I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Madeline and her mom last month in New York. I love meeting sweet readers and Madeline was right up there as one of the sweetest ever. (And her mom, also a TCP reader, was just as cute as well!) I was absolutely impressed by Madeline as she and her mom were launching a preppy and cute backpack line called Madeline and Company. We got an afternoon coffee together one afternoon and they shared more of the inspiration behind the backpacks and I got to see a couple of the prototypes. Let’s just say, I wish I were going back to school JUST for one of the backpacks. (Use the code “TCPFREESHIP” for free shipping!)
I sent Madeline a few questions for her to answer on the blog… I hope everyone is as inspired by Madeline’s drive and creativity as I am.
Madeline modeling the navy and blue backpack!
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Madeline and I’m a high school senior from the Cincinnati, Ohio. I love all shades of blue and stripes and think that a hint of gold is always a good thing. Between classes, extra curriculars, and tennis, I stay pretty busy. I love having movie nights with my friends, and I have the biggest sweet tooth. This summer I decided to add one more (super fun) thing to my resume: starting my own company. My fantastic business partner (aka my Mom) and I decided to design backpacks that include all of our favorite things.
How did you and your mom decide to start making backpacks?
I was always frustrated with the options of backpacks each fall. Between the strange color options or large prints, I was very uninspired. I wasn’t looking for a bag to go camping. I simply needed a backpack that could holds lots of stuff and was cute, and I couldn’t find it. So, I designed this backpack that’s exactly what I was looking for!
A mom and daughter duo sounds so fun! What’s the best and most challenging part of working with your mom?
I could not ask for a better business partner! She has become my mentor throughout this entire process of starting Madeline & Company. I never could have done this without her support and business knowledge! I’m also so lucky to have my sister, Abbey, and Dad as such great supporters. Honestly, it is not challenging at all working with my Mom! We have very similar taste, so we agreed on the color combinations and design of the website. She’s great at the financial aspect while I’m better at the technological parts, so we make a great pair!
What is one surprising thing you’ve learned so far in the process?
I didn’t necessarily think it was going to be an easy task to start Madeline & Company, but I was so surprised by the amount of little things that we had to do. There were so many small decisions that I had originally overlooked such as the size of the zipperheads, the color of the thread, the type of tissue paper, and the list of little things goes on and on. I have a whole new respect for small business owners now!
What has been your favorite part so far?
I’ve discovered that I love the idea of branding a company and creating an image for the brand. I never thought I would enjoy that aspect of starting my own company, but it turns out that it is my favorite part! In fact, we plan on expanding our brand further this winter by offering small gifts and clothing. My sister is a talented artist, so she will be painting different prints.
The backpacks have great features that you don’t typically see on other products, which one is your favorite and why?
One of my favorite features is the size of the backpack! I know I’m not alone when I say that my backpack fills up pretty quickly between binders, books, and a laptop! I made sure that this style has plenty of room. It is also designed so that it does not fall over. The flat base allows it to stand up while sitting by your desk, which also makes it much easier to see everything inside. Since it stands up straight, you can always catch a glimpse of the striped lining.
If a girl in high school wants to start her own company, what advice or suggestions would you give?
If you want to create something that is completely your own, don’t look back and just go for it! I’ve learned that things always take longer than you think! You have to plan and think ahead. You can’t just snap your fingers and expect it to happen right away (although that would be nice!). Also my biggest piece of advice is to find a mentor! Your mentor doesn’t have to be the CEO of some big company; he or she could be a parent or best friend. Just find someone that will support you and give you their honest opinion. I don’t think I could have done this without my Mom as my mentor.
Definitely check out Madeline and Company if you’re looking for a backpack that fits your personality and all your school books!