LUNCH BREAK CHATS: Stephanie Zheng on the Future of Digital Entrepreneurship

matt chu picchu stephanie zheng milennial digital business 1

In this new series, Lunch Break Chats, I’ll be exploring the creative industry with various leaders that define it. First up is Stephanie Zheng, founder of Jezie Jewelry, beauty blogger of Stephanie Zheng, owner of Atticus the Hedgie and business student of NYU. 

So you started Jezie Jewelry, then Atticus’ social accounts, followed by your eponymous beauty blog, tell me a little about how you juggle all these projects you run.

As a full-time student, I think it’s definitely difficult to balance everything. I think it just comes down to accepting the fact that you’ll always be working, haha. I’m kind of a workaholic though so I like always having different projects to work on.

And tell me a little more about how you got on this path, perhaps with Jezie, the inspiration behind starting it.

In the beginning of high school, I wanted to be an eye doctor. I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship but didn’t think I had the personality to do well in business – I’m bad at networking and awkward around new people. During my sophomore year of high school, I was a huge Harry Potter nerd and made myself a lightning bolt necklace to wear to the midnight premiere of one of the movies. I uploaded the picture to Tumblr and to my surprise, people actually messaged me asking to buy it. I opened a little online store with only five products and grew the brand through social media. 

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Seeing that all these paths are online, how do you think digital has played a role in what you do?

Digital is a way to tell your story to people beyond just the ones you interact with in person and I think it’s the reason I’m able to be an entrepreneur. It’s played a huge role in my life and I’m thankful to have grown up during this age.

Where do you see digital going for the future in terms of people who want to start their own businesses?

I see a trend where more and more people are going to become their own bosses because of digital. Digital has reduced the barriers to entry for starting businesses. You no longer need the large amounts of money for storefronts. Nowadays, you can start a business with only a couple hundred dollars, a laptop and internet connection. Digital has made it possible for anyone to become entrepreneurs. Going along with that, I think that social media has really changed the business space as well. In just a few short years, influencers have become just as important as magazines. It’s an entirely new way of advertising and bigger companies are starting to pay attention.

Do you have any favorite brands that you think really sets the example for digital?

Glossier for sure. They’ve hit the mark and really truly understand their target consumer. Everything they do in branding and business I think is genius.

matt chu picchu stephanie zheng milennial digital business 3

Quick-fire Questions:

Favorite social platform? Instagram will always be my favorite but lately I’ve been loving Snapchat. Instagram has become too posed and too edited.

Favorite products you’re using? I would have to say my favorite product right now is a face oil I made myself. It’s made with jojoba oil, pomegranate seed oil, avocado oil, blue chamomile oil, ylang yang oil, jasmine oil and vitamin E.  The face oil blend I’ve been using has been amazing at reducing dark spots and making my skin more glow-y looking.

Dream vacation spot? Hawaii, Bali or a private island in the Phillipines

Favorite Blogger? I love Carly Heitlinger from The College Prepster. She comes off as very intelligent, which I appreciate.

Favorite Artist? For contemporary artists, I love Tracey Emin and her neon light art. I also love Gustav Klimt and Jenny Holzer. One of my favorite artists I’ve discovered through social media is Katie Rodgers of Paper Fashion (@paperfashion). It’s hard to pick just one!

Skincare or Makeup? To quote Glossier: “Skin first, makeup second, smile always.” Skincare always comes before makeup.

For more, make sure you check out Jezie Jewelry,  Stephanie Zheng, and Atticus the Hedgie.

-Matt Chu

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