Adriana Carrig: “Never have a problem with learning something from your peers or the people you hired”

Check your ego at the door. If you have a problem with learning something from your peers or the people you hired, then you need to make a change in your behavior to better your brand. As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing 29-year-old Adriana Carrig, […]

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Check your ego at the door. If you have a problem with learning something from your peers or the people you hired, then you need to make a change in your behavior to better your brand.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing 29-year-old Adriana Carrig, the founder of Little Words Project — the original word bracelet that inspires self-love and kindness.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Of course! It all started because I’d, unfortunately, dealt with a lot of “mean girls” growing up and then I got older, and noticed these mean girls only grew up to become mean women.

The competition, petty gossip, office cliques, and overall negativity was all too apparent for not only myself, but for a lot of my girlfriends. I wanted something to remind me every day that I was enough and that all girls and women are enough.

In college, I started creating bracelets with a word on it that acted as a reminder to love myself and treat others with kindness. Then, rather than go to law school as planned, I’d decided to go all in with what is now Little Words Project.

It’s not just a bracelet, we’re a community. It’s a brand that showcases support for women, collaboration over competition, kindness, confidence, and self-love.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Wow! I don’t even think I can name any one individual story throughout my time as the CEO of this company. It’s ALL been interesting!

From beginning the brand in my parents’ basement with my dad as the shipping department, to attending our first trade show, to experiencing my first “breakdown” as a result of being overworked, to seeing the brand on TV for the first time — it’s all been incredibly interesting to say the least.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’d say the funniest mistake was when I’d ordered way too many gift boxes from overseas thinking we’d go through all 10,000 in a month. I’d discovered late in the game that the company we ordered from would be shipping to the US via sea, which meant that it would need to be picked up at the port by a freight forwarding company.

Needless to say, I had NO idea what this meant. So rather than find a freight forwarder (because that would simply have been too hard for me to figure out at the time) I rolled up with two of my interns and packed over 50 boxes into our tiny 2 door cars amidst endless trucks.

It was truly a sight! It also took me the next three years to get through all those boxes, so we repeated this every time we had to move office spaces. It was an ongoing laugh, let’s just put it that way!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We’re not just creating word bracelets. We’re changing lives and giving women the confidence they need to take on their day!

Every bracelet can be registered with the code on a bracelet’s tag. When the original owner no longer needs that reminder to be strong, or relax, or have strength, for example, she can pass the bracelet on to another person who needs the reminder more.

The coolest part? All of it can be tracked because the bracelet is registered.

We’ve heard some amazing stories from women who credit their little word to getting through some serious hardships in their life.

We have a customer who told us she has the same words in multiple colors, so she can always match her outfit, while wearing what she called her “armor.”

I knew how special and personal a bracelet could be for someone, but I never imagined we’d be so impactful that someone “wouldn’t leave home” without their “little word” on their wrist.

At Little Words Project, we’re taking jewelry to the next level.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

In August, we launched a non-profit called The Block Organization that is focused on building communities of kind and self-confident female leaders across college campuses.

Through monthly meetings, curriculum development, speaker series, mentor programs and more, The Block Organization will impact 500,000 girls by increasing the number of collegiate women in on-campus leadership positions.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

It can be so much easier to talk yourself out of something than to really go for it, but you have to put the fear aside and start somewhere!

Being diligent, hardworking, and perseverant is key.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Hire well. Once you get to a point where you can bring others into your dream, you have to be willing to step aside if that person knows more than you do.

Check your ego at the door. If you have a problem with learning something from your peers or the people you hired, then you need to make a change in your behavior to better your brand.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have an amazing network of girl bosses at that I go to for advice or when I have questions.

I am constantly just putting things out into the universe via Instagram and getting responses from customers who are smart, amazing women who just want to help a sister out! I am thankful and grateful for them and encourage anyone out there looking to start a business, or even if you’re currently in business to build a solid network of colleagues who inevitably will have the answers to your questions or know someone who does!

We recently expanded our team and instead of throwing up a job description and hoping the right candidate came along, I turned to social media and posted a story to Instagram of the positions we were looking to fill. I knew I would find likeminded people since they were already a part of the Little Words community.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Little Words Project brings inspiration to women who look down and see that positive word every day.

Now, with The Block Organization, I’m so excited to do even more to help women in college because one of my many long-term goals was to launch a non-profit.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Write EVERYTHING down. There’s nothing worse than learning something once and not remembering how to do it… or, making a mistake and not learning from it the second time around. When you write something down, you burn it further into your brain and it helps you grow.

2. Mistakes WILL happen, so welcome them. It may sound weird, but I am at a point where I almost enjoy making mistakes. It helps ground me and remind me that no matter how good I get at this job, there will always be room for error. And that’s okay! With each passing mistake, I learn something new and I grow as a person. Also, borrowing from lesson number one, I have become accustomed to writing my mistakes down in a log. This way, I am able to refer back to them if I ever need to! Sometimes, I even randomly read through the list to date so I can get a refresher course on being human and how to not repeat history.

3. Be a giver. Business can be tough at times. There are so many young entrepreneurs who I’ve met on my journey and while a lot of them have been supportive and helpful, a lot of them have also been competitive and unwilling to offer assistance when asked. This is something I’ve never truly understood. If asked for help in anyway, I ALWAYS give. I truly believe that the only way to receive positivity is to put positivity out there. So, if you’re lucky enough to have built something, or to be an expert in a certain field, then I believe it is your responsibility to help others reach that point as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all of your time, but answering a quick email, or sending an introduction is never too much to ask!

4. Build a solid team. It’s not just about hiring talented people. You have to find a group of individuals who believe in your mission and show up every day with the same passion for your business as you do. Empowering the team you put in place, because you believed in them, will keep your goals aligned and on track. It does get easier and great people attract amazing people!

5. Throw out self-doubt! If I had a dollar for every time I doubted myself — let’s just say I’d be retired, traveling the globe. There have been a billion instances where I’ve second guessed myself and went against my initial thought or plan because I doubted my ability to do something. DON’T DOUBT YOURSELF! You know your brand, you know what’s best for your business, and you are your own best advocate. And you know what… it’s ok to make mistakes. (See response #2.)

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d like to inspire a movement of self-love. Take time to make your soul happy and be kind to yourself. When you’re kind to yourself, you’ll naturally want to be kind to others. And when you’re kind to others, you build self-esteem. And when you build self-esteem, you build confidence and more self-love.

If everyone loved themselves a little bit more, the unnecessary competition and negativity that develops because of insecurities might die down a bit. Strong, talented, unstoppable women could come together, collaborate and really make a difference in society.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Querer es Poder.” It’s Spanish for, “If you want it, you can achieve it.”

My mother used to say this to me every day before I left the house as I was growing up. If you want something, and if you’re willing to work for it, it can be yours.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Sara Blakely is my freaking idol! She is such an inspiration to me not only for her achievements but for how she continues to show up every day for young women everywhere. She gives us female leaders so much to look forward to and look up to.

I would just love the opportunity to pick her brain and learn, learn, learn.

Plus, her husband’s number one fan is my husband so we’re basically meant to be.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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