them know I’d be clearing a space in the basement to launch my jewelry company. They whole-heartedly supported my decision, and having their support helped affirm my belief in this brand and from then on, I knew I would spread this concept, these bracelets, to women everywhere.
People must have thought it was the craziest move ever. What made you become so grounded in your decision?
It was the craziest decision I’ve ever made! What kept me going and keeps me going, is the community. Seeing the need for this product. From my first month in business there was a demand for these bracelets, because women needed the reminder, the motivation or the inspiration. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear about or experience firsthand a woman talking badly about another - which demonstrates just how important kindness amongst females really is. It’s so important to empower one another as women and yet it’s shocking how infrequently that happens. That is exactly what drives me- knowing that I’m working towards (hopefully) changes the way women treat one another one Little Word at a time.
What obstacles and challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
I always laugh when I get asked this question – because I feel like I have faced literally EVERY obstacle. Every day is a challenge when you have no background in business. Starting this company has been a daily struggle and learning process. Everything I do, I’ve never done before, so I am constantly faced with hurdles that need to be overcome. From sourcing materials, forecasting sales, deciding best practices, keeping the cost of our product reasonable, hiring a team – I never had “training” in any of it! But I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I knew I would figure it out – one way or another. That’s something you have to be prepared for if you start your own business- the reality that you will have to work really, really hard to accomplish what you set out to do. Every experience, positive or negative, has been an opportunity to learn something and to improve myself.
What would you say to the FEM that is reading this and wanting to change gears completely in her life but she’s very scared to make the drastic change?
Just go for it. It can be so easy to talk yourself out of something, and it’s much harder to believe that you can do it. But if you do your best, and just take a chance on yourself, the rest will almost always follow. Be diligent, hardworking and perseverant and you will succeed. As silly as this sounds, I had actually watched the movie We Bought a Zoo right around when I was starting Little Words Project. In it, Brad Pitt’s character says the following sentence: “Sometimes, all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” This quote struck a chord with me then and remains true today. Sometimes, you just have to go for it first. Allow all the unknown pieces to fall into place later.
What’s your personal mantra?
Querer es Poder. It’s Spanish for, “If you want it, you can achieve it.” My mother used to say this to me every day before I left the house as I was growing up. I am a true believer that if you want something badly enough, and if you’re willing to work for it hard enough, it can be yours.
Additional advice for the FEM that is hesitating with moving forward with a business idea?
Be a sponge. Learn everything you can about everything you need to do. Write things down,
listen to your peers, ask questions and LEARN. If you don’t know how to run a business,
figure it out and work your butt off to become an expert in your field.
Place your customer at the center of the reason for your company’s existence. Without them
you don’t have a company.
Also, hire well. Once you get to a point where you can bring others into your dream, you have
to be willing to step aside if that person knows more than you do. Check your ego at the
door. If you have a problem with learning something from your peers or the people you
hired - then you need to make a change in your behavior to better your brand.
Where can FEMS connect with you?
DM me on Instagram, @adrianacarrig! I LOVE hearing from other female entrepreneurs.
There are so many young entrepreneurs that I’ve met on my journey and while a lot of
them have been supportive and helpful, a lot of them have also been competitive and
unwilling to offer assistance when asked. This is something I’ve never truly understood. If asked for help in anyway, I ALWAYS give. I truly believe that the only way to receive positivity is to put positivity out there. So, if you’re lucky enough to have built something, or to be an expert in a certain field, then I believe it is your responsibility to help others reach that point as well.
ABOUT ADRIANA CARRIG: Based in Caldwell, New Jersey Little Words Project was founded by 29-year-old Adriana Carrig - a woman who decided against going to law school to create bracelets that inspired self-love and kindness.
This, after spending most of her life being surrounded by "mean girls" and negativity from other girls and women.
She has been in business for five years and has been profitable since day one - with no investors and 8 full-time women working for her as part of her "nice girl gang".