Scarlett & Stephanie Szewczyk of Scar and Co: “Don’t be a copycat”

Don’t be a copycat — It is so easy to look at other brands and try to copy things they are doing. Researching competitors and other brands you like are crucial to your business but copying them is not going to serve you. Take what you see and put your own twist on it. Look at what […]

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Don’t be a copycat — It is so easy to look at other brands and try to copy things they are doing. Researching competitors and other brands you like are crucial to your business but copying them is not going to serve you. Take what you see and put your own twist on it. Look at what they are doing and find a way that it will serve you and your customers. Setting yourself apart in your market is crucial to success!


Founder and CEO, Stephanie, is a serial entrepreneur who got her inspiration for Scar and Co. from her daughter, Scarlett. After almost 15 years in the corporate world, Stephanie decided to focus on building businesses based on her passion. She has spent the past 10 years forming companies that focus on the inspiration and support of young girls. Scar and Co. are the latest in that host of companies and aims to make life easier for dancers, runners, or any other professions that require the wearing of bib numbers. Stephanie’s keen business sense and savvy techniques have elevated her companies to six-figure revenue numbers within the first 24 months. She loves a good challenge is always reading and listening to business podcasts to hone her expertise.

Scarlett, who is 14 years old, is following in her entrepreneurial mom’s footsteps with the creation of bib magnets for dancers, runners, or any other profession that requires the wearing of competition numbers. Dancing from a very young age, she enjoys training hours in the studio during the week and traveling to dance conventions on the weekends. With a passion for dance that is not weaning, Scarlett will be attending The Chicago Academy for the Arts in the fall. She enjoys creating the magnet designs, running Scar and Co.s social media, and learning more about running a business.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

STEPHANIE.

Call me a serial entrepreneur…I love brilliant ideas that are fueled by need and passion. My mind works….ALL. THE. TIME! I have so many interests and ideas for businesses but not enough time to make them all happen.

For years I worked in the corporate world of healthcare and loved meeting new people and learning so many things but my heart was always looking for my own thing. After leaving the corporate gig back in 2011 when we lived in Massachusetts, I fell in love with a historical retail space in downtown Hopkinton. I knew it was the perfect spot to launch my first business….an interior store with furniture, decor, and a design studio.

After a job relocation for my husband moved us to Naperville, IL, I partnered with my best(ie), Kristen, and we started STRONG self(ie), an event and gift box company for girls. We are building a STRONG business built on empowering girls to feel strong and confident at a young age and have grown immensely in just under 3 years. The future is bright in our STRONG self(ie) world and I can’t wait to see where things go. So be sure to check us out for all your gifts for girls!!

So why ANOTHER company….meet my daughter, Scarlett, and you will soon see she is very much like me….in soooo many ways! Scarlett is a competitive dancer (one thing we DON’T have in common!) and we travel all over the United States for conventions and competitions. Since the age of 5, she has had to pin an audition number to her beautiful (and expensive!) dancewear. I think she was about 9 when she looked at me and said, “These pins are ruining my clothes! There has to be a better way.” Well fast forward a few years and well like I said….I am a sucker for new ideas and concepts when there is a need and Scarlett has enough passion for both of us so here we are…..welcome to Scar and Co.

SCARLETT.

I dance. I can’t get enough. Even when I’m not actually dancing, I’m mentally running my solo and combos in my head. Probably not the best thing to being doing during Spanish class but dance is my passion!

I’m 13 years old and in 8th grade. I train in all types of dance and love attending conventions, intensives, and competitions all over the US. As a competitive dancer, I have to attach an audition number to my dance clothes during conventions. Safety pins are what everyone uses and they ruin my dancewear by leaving holes and snags. I don’t know much about starting or running a business but I knew there was a better solution to pins! So I partnered with the smartest and most determined person I know…my MOM!

Together we are building a brand based on LinKs. I love connecting with other dancers, choreographers, teachers, and photographers throughout the dance world. These LinKs help push me to be better and train harder. The goal of this new magnet solution is to not only safely LinK your number to your clothing but to LinK you to a community of people with similar passions and interests. The Scar and Co. community will lift you up and help push you further so no matter what your goals are we are there for you!

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

STEPHANIE. One thing I have learned from starting businesses is JUST START! Things don’t have to be perfect to launch and start getting sales. When I started my first business I waited too long to launch. I wanted everything to be perfect but the reality is nothing is ever perfect. The work is never all done! There is always a ‘to do’ list a mile long. Get out of your own way and go for it!

