Teen entrepreneur Kristen Sosa launches BLANK Streetwear to help everyone feel confident and included
Founding your own business is quite a feat. Starting a movement for good with that business is even more impressive.
And doing all that when you’re 14? That blows us away.
But that’s exactly what Kristen Sosa did. We’re excited to tell you that Kristen is the youngest entrepreneur we’ve ever featured here on the Movement Maker Collective blog. And we’re even more excited about what the future holds for her company, BLANK Streetwear.
So how does a teenager become a socially conscious founder and CEO? Kristen is a classic #Firestarter. She saw a way that she could make the world better and decided to take action.
The inspiration for BLANK came from Kristen’s own life and what she has observed happening in the lives of other young people.
She notes that while her generation is accepting of differences in race and sexuality, the same doesn’t always hold true when it comes to other differences. Kristen herself has felt singled out sometimes because she has acne. She’s also seen her younger cousin, who suffers from seizures, made fun of for being “different” and “weird.”
Where does this kind of behavior come from? Kristen believes it’s fueled by social media. Both young women and young men are bombarded with images of celebrities, models and influencers with “perfect” looks and “perfect” lives. That warps teens’ expectations of what they are supposed to look and who they are supposed to be.
Kristen wanted to send a very different kind of message — one of empowerment, love and inclusion. She decided that she would send this message through fashion.
“Growing up in today’s society, I noticed how there aren’t many clothing brands that have a strong message behind them, so I wanted to change that,” she says. “Currently, teenagers just love to buy name-brand clothing items, since it makes them ‘cool,’ but they aren’t supporting a message.”
Passion and a Plan
This young #Firestarter didn’t wait around to turn her vision into a reality. Appropriately enough for a company that stresses the value of individual uniqueness, she didn’t model BLANK after other brands. Instead, she is forging her own path in trying to change the fashion industry.
The BLANK logo — a tattered teddy bear — is designed to be relatable. The bear represents how criticisms, comparisons and expectations can leave us feeling hurt and unworthy. The “BLANK” bar covering the bear’s eyes symbolizes shutting out society’s standards and creating your own self-definition.
Through her company, Kristen is working to create a world where teens can stop trying to be “perfect” and start opening up about their own emotions and mental health. She hopes that BLANK helps others feel beautiful and confident in their own skin.
Of course, running a company and changing the world takes a lot of time and energy. So how does Kristen balance being an entrepreneur and a busy high school student?
“Planning! Everything ties back to planning,” she says. “I have a planner where I map out what I am going to do throughout the day. I also create to-do lists the night before. I will admit it is going to be a bit hard to juggle school and BLANK, but with the right planning, I will be able to do it!”
Being organized is one of the top tips she would share with other aspiring teen entrepreneurs.
“I cannot stress how much you need to plan before you start your business,” she says. “It’s also important that you find your passion. You can’t start a business without having a mission, a passion for something.”
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