In Conversation with Adriana Carrig of Little Words Project
Describe your business in a few words?
Little Words Project is a pay-it-forward brand all about self love and kindness. You choose a bracelet that means something to you, wear it for as long as you need it, then pass it onto someone who needs it more.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I felt so strongly that “Girl World” needed a little more kindness in it, and I saw how the bracelets within just my group of friends in college were so impactful to them. I always believed in our mission enough to make it a business, but it wasn’t until I decided that people NEED this bracelet that I decided to take the leap to make it more than a hobby.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I graduated from The College of New Jersey, planned to go to Law school actually, and then decided instead of pursuing a future in law I would start my own business. I never studied business or prepared for a future as an entrepreneur in any way. For me, starting Little Words Project was completely my passion to bring something good to women (and soon men!) who needed a little more kindness in their life.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Absolutely not! I was always a creative thinker, which I tend to think most entrepreneurs are, but I NEVER imagined I would become one myself.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
When I first launched Little Words Project the only thing I knew was that Instagram was going to become my best friend, and my website had to be easy-to-use. Other than that, I really didn’t go into it with any specific marketing strategy. I used social media to post photos and promote the brand, and relied heavily on word of mouth. It wasn’t until maybe 3 years in that I really grew a marketing plan and strategy, and to this day our marketing strategy changes all the time!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I always try to look at “mistakes” as lessons, it is KEY in building a business, I’ve learned! Before LWP had customization on our website year round, we would have a “Customization Day” twice a year. It was a chance for our customers to finally put their own words on a bracelet, which everyone was always so excited to do. About 2 years ago we were not as prepared as we should have been during the launch of Customization Day and our website crashed for about 4 hours of the 24-hour sale. It was TRAGIC! We learned a difficult lesson through that mishap, that’s for sure, and I made a promise to myself that it would never happen again.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
It is difficult to choose one specific accomplishment because every time I see a story about how someone’s bracelet affected them in a positive way I feel overwhelmingly accomplished. I think my greatest accomplishment is creating a simple product that works, a product that does exactly what I created it to do, and a product that truly changes people’s lives.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Hiring is by far the hardest part of owning and running a business. It is difficult to find people who want to share your dream, and believe in you and your vision as much as you do. I think the biggest tip I can give for hiring is to look for people who can do the things you can’t do, and be ok with giving up control. I have always struggled with this since the beginning when I was building LWP by myself. Once I finally began hiring employees I still wanted to do pretty much everything myself. With time, I can confidently say that I have learned how important it is for the growth of my business, and for peace of mind to hire qualified individuals who are willing to put in the work and who are better at certain things than I am. Releasing control and giving other people responsibility is SO important for a business to grow.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have been so so lucky that we have been able to keep our business afloat during the pandemic, but we have had to adjust our course of action many times since March due to all of the changes happening around us. I think most importantly we have just tried to listen to the world and what people need right now, and spread as much kindness and good vibes as we possibly can with our bracelets because people need it now more than ever.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
My goal will always be to continue spreading the message of LWP because I will never stop believing in the power of kindness. I hope to continue collaborating with impactful brands, people and organizations that stand for everything that we stand for. Over the next few years, I just want whatever the universe has in store for LWP to bring it on!!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I used to look at other brands and think they had everything together and had all the answers, but after 7 years in this world I have learned that every single one is figuring it all out along the way just like me, and none of us will ever have ALL of the answers.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I have heavily leaned on my family and my employees. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by supportive people like my husband, and my dog (Dylan) who I love so so much. Hugging them at the end of a long day and knowing I am not alone has absolutely kept me grounded this year.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I do believe in it, but I often struggle with the balance as a business owner, and I feel like many entrepreneurs can relate to the struggle. I think taking time to focus on yourself is key, even if it feels scary. Balance is something I have gotten better at with time, but there were many years where I can admit I had almost zero balance in my life, and I focused on the business 24/7. My best tip would be – the business WILL be ok, you are the person building it, so you must be in a good space mentally to build it the right way..your community will thank you for it!
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I was an English major in college, and had no intention of ever starting a business until I pretty much decided to start it!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means being strong, unapologetic, and doing whatever the hell you have to do to get the job done because you are capable of anything.