Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carlye Morgan, Founder of Chalonne, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I’m the founder, designer, and President of Chalonne, a leading provider of luxury bands for Apple Watch. I created Chalonne to fill the void for fashion-forward women who want to wear their Apple Watch all day long and still look chic. Our luxury bands are hand-crafted in France and incorporate the finest, ethically, and sustainably sourced materials, including premium leathers, gemstones, and solid 14k gold. Since female empowerment and giving back are incredibly important to me, I have built that spirit into Chalonne’s culture. Since day one, we have donated 4% of the purchase price for every band sold online to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Tell us about yourself
For my entire life, I’ve always had an artistic mind and a passion for design and the arts. I loved expressing myself through drawing and painting and studied art history in Spain and Italy. Developing new designs for Chalonne is one of the most fulfilling parts of my business. Each design is a metaphor of my personal experiences through travel, and all my designs are imbued with a sense of time and place. There’s truly nothing like the process of going from design sketch to reality and holding the finished product in my hands—it’s so gratifying! When I first started designing, I planned to work with precious materials, but I also wanted to work with some non-conventional materials like shearling and denim that would appeal to different aesthetics of women and soften the technology. Our Madison Apple Watch band was recently nominated by the Accessories Council for their Design Excellence Awards in the tech and innovation category. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’m most proud that Chalonne is delivering the finest Apple Watch bands on the market. It was absolutely essential to find the right manufacturer and collaborator. Chalonne bands are designed with an uncompromising commitment to quality and luxury, and there are not many manufacturers who can live up to that. After an extensive search, I found the perfect partner in Jean Rousseau, who lends Chalonne 65 years of expertise and artisanal heritage working with some of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands. They were incredibly enthusiastic and supportive of the Collection from the start. It was clear they could deliver a superb product which was paramount, but they have also been amazing collaborators, working with me to achieve the quality and aesthetic that Chalonne requires.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Founding a business seemed like a very daunting task at first. You need to be scrappy, creative, and very organized. You need to believe in your idea and give it enough runway to allow it to grow. It can be slow-going at first, but it’s all about perseverance. You need to lean into what is working and pivot when something is obviously not--Be ok with ‘taking a hit.’ You’ll make many mistakes, but those mistakes have value and will help you do it right the next time. You also need to have a healthy relationship with rejection, which just comes with the territory, so you can’t let it knock you down. I heard the word “no” more times than I can count, but you need to just keep on persisting until you get a “yes.” Because they will come. You just need to keep working and be patient.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know Thyself. Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can use both to your advantage. Not everyone is good at everything, but as a Founder, you have to do everything. So it’s a good idea to come up with an alternative plan for the tasks that are outside your comfort zone and lean into the tasks that are in your wheelhouse. You need to learn how to let go, so why not start by letting go of the tasks that someone else can do better?
- Be Decisive. Don’t dwell on decisions; it will save you a ton of time. Certainly, you must be thoughtful, but trust your intuition--your first thought is usually the right one. In the event that it doesn’t go your way, have the flexibility to acknowledge a mistake and pivot. Again, don’t dwell; just switch gears and move on.
- Trust Your Intuition. ‘Women’s intuition’ is a thing for a reason—because there’s truth to it. There have been so many times when I had a ‘gut’ feeling and didn’t trust it. In hindsight, I have found that my intuition tends to be correct. It taught me to trust my instincts and lean into them.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.