Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Carter, Founder of Wallaroo Hat Company, located in Boulder, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

For more than two decades, Wallaroo Hat Company, a woman-owned business in Boulder, CO, has offered a vast collection of high-quality, stylish sun-protective hats for women, men, and children. When I founded Wallaroo in 1999, I was sure of our purpose — to craft sun-protective hats that make you look and feel great. Inspired by a visit to my husband's home in Australia — where the threat of skin cancer has long been understood — I wanted to share that awareness far and wide. This dedication is the driving force behind both the design of our hats and our involvement and contribution to philanthropic efforts within the community. From Wallaroo's home base in Colorado, we focus on quality craftsmanship and functional, fashionable designs — adjustable, packable, and comfortable. Wallaroo is a Certified B Corporation – a new type of business that balances purpose and profit and is required to consider the impact of our decisions on our workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

It has always been my goal to create a brand that attracts more people to hats, especially because skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing types of cancer. It's also one of the most preventable types of cancer if people take precautions like wearing a hat, sunscreen, and sun-protective clothing. Our mission is to help eliminate the threat of skin cancer through information and prevention. As a leader in the sun-protective hat industry, Wallaroo takes this health threat very seriously. Our hats are tested and rated according to the UV radiation-blocking capabilities of materials used in the construction of each hat. Wallaroo partners with skin cancer research, education, and prevention organizations, including the Skin Cancer Foundation and the Melanoma Research Foundation, which provide screenings and education services to their communities and the nation.

Tell us about yourself

What began as a small home-based office has evolved into an international company with multiple locations and distributors around the world. I have always believed that success will follow your ambition and drive, which is how I run my company. Being a female-owned business is something else that makes Wallaroo Hat Company truly unique. In a predominantly male-dominated industry, this gives us a unique competitive edge.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

With the challenges and difficulties we have all experienced over the last few years, I have tried to create an environment at Wallaroo where my employees feel vested in their jobs and are happy to come to work each day. As CEO, I have been at the forefront of pushing Wallaroo through the ups and downs of continuing to provide Wallaroo's consumer base with quality sun protection hats. During the height of COVID, I pivoted Wallaroo's sales plan by increasing direct-to-consumer business via the online store and social media awareness. I was able to keep Wallaroo's doors open and keep my full-time staff employed, and we are continuing to thrive as a company and a team.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The headwear sector of the fashion industry is mostly male-dominated. Women have not traditionally been given roles of leadership. I came from a legal background and had no experience in manufacturing, sales, design, or distribution. I had to learn how to navigate through these areas of business as one of the few women-owned businesses in this space. This industry, and the world, need more women in business, especially female leaders. I want to build other women up and encourage them to push the limits outside of their comfort zones. We are pioneers for future women in business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you choose something you are passionate about. If you love what you do, it won't feel like work, and you will love what you do every single day.
  2. Never allow anyone to convince you that what you want to do isn't practical, in line with your degree, or that you won't make enough money. All of those things might be true, but if you follow your heart, success will follow.
  3. Use resources that are offered to you and take advantage of connections, introductions, and networking opportunities. People that want to help you succeed will show up and contribute to your success. Allow them to help you navigate your way to success.

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.

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