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How She Got There: Bella Weems, Founder of Origami Owl

Name: Bella Weems
Age: 18
Job Title and Description: Founder of Origami Owl
Website: origamiowl.com
Twitter Handle: @Bella_Weems and @OrigamiOwl

What does your current job entail?

Bella Weems: As the founder of Origami Owl, I really wanted to get a better understanding of how each department within the company operates, so I recently did an internship within my own company and learned a lot about how all departments function day to day, how our employees support each other and the importance each department plays in the success of the company. I decided that the creative and product development areas of the business are the perfect place for me to grow and expand my creativity! 

In addition, I continue to work closely with our PR team and appear on behalf of the company at events and press appointments. I am passionate about sharing my story with others and the opportunity Origami Owl brings to a person’s life. 

What is the best part of your job?

BW: The best part of my job is being able to motivate and inspire people to reach their dreams. I try to encourage people to take a leap of faith by sharing my own story. I also LOVE interacting with our 60,000 plus Origami Owl designers! When I have the opportunity at our yearly conventions to spend time with the designers, I love hearing their stories and when they share what’s in their lockets; every story is different and unique. 

How did you juggle being a teen and running a successful company?

BW: I juggled being a teenager and running the company by using my time wisely. I always made school my main priority because that was what was important to me, but at the end of the day, I just had to find a healthy balance! I would be at the office every day after school and I was always so excited to be there. I also have always had great support from my family, especially my mom, who has been by my side from the beginning, encouraging me and helping run the day-to-day business/operations.

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

BW: One person who changed my professional life for the better would be my mom. My mom truly believed in me from the very beginning. She has taught me how to be successful, because in her eyes, you are successful when you’re paying it forward and being a force for good, and I continue to learn from my mom every day. I watch how she does things and take note; she is so good to others.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

BW: I have been blessed to be given many words of wisdom from people I admire. However, one quote that really sticks with me on a daily basis is from Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible!” I think it’s important to believe in yourself and who you are and remember you can reach your dreams no matter how big or how small.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn?

BW: With Origami Owl, we did not expect the amount of growth we encountered, and we grew at such a fast rate that we were running out of product. That was one struggle we had in the beginning. We pushed through it, created a plan to fix the issue and made the best of the situation. I believe that with success comes a whole lot of failure. Any successful person would agree. But if you persevere you can accomplish anything. 

What is the most surreal moment of your career so far?

BW: It is always so surreal when I see people wearing my jewelry! It is truly humbling and puts things into perspective for me. It makes me so excited, and I feel truly blessed.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

BW: We really look for someone who brings a positive attitude every day to work and of course great talent that can benefit the company! We always encourage people to be a force for good and pay it forward, so when we are hiring people, we look for someone who embodies our mission statement and our core values. The values mean everything because the foundation of the company was built on these from the very beginning. 

What is one thing you wished you knew about the industry when you first started out? 

BW: I wish that I would have known how much this industry (direct sales) touches and changes lives for the better. Allowing people to build their own businesses, giving them the opportunity to interact with others and change lives, both personally and professionally, is such a blessing. I know for me, especially in the beginning, this opportunity gave me confidence to approach people, present myself as a business owner and share the Origami Owl story with others. It also has taught me the importance of listening to others so I can assist them with building an Origami Owl Living Locket that represents who they are and what their personal journey has meant to them. It humbled me that people would open up and share special memories while I helped them put together the perfect locket that represents the beauty of their story.

What career advice would you give your peers?

BW: The advice I would give to my peers is never give up on your dreams! You never know what can happen! I believe that there is no dream too big. Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up and inspire you to be your best self! Also, seek advice from people whom you trust and those that have done great things with their own lives. I lean on my family quite a bit. Family is very important to me! Never forget to always be yourself.

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Lily is a member of Wesleyan University's class of 2016, where she double majored in government and sociology. She's a writer, editor, and social media manager, as well as co-founder of The Prospect (www.theprospect.net), the world’s largest student-run college access organization. In addition to her work with Her Campus, she also serves in editorial roles at HelloFlo and The Muse.
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