There we were sitting next to Lady Gaga, Maria Shriver and Mary J. Blige. We kept thinking, "How did we get here?" It didn't make sense that two teenagers who loved fashion magazines and once explored fabric stores as a mere hobby, were in the company of women who truly personify what is means to be successful. It was a huge, defining moment for us because at that moment we weren't just two girls with a passion for fashion -- we were young entrepreneurs.
Now let's rewind! The idea behind our company Emi-Jay, Inc. came when we fell in love with headbands from our favorite show at the time, Gossip Girl, except they were way too expensive! Our moms drove us to LA's Fashion District to find similar ones but we found nothing. So we decided to make our own.
Grabbing every color of fabric we could find, we ran home to make what would soon become an Emi-Jay. From headbands to hair ties, we created accessories that we wanted and they soon became an instant hit amongst our peers.
Then a big turning point happened. Emily's mom told her friend and stylist, Chris McMillan, what we were doing. He asked for a simple black hair tie for his client, Jennifer Aniston, to wear at a movie premiere. We were overwhelmed that an A-list star would be wearing one of our designs, and then we were shocked when Marie Claire called us shortly after asking to feature our products in their magazine.
At this point, we were two 14-year-old girls who made hair ties in Julianne's kitchen with no business experience and no website. We decided to combine our nicknames and name our company "Emi-Jay." We then officially launched our website in 2009 and from there our business has continued to grow.
Now, as high school seniors, we cannot grasp the amount of success we've accomplished over the past four years. We sell to over 2,000 retailers including Nordstrom, have been featured in Oprah's O, The Oprah Magazine 12 times (we still cannot believe it!) and recently just partnered with Step Up Women's Network as a sponsor of their Young Luminaries Program helping teen girls prepare for their first paid internships.
Although we have made the transition from teenagers to young entrepreneurs, we are about to embark on the next big transition from high school seniors to college freshmen.
Even though we're unsure of where we will be attending this fall, we are anxious yet excited of the possibilities that lie ahead. Over the past four years we have learned how to speak to a room full of people and tell the story of our company. But nothing can really prepare us for the unknown world of college that awaits us.
We've been asked numerous times, "If you're CEOs of a multi-million dollar company, why are you going to college?" Our answer: Even though Emi-Jay has given us an invaluable work ethic and taught us so much, this is an experience we do not want to miss out on. Yes, we might be young entrepreneurs, but at the end of the day we're anxious teenagers ready to face the same intimidating transition from high school to college.