Updated: Mar 31
It was June of 2011 when I met Ariella. We had chatted a bit over Facebook before summer orientation in Boston. The next time we would see each other was at JFK airport going to London for our first semester abroad. Yes, that's right... we were freshmen going to England to begin our college careers. To say our friendship was instantaneous is an understatement. We had so much in common and were experiencing such a unique circumstance together, along with 150 other students from around the world.
We became roommates in London and every semester after that for 2 years. They say you really get to know people when you travel with them... and live with them! Ariella and I were so lucky to have met such a great group of friends who we basically grew up with and helped mold us into the individuals we are today.
We have been through thick and thin, traveled around the world and experienced so many memories together. After almost a decade of knowing her, I felt it was important to feature Ariella, as her story is so powerful and has impacted many.
Thank Ari for taking the time to open up and share your narrative!
Questions and Answers:
Q: Are you most productive in the morning, afternoon or night? A: Morning Q: I stay motivated by ....... A: Doing something I love Q: My best friend would use these three adjectives to describe me…. A: Kind, caring, genuine (in the words of Olivia Sharf) Q: Growing up, when I envisioned my career, I saw myself.... A: As a doctor, until I was 16 I was 100% no doubt going to be a doctor. Until I realized that's not really what I wanted to be even though I am still infatuated with the medical field. Q: If I could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), it would be... A: My dad. He is hands down the most interesting person I have ever met and in my 26 years of life, I still learn something new from or about him every single day. Q: If I were a fruit or vegetable, I'd be.... A: (or want to be) probably a strawberry. They're so cute and sweet! Q: Give your best elevator pitch. In at least three or four sentences tell me what you do. A: I created and operate a brand in which I aim to inspire others to give back, but in a fun way. A portion of net proceeds from all retail sales are donated to a charity. The fun part? The customer gets to choose which charity their money will go to for most products! Giving back to the community and raising awareness for important causes has always been a huge part of who I am.
Q: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted?
To be honest, I never thought I would ever be an entrepreneur regardless of my always-going creative mind. The idea of inconsistency behind creating and running a business from ground zero was so not appealing to me. I love having everything planned down to the minute and being able to know when the next paycheck will be coming in. Risk was never something I was keen on so to speak. I couldn't imagine having my own business until the day it happened.
Q: How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you? A: I started by business by complete accident. I know, it's so cliche, but that is truly what happened. I had taken a medical leave of absence from college in the Spring semester of my sophomore year after experiencing some mental health issues. When I began recovering and feeling more like myself again, I kept busy by finding creative outlets. I had a collection of pennies I found (I don't just find pennies everywhere, they appear out of nowhere in the strangest of places) so I decided to make a bracelet. I wore the bracelet around as if I had bought it somewhere to create hype around it. The rest is history! I promised myself that if it turned into a business, it had to involve giving back.
Q: What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life? A: This is a bit of a loaded question for me because I am always all over the place (in the best way possible). I'm not sure anything can really prepare anybody for the entrepreneurial life besides dedication, drive, motivation, and a serious passion for what they are doing. I would consider myself a successful entrepreneur because I am doing something I love, but I'm not sure the entrepreneurial life would be for me if someone stopped me on the street one day asking me to start a business for them.
Q: How do you generate new ideas to stay relevant on the market? Is it important to innovate in your space? A: It is definitely not the advice people give when it comes to running your own business, but I put on blinders to competition. I have always been drawn to genuine stories behind businesses I support, so I like to keep the same value behind my own. I wouldn't necessarily say innovation is important in my space, I kind of just do whatever I feel like doing. When a company is fueled by passion, the chances of success are much greater.
Q: What would you tell your 18 year old self today? A: Everything happens for a reason and exactly when it is supposed to. I used to cringe when adults said this to me because when you're facing hard times, it's nearly impossible to understand why a rough patch would be happening. But it's so true. Everything really does happen for a reason. You might not know what that reason is today, tomorrow, or 6 months from now, but you will always come to realize what that reason is at one point or another.
Q: For fun... describe your guilty pleasure.
A: Watching medical shows on TV such as Untold Stories of the ER on Discovery Channel and Doctor Pimple Popper.
Q: Describe your perfect day. A: Being able to live is a perfect day in my books.
— I always like to say, the absolute best feeling is when you surprise yourself. Like Ariella, many career-driven individuals stumbled into the entrepreneur lifestyle. You can't always predict where life will take you, but you can control how hard and passionately you worked to getting there. Ari, thanks for opening up about your journey to creating Eight by One! It is so inspiring to hear how you got there!
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