How a decision at 21 years old was the best risk entrepreneur Brittney Saunders has ever taken

How a decision at 21 years old was the best risk entrepreneur Brittney Saunders has ever taken

Welcome to our Business Edit, where I ask women I admire that have created amazing businesses to share their journey, advice and tips to inspire and motivate you on your own journey. In this edition, I am so excited to be chatting with entrepreneur Brittney Saunders about how a decision at 21 years old was the best risk she has ever taken and led her to become CEO and owner of multiple businesses, including her successful clothing brand FAYT.

Hi Brittney, Thanks so much for sitting down to chat today! Let's start with an intro, tell me all about yourself…
I would describe myself as a bit of a small town gal/a bit of a bogan if I’m being honest haha! I was born and raised in Newcastle where I still live now and I absolutely love it here. I have lived in Sydney, Brisbane & Melbourne and I’ve always found my way back home.  I’m 30 now and kicked off my social media career back in my late teens, so quite some time ago now! I discovered YouTube in high school and started posting videos on there, this was before influencers were even a thing and it was just a hobby of mine that I loved doing! I dropped out of high school because all I wanted to do was work and earn money and I kept making YouTube videos just for fun on the side! Over the years I kept that hobby going and YouTube started changing, it became monetised! So you could earn a few bucks here and there from the ads before and after your video. By the age of 21 I was working full time in an office job and still making the videos and it got to the point where I thought you know what, I’ll absolutely struggle but I think if I quit my job and gave it my all with these videos I might be able to make just enough to live off. 9 years later and it was the best risk I’ve ever taken in my entire life. 

There’s a lot to my story but to put it in a nutshell, my YouTube channel and social media platforms skyrocketed throughout my early 20s, I lived that oh so ‘glamorous’ life of being a full time influencer, was working with brands, getting sent on free trips, receiving all the free products and totally just working for myself! It all sounds amazing and to some it may be, but for me it wasn’t fulfilling and if I’m being honest I felt like I wasn’t serving much of a purpose. I’d always had a bit of a go-getter entrepreneurial spirit so in my mid 20’s I decided to start my own business which I called FAYT (fate), a women's clothing brand. Again, it was kind of one of those things I did on a whim and didn’t really think into the future with it, little did I know it would set the tone for the next chapter of my entire life and career! I’m now working full time as the CEO of FAYT and have been doing so ever since the brand launched. I've given up being an influencer, we’ve got 20-30 odd employees, a booming online business, 2 retail stores and we are about to open our third one this year in Brisbane!

I’ve definitely found my calling with being a business owner and a boss, I absolutely love what I do and what FAYT stands for as a brand, our mission is to set out and change the landscape in the women's fashion industry both via online and in store experiences and I truly think that even though we are a few years in, it’s really just the beginning for us!

Let's talk about your career journey so far, you have such an amazing story and so much knowledge and experience! How did you first start out?
As mentioned above, I started out back in the OG YouTube days! I gained so much experience and knowledge essentially marketing myself as a business to my online followers! It was from there that I kept the ball rolling with my career and it led me into business! I have learnt every single thing I know about running my own business on Google.

What led you to start your first business?
Believe it or not, FAYT wasn’t my first business, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I truly think it all started when I would set up a stall out the front of our house trying to sell my second hand things, I would've been 6 or 7 at the time. When I was 17 I had my own little spray tanning business, I had a room set up under my house and I’d do $15 spray tans for girls I knew in my area, severely undercharging myself! I also started doing makeup for formals and events both mobile and in my friends hair salon at the time! I guess business has always been with me, I just got better at it as I got older!

As CEO, founder and owner of multiple businesses, what advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business now or who are on their own journey?
This is such a big question to answer and I feel as though I could write a whole book on it! My advice would be to not get caught up in what everyone else around you is doing and to really focus on what it is that you want to achieve, we live in a world full of comparison and you can get that way with your business sometimes. On social media, like most things, owning a business can look like an absolute walk in the park, my advice to anyone wanting to start a business would be to be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your entire life and to remember that business isn’t a destination, it’s a never ending journey! You never get to the finish line, you just have to enjoy the entire thing, all the ups and all the downs (and trust me, there’s a lot of them haha). 