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?

STEPHANIE. I have met and worked with so many people in life but the one person that always believes in me and encourages me to take the risk and go for it is my husband, Mark. From assisting with business questions to investing in my businesses he is always there to help. With Scar and Co., being a mom and daughter duo, he’s even more support to get Scarlett exposed to the entrepreneurial and business world at a young age.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

SCARLETT: Both my mom and I are very active and we love supporting people that are always moving. Staying active is very important to stay healthy so if it is running, dancing, biking, or even walking in a 5K we hope our LinK magnets will encourage everyone to keep moving! One of the things we want people to know is that when they snap on our magnet sets that they are LinKing with us and we are with them every step of the way!

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  • Connect with Others — The best way to live a healthy life is to surround yourself with people that are positive and happy. Finding a like-minded circle will help you achieve your goals!
  • Just Start — My workout routine is hit or miss depending on the week….but I have a workout routine! Find something to keep you moving. Go for a run. If you don’t run, then walk. If you can’t run a 5K then walk it. Take a dance class. Anything to start! Because you have to BEGIN to make something a habit or build a routine!
  • Consistency Matters — “Everything you want is waiting for you on the other side of consistency” is one of my favorite quotes b/c it’s true! This can apply to health and wellness, business, friendships, marriage…pretty much everything!
  • Fear is a Liar — yep it really is! Having a healthy mindset is the key to achieving goals. Having confidence, believing in yourself, and not letting fear stop you are so important to living a happy and healthy life!
  • Your only competition is you. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and truly focus on making ourselves better then we start winning! I think it gets easier with age but the earlier in life you realize you don’t need to compete with others and the biggest challenge you have is your own procrastination, fear, doubt, and mindset the sooner you will find a happier life.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

SCARLETT — If it was up to me, I think every day for 10 minutes the world should just stop and dance! Turn up the music and just dance! I think people would find joy from it and there would be more laughter in this world. Sometimes adults are too serious and if they just stopped and had fun for 10 minutes they could release stress and smile. So starting tomorrow at noon everyone needs to dance it out!!!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  • It doesn’t need to be perfect — I am a perfectionist. Well, I used to be but now I have learned that doing is better than not taking action so you have to start….take the leap of faith and go for it!
  • You will make bad decisions — Not everything you do will be successful but I have learned so much from making mistakes that in the end, I wonder if it was really a mistake but a new path that I did not know to take.
  • People that you think will support you won’t — It’s interesting how people react to others, especially when starting a new business. People I thought would be behind me 100% turned their backs. At first, I took it personally and questioned if my business was less than it was but I have learned that whether out of jealousy or spite it doesn’t really matter. You need to stay unbothered and continue to make it happen for yourself!
  • You need grit — as in the form of a verb! Refusing to give up. Pushing beyond limits. Getting knocked down but getting up b/c you know you can do it. Never losing faith in yourself or your mission.
  • Don’t be a copycat — It is so easy to look at other brands and try to copy things they are doing. Researching competitors and other brands you like are crucial to your business but copying them is not going to serve you. Take what you see and put your own twist on it. Look at what they are doing and find a way that it will serve you and your customers. Setting yourself apart in your market is crucial to success!

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

SCARLETT — The pandemic has been hard for me. I was traveling and dancing almost every weekend, spending long dance weekends with my friends, and BOOM! Lockdown! At first, I embraced the Zoom classes and was super happy to not be in school but after 4 months of going from overly booked to overly bored, I had moments of anger and despair. I lost some passion for the one thing that defined me. I had a hard time caring about the dance classes and found myself wondering if I wanted to keep dancing. I think many kids are struggling with mental health during the pandemic. Our lives have changed in many ways from school to extracurricular activities to sleepovers! It’s hard to stay positive when you have so much alone time. As things slowly get back to a new normal I have to accept my new dance life. Wearing a mask, less socializing, less travel is hard to accept and deal with but at least I am able to reconnect with the one thing that brings me joy. My parents and dance teachers have helped me stay focused and supported me in my moments of doubt. Sometimes it is hard to find the good things about the pandemic but looking back there are many positive things that I can now see that at the moment I struggled with.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/ScarandCo/

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/scarandco_/

Twitter — https://twitter.com/scarandco1

Pinterest — https://www.pinterest.com/scarandco1/

YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0ee3A4Te_m4balWAq1ZOpA?view_as=subscriber

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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