Starting a Brand in College

Manhattan, New York
United States

“Being a Bitch is a badge of pride” - That Bitch Brand

At the beginning of the year, I remember going on Instagram and seeing @CampusLash in the suggested section. I really wanted eyelash extensions so I automatically followed the account and made an appointment. To my surprise, the girl who started this little business was no other than McLean Haws, a fellow student I had met during orientation. After returning multiple times to get my lashes done, I got to know McLean and her roommate, Sydney Solenthaler, very well. I admired McLean’s ability to dedicate time to the appointments (extensions take a while), starting a small business from nowhere, and being able to be her own boss. Then, McLean and Sydney started another business, making and selling t-shirts. They created That Bitch Brand; a small company, dedicated to making people who purchase their products, feel like strong, independent people.  I had the privilege of sitting down with McLean to ask her all about the brand and for her advice for anyone who is thinking about creating their own business.

K: What inspired you to make your brand?

M: It started out with drawing funny designs; I have funny ideas and Sydney is a great artist. We are really creatively driven when we are together and we love fashion. We decided our brand would be about being the bitch you were put on the planet to be. Being a bitch is a compliment, especially for our brand.

K: How would you define a “That Bitch”?

M: A strong, confident person that does for their own. It’s a person who gets things done and who stands out because of how true they are to themselves. “That Bitch” is never afraid to create their own opportunities

K: What do you want your brand to represent?

M: Being “That Bitch” is a power every person has and should use. With our brand, I want to make sure that we are relatable to customers. If you buy a shirt and post it, I will post you. Our customers are part of our brand because they are our networking tool. We want to make everyone feel like a brand ambassador because I personally think social media branding is too particular, and the customer’s opinion speaks volumes.

K: How did you start off?

M: I’ve always done my own thing and I’ve always had a side business. When I was in kindergarten, I started my own pin shop and then in elementary school, I started a small earring company. I’ve always been able to market, advertise, and have a networking system. I’ve worked in corporate retail for years and have always enjoyed being in the business. I’ve done finance, advertising, marketing, merchandising. However, I like to be my own boss.

K: What do you have to say for people trying to start their own business in college?

M: Never think that something is a stupid idea. I can’t tell you how stupid we thought we were, putting “dumb bitch” on a t-shirt; we never thought it could be a thing. This actually became one the design with the most positive feedback from customers You need to be fearless and be ready for people to laugh in your face. Rejection is part of the process; you are going to get more no’s than yeses but those yesses hold so much value.

K: What are some things people should expect when they start a business?

M: I’d definitely say expect to fail. I know that small business owners are expected to work hard, but the actual work when you start a brand is more than you’d expect. Expect to not make a ton of money right away; it’s easy to be discouraged if your brand doesn’t take off initially but the truth is that you have to wait a little bit. It only takes one person believing in you to start a brand.

McLean and Sydney are business partners, but each girl gives their own contribution to their company. McLean does more the business/media side while Sydney is in charge of producing their shirts. Each shirt is hand-printed and designed by this dynamic duo.

Check our That Bitch Brand on Instagram @thatbitchbrand