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At simply 5 years previous, Janet Hoang already had a ton of enterprise savvy. After buying a surplus of a sure in-demand merchandise, she discovered a technique to earn some more money from her kindergarten classmates.

“I don’t know why, however my aunt spoiled me with Howdy Kitty stationery,” Janet mentioned. “I’d tear aside my Howdy Kitty notebooks into 5 pages and promote them for $5 [to my peers]. That’s how I paid for my snacks.”

And that was just the start. When Janet was in sixth grade, she was impressed by Ashley Quall – the 14-year-old who created her web site that supplied HTML tutorials and Myspace layouts. Janet had examine Quall from a Seventeen journal she received from her center faculty library. The story galvanized her to put in writing up her very personal in-depth marketing strategy which she offered to her father.

Whereas she wasn’t fairly able to open up her personal enterprise as a preteen, all that drive would repay. By age 21, Janet had already earned six figures from her life-style model Janet Gwen. And at present – seven years later – her enterprise has steadily grown and reached seven figures in gross sales. Right here’s precisely how she did it.

Crafting one-of-a-kind merchandise in her highschool artwork class

The truth that Janet would spend a ton of time in artwork class her senior 12 months of highschool was happenstance. As a result of she took on such a heavy course load – enrolling in eight courses a semester as a substitute of 4 like the remainder of her friends – she completed up her necessities early.

Whereas that will have been overwhelming to some, it wasn’t for Janet who all the time had a robust work ethic. In actual fact, she was studying at a university degree by the point she was in fifth grade.

“So what occurs whenever you take all of the courses?” she mentioned. “You then solely have electives like artwork courses. I felt like I went to artwork courses thrice a day.”

It was in her highschool artwork class that Janet would create and promote her very first product – a embellished telephone case. She received the concept to take action after her mother had given her one. The one downside? It wasn’t cute.

However because the daughter of immigrants, Janet’s household didn’t have a ton of additional cash and her first intuition was by no means to ask her dad and mom to purchase her one thing. As an alternative, she determined to take issues into her personal palms.

“As an alternative of being like, ‘Oh, let me purchase a fairly telephone case.’ I used to be like, ‘let me simply paint this.’”

On the time, her artwork class was studying a couple of painter who used a singular swirl approach which impressed Janet to create an identical design for her telephone case with acrylic paints. Janet’s classmates shortly took discover of her customized case and began asking {the teenager} if she may paint their telephone circumstances, too.

In order that’s precisely what Janet did. She would paint varied designs on index playing cards and go them round faculty – a form of catalog if you’ll. After selecting their favourite designs, her classmates would give Janet their telephone case and she or he would work her magic. She bought these circumstances for wherever between $12-$20.

This make-shift enterprise turned so common that Janet needed to rent classmates to assist her with the logistics of amassing and delivering the circumstances. It additionally received to the purpose the place her artwork instructor and principal caught on. And whereas college students weren’t technically allowed to run their very own facet hustles, everybody was tremendous supportive of Janet and her expertise.

“Everybody believed in me,” she mentioned. “My artwork instructor was like, ‘Janet, I simply see you making 1,000,000 {dollars}.’”

Sadly, by the point senior 12 months was wrapping up, Janet had felt immense strain to pause her enterprise aspirations and go to varsity for a sensible job. She was nominated by her faculty for a full-ride scholarship to UNC Chapel Hill, however to proceed the appliance course of, she would have needed to undergo a collection of interviews and on the time, she wasn’t certain what she wished. This led her to withdraw her utility.

“The Morehead scholarship felt like a lot strain,” Janet mentioned. “There was no assure that I’d get it. I didn’t even try it, in all probability due to my concern of failing. But in addition, to should decide to 4 years of college that I am not even certain I need to do?”

As an alternative, she went to group school and took on a bunch of part-time jobs. However all alongside, she continued to work on her small enterprise – a dream she simply couldn’t let go of.

