Interview with Melissa, Founder of Technigirl

Interview with Melissa, Founder of Technigirl

Interview by Terra Olsen

Tell me about yourself.

I’m a mom, engineer, and entrepreneur.  I grew up in Minnesota, and moved to Texas after I graduated college with my degree in electrical engineering (I needed to get out of the cold!).  I currently work full time as an engineer at a semiconductor company, while running my own business and being a mom to my little girl.  I started my business, Technigirl, this past spring.

Tell me about your company. 

Technigirl s a brand of girls’ clothing and an online retail shop.  In the shop I sell girls’ clothing of my own design (sizes 0-6X), and I also sell a few handpicked items by other manufacturers.  We bring empowering messages and cool, unique graphics to girls’ clothing.  In particular, we strive to encourage girls’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.

What inspired you to start Technigirl?

Technigirl Robot Shirt

I wasn’t happy with a lot of the girls’ clothing I was seeing as I shopped for my daughter.  I kept seeing cool clothes in the boys section, but girls were stuck with tshirts that featured purses and poodles.  I thought it was odd that no one seemed to think girls would like robots, cars, and rocket ships (when, in fact, many of them do).  In addition, large chain stores were selling shirts to young girls that said things like “allergic to algebra” (for the older girls), and “most likely to spend Daddy’s money when I grow up” (for the babies).  As a woman in engineering, I was really disturbed by these messages.  I wanted to put messages out there that would encourage girls to be proud of their intelligence, and help them to realize that they can do math and science just as well as boys. I also wanted to create clothes for girls that were as cool as the ones already out there for boys.

How did you go about starting your company?

I taught myself some graphic design skills (with the help of some webinars and YouTube videos), designed my shirts, and found someone to print them.  I also started an LLC and purchased my domain name, setup my website, and here I am!

Technigirl Doctor Onesie

What has been your biggest challenge (and/or sacrifice)?

My biggest challenge has been finding the time to put into my business that it really needs to thrive.  Since I also work full-time and am raising a     toddler, time is my biggest enemy right now.  I feel that I can’t put the time in that I need to grow the business.  I am hoping that as my daughter gets older, I will have a little more time to work on that.

What top three skills do you think an entrepreneur needs to be successful?

A willingness to take risks, persistence, and self-motivation.  Everything else can be learned.

Where do you want to take Technigirl in the future?

Technigirl Oscilloscope Onesie

I want it to become a go-to stop for moms who want to buy their girls cool, intelligent clothing.  I would like to get more involved with other organizations that have a similar mission (such as Girlstart), and donate time + business profits to them.

What advice would you give other aspiring women entrepreneurs?

I would say if you are thinking about starting a business, find a local organization that offers classes in basic business skills and entrepreneurship.  One example is BiGAustin here in Austin, TX.  A lot of the time, the classes are free (or at least very cheap), and you can learn a lot of the stuff you need to know to get started.  Some of these organizations also offer individual counseling on specific questions or issues you may have.  My second piece of advice is – go for it!  Find a way to make your dream happen, because it can if you are persistent.  Oftentimes, you are your own biggest obstacle. Get out of your own way, and your dream can become a reality.

Melissa with her daughter and husband

Please be sure to visit Technigirl‘s website and Facebook page.

Have you or someone you know started a business that we should feature on HYN? If so, please contact Terra at terra@haveyounerd.com and tell us about them.

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