Chelsea’s story is an inspiration to anyone with a dream, Chelsea is an LD child that had to cope with losing three of her family members in the space of 5 months and losing 5 members of her family in total at only 17, She witnessed the death of her father while on the phone to him, Now 21, She is the CEO of Faithful Fish, a Christian based clothing line.
Chelsea, Nice of you to share your time with us, Welcome to YHP, how are you doing?
I'm Fine thanks
Before anything else, how does it feel to be part of the book “The richest kids in America” By Mark Victor Hansen?
Great, I have been featured in two books this year which is amazing. Mr. Mark Victor Hansen is the co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series that has sold over 140,000,000 books. In the Guinness Book of records it is under the Bible for most books sold. Mark featured me in the Chicken Soup for the Soul For Extra-Ordinary Teens. It is so crazy, here I am a young girl in college in a book with Donald Trump Jr and other amazing young talent.
Can you please give the readers some background information about yourself?
Sure, I have a learning disability and went to learning disability schools and currently attend Beacon College the only four year accredited college in the US. LD is always with me, but it has made me take risks and focus on what my gifts are. When I was 17 I had three members of my family pass away within five months including my father on the phone with me. That was when I started thinking about my faith. It was my faith that helped me get through that awful time.
How was it like for a 17 year old with a learning disability starting up a clothing line? You’re also the online Money Advisor for Seventeen magazine?
I know, doesn’t make sense does it, but I am hoping to help people understand is that having a learning disability means you have a regular IQ, you just have problems in academic area’s like reading or math. Being one of the online money advisors for Seventeen magazine is fun. I am not giving stock tips, but helping girls think about saving, figuring out how to create their own business or just answering in practical terms their questions.
I mean you were Attending College while running Faithful Fish through her Blackberry and conference calls? How as that?
The beauty of technology. You interviewed a friend of mine Cameron Johnson and we both work the same way. Flash stick, blackberry’s and 1-800 conference bridges. Kids are so comfortable with this stuff that we don’t even think about having to be in an office.
You said that you and mark spoke to 1400 students at a middle school in Georgia, how did you feel?
It was really 1700. How did I feel? I was with Mark which always makes it fun. They were totally into what we said and one cute story from the day was a young boy about 13 came up to Mark. He handed Mark his business proposal and said he wanted to work for him. Mark laughed and asked him what he should be paid. He said $5 an hour, I said “No” that’s not enough. Mark told him that he would be very successful in life, pulled out a $100 bill and signed it. The kid was beaming, I know that he will remember that his whole life. I love to talk to students both about being successful with a challenge and also thinking about creating their own company.
You are everywhere in the news now, Fox & Friends, Dave Ramsey's TV & tons of radio shows, and you are got a feature in business week in august, how is the feeling, the press, did you know your business, you as an inspirational figure will get this famous so fast?
That makes me laugh, I am not famous, but I have been blessed. I know call it God Media. I truly believe that adults and young people are looking for good news. There is so much bad news out there that when something positive comes up it makes for a good story. I do have a story, but my goal is to create a clothing line that gives to charity and to become a role model for students with challenges.
I mean losing 3 members of one’s family member in 5months is a lot for anyone, not to say a teenager? You also lost 2 additional family members? How did you cope with that, i mean how did you motivate yourself?
It was over-whelming. My nanny (Mom’s mom) passed away four weeks before my Dad so my Mom and I both lost a parent. I always went to Church on holidays and other events, but wasn’t really faithful. I just came to believe that it was a miracle that I was able to be on the phone with my Dad when he died of a heart attack. I took it as a blessing and he knew I was thinking about him when he went. I have an amazing family and great friends who really helped me through it. Then going to Church and quietly finding my faith was when I made the turning point to start healing My Mom motivated me, she would come in my room every morning and stroke my hair. She told me that it was up to me how my day would be. I had the choice to make it the best day I could or just wallow in sadness. I guess I am also a positive person which does really make a difference.
Who are your role model/influence?
My parents. My Dad went to every basketball and volleyball game I played in. My Mom is English, I am the first born American on her side of the family. My Mom is so funny she has that great English humour and she just doesn’t allow you to wallow in feeling bad for your self. As she always tells me “put your big girl panties on”
What is your favourite quote and book?
OK, you do realize you are asking an LD kid that question. Not to be funny, but I have trouble remembering stuff like that.
What else would you be doing if you were not doing what you are doing now?
That’s a good question. I probably would try and be a stylist or interior decorator
You donate portion of profits to Christian charities? Why did you decide that?
My parents brought me up to give back . My Mom has always volunteered for charities and sponsored charities that she believed in. From the very start of me wanting to create this company I knew that I would be giving back. It is built into our mission statement.
What can you say to anyone that is looking to start a business doing this economic down-time, someone that has lost a loved and unable to continue with their dream and passion, some one that being left in doubt from a tragedy from your experience?
That is really a hard question because I remember how sad I was for a while. Time is a huge healer, but doing something you love is a blessing. Starting a business right now is tough, but in some way it may be the perfect time. It gives you time to research your plan and allow you to start slowly and not get into debt too quickly. If you have lost love ones I would look to your faith whatever that is.
You just won the semi-finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Award sponsored by Mercedes Benz Financial? How was the experience?
Scary and amazing all at the same time. I was nominated for the contest, but turned it down a couple of times. I just felt that with my LD I couldn’t compete against these amazing student, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I had to take the risk. It was truly a big risk for me. I have very little self confidence in academics. We had to go through our business plan and then take a Q&A and then give a summary of the company. I had my mentor at college work with me, but I created the plan and just kept on reviewing it. There was one truly funny moment. We had to email our presentations to the organization by Tuesday and the presentations were on Friday. On Wednesday they sent an email out saying that the files were too big with all of the animation. I called my business manager and said “animation, I don’t even have stick figures, I am doomed”. We laughed. I am just so jazzed about going to the finals in November. I will have to let you know how it goes. Even if I don’t win, I already feel like a winner just by taking the risk and going for it.
So what should be expecting from you in the future?
BIG THINGS, BIG THINGS - I want to be a motivational speaker for students with LD while running Faithful Fish.
Thanks for your time Chelsea, they are some great advices here im sure the YHP Readers would love them.