Going all in on her small enterprise and opening up an Etsy store

Throughout school, Janet was doing slightly little bit of all the pieces. After she’d get performed together with her courses, she’d go to her part-time jobs the place, one way or the other, she managed to all the time get promoted. It received to the purpose the place the 19-year-old was slacking on faculty and dealing 90 hours per week in retail.

“I keep in mind simply being so bored someday in a retail store [during my shift].” Janet mentioned. “And I used to be like, am I going to work so onerous for another person – as a result of I turned each part-time job right into a full-time job. All my managers beloved my work ethic – or am I prepared to work onerous for myself?’”

That epiphany drove Janet to get again to specializing in her small enterprise. She opened her very personal Etsy store in 2014 for precisely $100. All she wanted was plain circumstances and acrylic paints, most of which her artwork instructor from highschool offered her with. She ran all the operations from her mother’s home.

Issues moved shortly for the fledgling entrepreneur. Inside the first week, Janet had already acquired many home orders together with 17 worldwide orders from locations like Japan and France. Janet attributes this growth to some issues. For one, she had an in-demand product – marble telephone and laptop computer circumstances – and was doing issues otherwise than another on-line store on the time.

“Once I received my first MacBook I used to be like, ‘let me search for all the lovable stuff [other retailers] have. However it was all boring to me,” she mentioned. “So I made my first cell laptop computer case with contact paper. We have been the primary individual to give you the golden marble laptop computer case.”

One other issue was that social media was fairly totally different then, and Janet’s aesthetically pleasing telephone circumstances have been an enormous hit on-line. She received a ton of visitors simply by sharing her work on Tumblr and Instagram and even went viral on Pinterest.


Janet grew her small enterprise due to social media – you are able to do the identical by utilizing Buffer to schedule your posts, analyze your social media technique, and have interaction along with your viewers. Get began totally free at present!

“I used to be posting my telephone circumstances and they might get so many likes — the Instagram days when everybody will get likes and views — So we have been selecting up a lot traction.”

The entrepreneur additionally had partnerships with influencers earlier than the time period influencer was even a factor. Accounts with enormous Instagram followings would attain out to Janet after seeing her circumstances and selling the model, considered one of them being Laura Beverlin.

However there was a problem. At 19 years previous, Janet wasn’t nicely versed on the way to run a enterprise and shortly discovered she couldn’t sustain with the demand – which was rising due to the influencers. Clients have been getting upset as a result of the supply of their telephone circumstances was delayed.

“I did not know something about delivery or provide chain and even price of products. I used to be ordering circumstances from eBay that I did not understand got here from China,” Janet mentioned. “So the timeframe to get all the pieces out was three weeks…I used to be taking my merchandise to the put up workplace and simply getting them to mail it for me.”

As an alternative of going into disaster mode, Janet realized that she wanted to pause and reevaluate. She formally dropped out of group school simply earlier than turning 21 and poured her power into studying all the pieces about operating a small enterprise. She additionally familiarized herself with Etsy.

When she lastly reopened, she was ready and able to develop Janet Gwen into the profitable small enterprise it’s at present.

Growing her on-line visitors and diversifying stock

Since her early years on Etsy, Janet has skilled regular progress in her enterprise. For reference, in 2014 when she first opened up her Etsy store, the entrepreneur made $12,000. A 12 months later, her earnings elevated seven instances to $85,000. By 2016, she revamped $120,000.

Janet knew she wanted to diversify her on-line visitors if she wished to proceed to develop her enterprise, which is why she made the change from an Etsy retailer to a Shopify web site. The outcomes have been spectacular.

Lately, the model has hit an enormous milestone by making seven figures in gross sales.

Together with her enterprise increasing, Janet moved her headquarters out of her mother’s front room and rented a bigger condo she was each dwelling in and utilizing for enterprise storage.

It received to the purpose, nonetheless, the place Janet saved needing to maneuver into greater and greater houses to accommodate all the orders. A superb downside to have. Lastly, she rented out workplace house – aka the corporate’s Warehouse – for $3,200 a month close to Charlotte.

