Chicks We Love: An Interview With Kara Wilk Of Teal Trunk & Her Advice For Female Entrepreneurs

Welcome to Chicks We Love! Here at Chip Chick, we love inspiring women to follow their business dreams while giving them the tools they need to make it happen.

Chicks We Love is our new series showcasing, well, chicks we can’t help but just love! Get ready to meet some of our favorite exciting female entrepreneurs and hear all about their wisdom for helping you to succeed too.

In this article we caught up with Kara Wilk, Founder of Teal Trunk. Kara has always lived her life determined to find a solution to problems that arise, and she sure solved problems a lot of people were facing when she created Teal Trunk!

Kara’s major pet peeve of a gross, wet sponge being left in a sink inspired her to set out and create her innovative silicone scrubber.

Here is Kara’s inspiring story and her words of wisdom for you!

Photo courtesy of Kara

What was your inspiration behind starting your company?

Honestly, one of my biggest pet peeves is a wet used sponge left in the bottom of the sink. Just the thought of picking it up not knowing what it was used on last or what it might be harboring makes me cringe.

I started by researching the cleaning market with a focus on reusable sponges. This in turn brought me to the silicone sponge market and I began researching all different silicone type sponges. With a focus on a particular segment, I started reading as many reviews as I could.

After much research I realized I wasn’t alone and silicone scrubbers were a sought-after item. I knew there was room for improvement and started compiling a list of the things that were most talked about as an issue and began sketching.

What is your favorite aspect of the brand or product line?

I love that my product is able to contribute to less waste and give consumers a reusable product with a variety of uses.

I also love the completely unexpected part of things that I didn’t focus on when developing this such as the amount of people that have reached out to me thanking me for developing a product that is easier for them to use due to their hand strength struggles such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

I absolutely love hearing from people in all different professions that have reached out telling me what they use them for such as artists that have saved countless dollars by not having to replace their expensive paint brushes.

Or cosmetologists telling me how well my scrubber cleans their brushes so effectively between applications which extends the life of their products. Bakers say they love it for cleaning their bakeware and utensils, lastly, the outreach from all the moms has been incredible.

They tell me that they love it for their kid craft clean up and their bathroom sinks because silicone doesn’t stain.

What do you aim to accomplish in the next year?

My goals consist of continuing to spread awareness as well as educating people on all their best uses and ways to use them.

I have a few products in the pipeline and one really close with high hopes it will be ready in a few months.

I also would love to develop B2B relationships for two purposes which are exploring additional distribution channels as well as analyze the commercial market for my scrubbers.

Photo courtesy of Kara

What’s the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?

Prioritizing and time management. Everything comes at you all at once and every last thing is important, especially when you are just starting off.

I have found it very difficult to put anything at the bottom of the to do list.

What advice do you have for other women who would like to start their own company?

Never tell yourself you can’t. There are a million resources out there at our fingertips. You just have to be determined enough to find them.

Why and how did you end up an entrepreneur? Was it a path you always envisioned pursuing?

Not necessarily, I’ve always been the “fixer” or “tinker” amongst my friends and family. Always determined to find a solution even if it’s in unconditional ways.

When I quickly realized this was a common problem and in need of improvement I naturally went to work on it.

What tools do you recommend for women who would like to be entrepreneurs?

Know your strengths and utilizing others for theirs. There are many advanced software programs that I am not savvy in and utilizing upwork and fiverr to hire freelancers that will save you time to focus on what you need to push your business forward.

Photo courtesy of Kara

How do you overcome failure or fear?

Developing your own product puts you a very vulnerable, anxious position.

You have to have the mindset and know that not everyone is going to like it and there are also going to be competitors that aren’t going to like it.

My goal is not to knock anyone out of the game; it’s simply to play on the same field.

What habits contribute to your success?

My motivation to find a solution or a way. I have a hard time taking no for an answer even if I hear it more than once.

I just get better at finding the yeses.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

This is one of my biggest challenges right now. 

During the day 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I’m a boss. Once 3 p.m. rolls around and the twins are getting off the school bus I have to put my mom hat on.

I try my best to get as much as I can done while they are at school.

What does your typical day look like?

Wake up early, get the twins breakfast and off to the bus, grab a coffee and check my Instagram messages since a lot come in overnight now that I am also in The United Kingdom market.

Go through emails and realize its 11 a.m. and I’m still in my PJ’s and need to either do a quick power walk or jump in the shower.

Love making smoothies for lunch because they are quick and I can still work while I drink it. I have a tripod set up over the kitchen sink so I try and get some video created.

Then get as much accomplished as I can before the bus rolls up and then we are off to gymnastics, Spanish, piano or swim practice.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

This is tough … aside from my family which goes without saying, I would have to say No. 2 pencils. I know it might sound old fashion with all the high-tech ways to write draw and take notes but I am a very visual person and sometimes I do better sketching things out then describing them, but first of course, coffee!!!

Bre is a female millennial go getter residing in New York. One part entrepreneur, one part geek, she obtained her degree in Textile/Surface Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology.

She has held some exciting roles in both fashion as a designer working for brands like Victoria’s Secret and Henri Bendel, as well as in ad tech working for publishers like Ziff Davis.

Today she operates her own luxury label Bre Avery, along with Chip Chick Media which reaches millions of women each month.

Bre is passionate about teaching women how to build a business and be an entrepreneur, in addition to keeping her readers informed of the latest technology trends and exciting products to improve their lifestyles.

You can send Bre a message here.