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.
If you want to subscribe so you can stay up to date on all our Chicks We Love interviews, click here.
In this article, I caught up with Amy Norman, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO of Little Passports. Here is Amy’s inspiring story and her words of wisdom for you!
Photo courtesy of Amy
What was your inspiration behind starting your company?
Since I grew up moving every three years between England and the United States, I noticed the lack of global awareness that my peers had.
In the U.S., kids in middle school didn’t know where Europe was, let alone England. From my own personal experience, I knew that we could do a lot more to inspire children to learn about the world around them.
We want kids to be curious about people who are different from them, not afraid.
What is your favorite aspect of the brand or product line?
We have an entire wall at the Little Passports office that’s filled with letters from kids who are writing to our characters Sam and Sofia and Max and Mia and their dog Toby — they think of them as real people!
They want to send them little gifts and share their excitement about exploring the world. To me, this is concrete proof that we are reaching kids.
What do you aim to accomplish in the next year?
We turned 10 this year and are well on our way to building the next great children’s brand.
This year, we’re launching a new line aimed at teaching younger kids about the fundamentals of science, and we’re creating all-new adventures for virtual pen pals Sam and Sofia.
We’re continuing to grow our organization — we just hired a new CFO!
Photo courtesy of Little Passports
What’s the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
The fact that you have to persevere even when it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The first couple of years of our business were not easy and extremely stressful.
Some people told me to do something more “safe.” I remember people saying, “I think you should get a corporate job for a steady paycheck.”
That would have felt less stressful in the short term, but sticking through it led me to where I am today — extremely fulfilled and proud to be running a purpose-driven company.
What advice do you have for other women that would like to start their own company?
Take the leap and believe in yourself. Self-doubt holds so many of us back.
Yes, you should look at the risks objectively, but focus on the reasons it will work. Believing in yourself and the company is worth its weight in gold.
Why and how did you end up an entrepreneur? Was it a path you always envisioned pursuing?
I started my career in finance and strategy, working for companies like McKinsey and eBay. I met my co-founder, Stella Ma, while we were both working at eBay.
We immediately became close friends and had similar interests. We knew we wanted to build a mission-driven company with a huge vision.
What tools do you recommend for other women who would like to be entrepreneurs?
Google Calendar rules my life. In addition to my work calendar, I have to plan out the days of three kids at three schools and three sets of activities.
My husband and I rely on Google calendar to make the week move smoothly. I’m also a big fan of the app Zum for older kids.
Photo courtesy of Little Passports
What is the worst and the best decision you have ever made?
The best decision was to stick with the company even when it would have been much easier to give up. I can teach that lesson to my kids based on my real-life experience.
Today it’s rewarding that my sons see that I’m a CEO with a successful company that his friends know, but I remind him that I struggled. As he and his friends go through their own struggles, they will say, “Well, everything has always come easy to you,” and I can explain that it didn’t at all.
It took a lot of hard work and persistence and resilience. My children see that I’m strong and independent. I’m proud of being that role model.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in business?
Be patient. I think there’s a myth that success happens overnight in our culture, but it takes a lot longer than you think.
You have to believe and persevere, even when it seems impossible. I always tell new founders to make sure you have at least one year of savings to support yourself as a cushion.
How do you overcome failure or fear?
My philosophy is you either win or you learn. Basically — no one knows everything, so you can’t expect to be right all the time.
Failure is a chance to learn valuable lessons that make you better at what you do. Knowing that takes care of a lot of the fear.
What habits contribute to your success?
I make sure to stay flexible. As we’ve grown, I’ve evolved in my leadership style.
I’ve had to take a closer look at what the company needs from me at each stage and learn and grow into that role.
This subtle change is a really effective tool for empowering your team.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
We’ve built an entire culture around flexible work schedules — which is not only great for me personally but it means we have a very loyal workforce with low turnover.
People know that if they need time for doctor’s appointments or children’s recitals, we trust that they’ll get their work done.
How do you stay motivated?
I constantly remind myself, and the team, about our purpose. Every month we are inspiring children to learn about the world around them.
It’s what has kept me excited and engaged for over 10 years. And the more we grow, the more children we can impact.
What does your typical day look like?
Luckily, there is no typical day!
We’re focused on scaling Little Passports so there’s a huge variety of activities – from leading and inspiring our teams to setting our strategy to hiring the folks we need to grow the business.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
My own kids! I have three boys at home who love to travel and constantly inspire me to build better products for kids everywhere.
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.