Courtney Brown is wearing her heart on her sleeve. (Also, pumas. She’s wearing pumas on her sleeves, too.)
The stylish mogul has created a multi-million dollar fashion brand. And while they offer the latest in clothing, shoes and accessories, the company’s main goal is to empower women to lead bold and full lives.
“We employ more than 30 women, many of whom are stay-at-home moms wanting to contribute their skills and talents in more than one realm,” she says. “I have always had this deep-seated belief that I have something to contribute — and this is it. I get to create, support and cheer on a community of women leading empowered lives.”
Brown started Cents of Style 13 years ago when she, too, was a new stay-at-home mom looking for an outlet. Today, she runs two companies — the second called Be Fulfilled, which runs operations for other women-owned brands.
After its first five years as a stagnant startup, Cents of Style hit it big when it pivoted to affiliate and influencer marketing. Brown regrouped, re-imagined, and restyled her business model, and today it is one of the fastest-growing companies in the state.
We’re talking puma fast.
First Things First
FIRST JOB Dressing up as Cinderella and Winnie the Pooh for children’s birthday parties. I was in high school, and it was my first experience with women’s entrepreneurship. It’s also where I honed my secret talents of balloon animals and face painting.
FIRST EMAIL ADDRESS firstname.lastname@example.org
FIRST OBSESSION It has to be Dean Cain, who played Superman in “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
FIRST WHEELS Ford Aspire.
FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET TO WORK Check my email.
FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET HOME Talk to my kids.
FIRST BIG BREAK In 2012, we redid the business plan and shifted 100 percent online. And in November of 2013, we had our first viral deal and made 20 percent of our annual revenue in 72 hours. We sold 28,000 Chevron scarfs. It was absolutely insane.
FIRST FAILURE My first business plan was a failure. I was five years into the company. I never did more than $150k in revenue, I was $150k in debt, and I never took a paycheck. It just wasn’t scalable. I could have walked away, but I pivoted back to zero and started over.
FIRST RULE OF SUCCESS Grit. Perseverance.
FIRST RULE OF COOL Own who you are.
Last Things Last
LAST TEXT YOU SENT To my mom for her birthday yesterday: “I thought about you all day long from meeting to meeting, and when I finally got done at 10 p.m., I started to cry knowing you were asleep. So I sent you a Marco Polo. I love you so much.” She replied: “Bless you for not waking me up.”
LAST SHOW YOU WATCHED “Top Chef.”
LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO “This Too Shall Pass” by Jamestown Revival.
LAST PODCAST YOU LISTENED TO Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” with guest Pete Carroll.
LAST BOOK YOU READ “Goals! How to Get Everything You Want —Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible” by Brian Tracy. So good.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS “Remember everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” — Plato.