Get ready to meet a high school student who does it all. Jillian Goldberg, CEO and founder of Valid Apparel, is going into her junior year of high school and runs Valid Apparel, WOW!! Also, 15 percent of the money she makes from Valid Apparel goes to Hope & Heroes and another 15 percent goes to Make-A-Wish. Check her out below and @shopvalidapparel
What exactly is Valid Apparel?
Valid Apparel is an online clothing store which sells shirts, sweatshirts, and hats designed by myself and my extremely talented friend who does graphic design, from which 30 percent of profits go to two charities concerning children’s medical treatment: Hope & Heroes and the Make-A-Wish foundation.
What inspired you to start Valid Apparel?
I despise shopping for everyday clothes. I am always confident in how I look when I’m going out for a special occasion, party, or event, and my favorite thing to get dressed for is undoubtedly a SoulCycle or Flywheel class (I’m addicted to Soul). But when I’m shopping for casual school/weekend clothes, it’s hard for me to find anything that I like. So I started to create simple designs that I knew I would, and now do, wear on a day-to-day basis. At the beginning, it was more for myself than anyone else; but I use the online platform to open it up to whoever else feels the same way I do about jean shorts, UGGs, and Brandy Melville. Many customers love to wear their shirts to exercise, which is not only understandable, but free marketing for me, as at leisure is still huge right now. Outfit questions and conversations are common in gym locker rooms and SoulCycle studios.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Sometimes I’ll be listening to a song, and I’ll hear a lyric and think to myself, “I’d love to wear that on a shirt.” Other times, the origin is more direct. For example, at the end of the summer I’ll be releasing a color pop collection that I derived from an artist whose work I saw in a gallery in Los Angeles. The artist took icons from history (Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, etc.) and had each one blowing a huge neon bubble gum bubble. I’m now working with colorless silhouettes of different figures in pop culture and adding a single bright accessory to each design that is somehow related to the individual, or completely random.
What is your favorite part about running Valid Apparel?
The donations. At the end of each month, I take percentages of my profits and contribute directly to Hope & Heroes and Make-A-Wish. The feeling is so amazing, especially when I hear stories of children involved with each organization. Before I started Valid Apparel, I met a child in Disney World who was on a trip there entirely backed by the Make-A-Wish foundation. It made me realize how easy it would be for me to contribute to experiences like these for many more children. I had always planned on being a philanthropic individual as I grew older, and getting involved with these foundations at an early point in my life makes running this store so rewarding.
What is the hardest part of running Valid Apparel?
During the school year, I often find myself stretched extremely thin among various activities and responsibilities, and Valid only adds to that workload. However, as opposed to studying for a chemistry test or outlining a social studies textbook, this is definitely one of the more enjoyable responsibilities I have.
What is it like to run a business while in high school?
It is definitely difficult to not be able to focus the maximum portion of my energy on running the business. When something is out of stock, for example, or if I have an urgent idea that I have to put off until I hand in an assignment or host a guest speaker with a club, I inevitably get frustrated while trying to balance the store with everything else going on in my life. But I also feel that while most of my classmates have little to do at this point with their futures, which is totally fine, I have a bit of a head start in the business world by gaining this first-hand experience.
What was your business breakthrough moment?
When I started getting texts and Instagram mentions from customers who had received their orders and loved their merchandise. I realized that running this store is something I truly enjoy.
What are you dreams for Valid Apparel?
When the new collection comes out in a few weeks, I’m going to start booking weekends to set up a Valid Apparel table/booth in locations with a lot of foot traffic. I’d like to reap in more donations in addition to more profits to reinvest in the business itself. Running an online store is not something I see myself doing for the rest of my life as my primary responsibility, but I would definitely keep Valid as a side occupation as I embark on my real career. Maybe one day, if I’m successful in passing on an entrepreneurial spirit to my own kids, they can have entry-level experience with a business of their own by taking over the responsibilities of the site.
Where do you go to school and what are you studying?
I’m still in high school — Syosset High School — and although I obviously have a schedule full of core classes, I take all business electives and I’m on the board of two business clubs at my school. This past weekend, I had my first college tour, which seems crazy as everything appears to be moving so quickly. I plan on attending an undergraduate business school.
What is your favorite thing to eat?
What is your guilty pleasure?
The Kardashians/Jenner’s. Their show, their Snapchats, their outfits…I don’t idolize any of them, except maybe Kendall, but I find them extremely entertaining, and would probably enter an intense stage of cardiac arrest if I ran into any one of them. FYI, this includes Scott
What is your binge watch?
I’m rewatching Gossip Girl. I’m very picky with TV shows, but loved all of these characters so much (except for Dan, I feel the need to clarify) and it’s summer, so I’m allowed to spend hours doing something that others might deem completely unproductive!
Describe yourself in one word.
Independent. (“I do what I do, and you do what you can do about it” – Lil Wayne, A Milli, 2008. Also, anything Blair Waldorf has ever said.)
How would your best friends describe you?
Witty, Drake-obsessed, bookworm, and speaks extremely fast.
What are you most excited for this summer/ fall?
In September, junior year starts, which I have mixed feelings about, but I’m going to a Drake concert Thursday night for the first time, all of my friends and my sister come home from camp next week, and I’m turning sixteen at the end of August. So I can’t complain!