Please share who you are and what you do professionally?
My name is Blythe Harris and I am the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Stella&Dot. We launched Stella&Dot over a decade ago with the mission to empower women to become successful entrepreneurs and micro-influencers in their communities. I collaborate with our in-house creative and design teams to set the inspiration and guide the creative vision for the company each season. My happy place is in my studio in Sausalito handmaking samples and experimenting with color and materials. I have a love for artisan craft from all of the world and am constantly inspired by traveling and finding new techniques and unusual materials. I am also an avid collector of vintage jewelry and I love anything with a rich history that has a story behind it.
Being a female entrepreneur is a powerful thing. Can you please share a few words of wisdom/advice to someone that wants to start her own company?
It is indeed a powerful thing because women are multi-taskers, which means that it is nearly impossible to just go into a black hole and focus on writing your business plan and start your company with tunnel vision. I advise any woman thinking about starting a business to set up an infrastructure of support, including stating your intention to your immediate family and community and asking for people to pitch in and help. If you are a mom, work out a co-parenting agreement with your husband and set up systems that take busy work off of your plate. I love Instacart for groceries, and I am lucky enough to have my mom nearby. I have found that when I let people in my community know what I am doing, and what I need help with, people are incredibly generous.
I also would advise people not to worry about following a typical path towards entrepreneurship. A lot of very successful businesses have started with no more than curiosity and slowly growing side hustle. You don’t need to follow any playbook-if you find an unmet need that you feel that you can address with an idea just start out experimenting and go from there.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how I have taken my creative passions and turned them into something that has had a significant impact on women’s financial independence. In the past decade at Stella&Dot, we have paid out over $500mm in commissions to our community of women, which has paid for mortgages, college, fertility treatments, healthcare, and more. We have also donated over $3mm to causes important to our community like breast cancer and autism. I feel really lucky to have had this opportunity.
What has been the most significant in making you the woman you are today?
I was run over by an 18-wheeler truck when I was 22 and came very close to dying-I was actually pronounced DOA (Dead on Arrival) by the paramedics and then was resuscitated. When I woke up from my coma I was told I would never walk again and I would not have children. I had a traumatic brain injury as well as a spinal cord injury that left me temporarily incapacitated. The fact that I am not only mobile but that I went on to have two kids has been the biggest gift of my life. I also think that the slow journey of recovering from my accident was a huge lesson in grit and determination that later ended up serving me well as an entrepreneur.
Describe your personal style. Do you have a certain look or brand that is your go-to for power dressing?
I like a mix of tailored and feminine that is not too perfect. I love getting my hands dirty in my studio so I don’t like anything too fussy. I am really into the look of layering something really feminine-a slip dress, a corset, over something androgynous like a plain white tee. I also love dressing down a more feminine dress with my WIT oxfords. A dress with a heel is too much for me. I am brand agnostic and am drawn to a real mix. My favorite item of clothing is my dad’s old army issue shirt, with the original patches. I wear it over everything.