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Entrepreneur of the Week: Gwen Carson

Published: September 21, 2016 12:00 AM
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This year's Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 14 - 20. During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity. Leading up to that week, the Hudson Hub-Times is featuring the story of one of our own Hudson entrepreneurs each week. A summary of the other events in Hudson can be found at www.hudsonlibrary.org/global-entrepreneurship-week.

Gwen Carson is the owner of one of Hudson's newest businesses, Gwendolyn Elizabeth located in Acme Plaza. As you read on you will see how unique her story is.

What inspired you to own your own business?

A year ago I was looking for ways to earn some extra money.°My dad encouraged me to think about running my own business instead of working for someone else.°We took a trip together to a mall to look at other businesses, and I realized the bath, body, and candle businesses were interesting and fun.°So I decided on a concept that I think is better than what they have to offer.° Our products are similar, but they're hand-made in small batches, locally.° And we offer our customers an opportunity to make our products, too.° We also offer more beautiful packaging and more personal service.°

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?

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Getting the word out about our store.°I believe that once people experience what we have to offer, they'll come back.° So we work hard to introduce the Gwendolyn Elizabeth brand to as many people as possible.

What do you find most rewarding?

When I started this company, I wanted to make sure our mission statement had a charitable component.° I think it makes sense to share your profits with organizations or people in need in and around the communities where you do business and with organizations our customers care about.° I've got a few of those charities set up now, and we've donated about $5,000 since we launched in November 2015.°I've set a goal to give away a million dollars to charities and people in need from Gwendolyn Elizabeth.° Doesn't that sound fun?°I think we'll achieve it.

Describe your typical day.

Well, I'm still in high school.°So, when school's in session, I spend a good part of my time at my high school, Hathaway Brown.°My evenings are spent at Hudson Conservatory of Ballet studying and performing ballet.°Usually, I find time on the weekend to catch up on sales and marketing for Gwendolyn Elizabeth.°And, let's not forget manufacturing. My mom helps me a lot with the store.° We spend a lot of time brainstorming new products, researching ingredients and suppliers.

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What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

I love being able to come up with an idea for a product or even a marketing concept, and then know I can make it happen. For instance, I spent part of my summer in New York City in the Summer Intensive Ballet Program with Joffrey Ballet. During some of my evenings, I would browse local bath and body shops.° I've already come up with my next new product. And, it's something I've never seen around here.

Your advice to budding entrepreneurs?

If you want people to value you, then°be valuable.°Think about what your customers need.°Think about the problems you can solve for them.°And then give them what they need. It sounds simple, but making sure your business fulfills an actual need is very important.°At Gwendolyn Elizabeth, we provide authentic bath, body, and candle products to people who want them. And we provide elegant, beautifully packaged gifts that reflect the good tastes of our customers. These are real things that real people need.° And that's why there's a market for it. It's why we'll be successful.

What one word would describe your life as an entrepreneur?

Service.


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