When Emily Watson and Julianne Goldmark were eighth graders making homemade hair ties from fabric in California, it was a fun, inexpensive way to recreate the elaborate headbeads worn by Manhattan’s social elite from their favorite TV show, “Gossip Girl.” Little did they know that celebs like Jennifer Aniston would one day be sporting their accessories — and that they would be running a multimillion dollar business from their dorm rooms.
Today, the college freshmen are continuing to build their wildly successful hair accessories brand, Emi-Jay. The best friends-turned-fashion entrepreneurs recently chatted with HuffPost Live on how they launched a company before graduating high school.
“We noticed this growing trend of hair accessories among our friends at school and TV shows like ‘Gossip Girl,’ which is where we got a lot of our inspiration,” explained Matson. “We noticed a lot of the products out there were very extravagant and way out of price range.” Watch in the video above.
After purchasing materials from the garment district in Los Angeles, the friends set up shop in Goldmark’s home to create their own. But things didn’t really start to take off until celebrity hair stylist Chris McMillan, of whom Goldmark’s mother is a client, gave Jennifer Aniston an Emi-Jay hair tie to wear to a movie premiere.
“A week later, we got a request from Marie Claire magazine and it kind of went from there,” explained Goldmark. “We had to start making these hair ties from my house and then we had to build a website. It honestly has been a really surreal experience ever since.”
The secret to their growing success? Both CEOs agreed that passion is key.
“I think if Emily and I weren’t passionate about this company, it wouldn’t have succeeded,” said Goldmark. “And I think that people can really see when you’re invested in it and when you’re not — and that’s something that makes a huge difference.”