That is when the entrepreneur began feeling safer to develop the enterprise. For the longest time, Janet Gwen was composed of simply Janet, an administrative assistant, and a social media supervisor. However in 2021, Janet started hiring extra staff to assist with delivery out orders and has since added further members to her group.

Janet additionally realized that to keep related, she wanted to be extra progressive together with her merchandise. Which is why she determined to maneuver away from solely producing their signature marble equipment. Whereas the model nonetheless sells tech equipment, together with iPhone and AirPod circumstances, they’ve additionally launched a number of recent merchandise into the enterprise.

For Janet, it was vital to remain true to her model whereas additionally maintaining with the newest tendencies.

“We’ve to evolve as a enterprise. We are able to’t hold dying on the identical hill… how will you use a development and alter it into one thing that matches your model, with out compromising your model?” she mentioned.

However when it got here to rising, Janet could be very intentional about what merchandise she provides into the combination. She seems to social media, particularly Pinterest, to foretell what would curiosity clients. That’s how she got here up with Janet Gwen’s viral unicorn rainbow can glass.

“We’ve performed plenty of development forecasting,” Janet mentioned. “So each single 12 months, for the reason that inception of the enterprise, I have been very grateful that we have now all the time created one viral product per 12 months.”

For instance, in 2018 Janet Gwen made the shift to extra residence decor gadgets, predominantly candles. In 2020, amid the pandemic, the model launched propagation stations as a means for folks to get pleasure from their house throughout lockdown. Then in 2021, they added concrete goddess statues – which the model makes in-house in Raleigh — together with trays, and drinkware.

The change to extra home-based gadgets additionally felt like a pure shift to Janet as a result of she had reached that stage in life when she was on the lookout for residence decor, as have been her followers.

“Most individuals do not understand that my viewers grew up with me. They’re the identical age as me. So we went by means of the entire aesthetic influencer section,’ … now we’re into residence decor as a result of now all of us have our personal houses.”

Not solely is Janet prepared to change issues up, however she additionally does a ton of market analysis and could be very specific with every product she creates. This very steadfastness has contributed to her small enterprise’s success.

As soon as Janet comes up with a brand new product, she works carefully with producers to make sure the merchandise is made precisely to her requirements, even when it means a ton of forwards and backwards.

“Generally my producers hate me,” Janet joked. “As a result of I’d die on a hill for a product.”

The Way forward for Janet Gwen

Janet has been crafting and promoting merchandise since she was 17, and now, nearly a decade into her personal small enterprise, her ambitions are as large as ever.

The entrepreneur admits that she’s achieved a ton of wonderful issues in her life from each a enterprise perspective and in addition personally, like paying for her twin sister’s school training all due to her small enterprise. Nonetheless, she feels there may be a lot extra to perform with Janet Gwen. Her subsequent transfer is to do a rebrand for the enterprise as a technique to get again to the fundamentals and actually discover the corporate’s voice.

For now, she’s additionally enthusiastic about serving to others. Through the years, Janet has acquired a ton of questions from supporters and admirers about her success, main her to launch YouTube vlogs showcasing the truth of her life as an entrepreneur.

“The explanation I did YouTube was as a result of, everybody saved asking me, ‘how do you determine enterprise? How do you do X, Y, and Z? How do you may have a lot time in your day?’” she mentioned.

Janet can be engaged on a podcast to attach with extra of her followers and tackle a wide range of subjects from operating the enterprise to conversations about race as nicely. As an Asian American, Janet needs to make use of her platform to talk out about vital and well timed subjects round range, inclusion, and life normally.

As she continues to take a position extra into her model, Janet’s major objective is to all the time make merchandise that may brighten her clients’ days.

“To deliver a every day dose of happiness to folks is all the pieces I’ve ever wished.”

Heres How Janet Hoang Grew her Enterprise to 7 Figures in Gross sales