"The most rewarding part of  owning a clothing brand is our community and customer loyalty. Knowing that we are making a positive impact on the lives of women especially those who may have struggled when it comes to shopping for clothes in the past."

I can imagine no day is the same for you with a lot going on, how do you plan your time and prioritise your non-negotiables?
I actually always say, owning a business is being readily available to take on whatever that day is going to throw at you and you’re right, no two days are ever the same. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of amazing people on my team who make my life and job a whole lot easier!

Congratulations on opening your second FAYT store! Tell me about what inspired you to start your clothing label?
Thank you! We were so excited to open our second store down in Sydney and it has been such an amazing experience! We are opening our third store in Brisbane this year and at this point I feel as though we may as well hit every major city in the country! Again like I mentioned before, I started FAYT some time ago, I think I may have been one of the very first influencers in Australia to start a business so it wasn’t really a ‘thing’ back then like it is now. I am pretty random and spontaneous and had dabbled in way smaller ventures throughout my life so really FAYT was just another one of those ideas that came to me that I didn’t really put too much future thought into, it honestly just seemed like something I wanted to do at that time, I didn’t even think ‘how long will this business last?’ or ‘will I still be doing this in a year from now?’ - I was in my early to mid twenties so I think it came with my age that I wasn’t too much for a forward thinker at that time haha but hey, I’m so glad I went through with it and had no idea it would evolve into what it is now that’s for sure! 

What has been one of the biggest lessons you have learnt so far running a clothing brand?
Two things come to mind:

1. Listening to your customers
2. The importance of having the right people working for your company

What is the most rewarding part?
Our community and customer loyalty, knowing that we are making a positive impact on the lives of women especially those who may have struggled when it comes to shopping for clothes in the past. On the other end I find it really rewarding to have fostered a really awesome workplace for our employees who can show up every day to an environment that they feel happy in.

The FAYT range is stunning, coming into winter what are some of your favourite pieces that will be on rotation this season?
If there’s one thing we do well it’s the most luxe basics, especially our jeans! I’m a curvy girl with big old hips and a booty and I know just how impossible it is to find denim that not only fits but is comfy and I feel like we’ve absolutely nailed it. Our jeans are one of the styles we are famously known for so I am looking forward to bringing out our denim range this winter as well as our beautiful blazers and workwear that you can take from the office to the bar. 

What does a 'typical' (if there is one!) day in the life look like as the CEO?
It’s really not anything fancy! Our office hours are from 8-4 and you’ll find me there from Monday to Friday. Most of my job is spent working from my laptop and phone or I’ll be down in the warehouse chatting with our team. We have a lot of fun doing photoshoots and have also been having almost way too much fun making workplace TikToks in recent weeks!

Any future plans or exciting things in the works you can let us in on?
Yes, our Westfield Chermside store in Brisbane is opening this July which we can’t wait for, lots of spring and summer prints and then I’m hoping we can open a Melbourne store in 2024!

What are you reading or watching at the moment?
I’m not really one for trash TV but I just finished watching the newest season of Love Is Blind on Netflix, it’s my guilty pleasure! I’ve never been into reading books but I wish I was!

Are you doing any self development right now?
None at all but I’d honestly love to and probably should!

What is your favourite downtime and self care routine?
Spending time with my partner and dogs honestly! Just relaxing at home or going out for a nice dinner.

What is your energy/vibe/mantra in 2023?
I honestly find this question hard to answer! I definitely think I am in my hustle era that’s for sure! Work hard but also play hard? I think that’s how I’m feeling for 2023!

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Clever, fun and spontaneous!

What is something that people may be surprised to know about you?
I had over 20 jobs before the age of 21. I was on a mission to find something I loved doing, safe to say I never found it anywhere, turns out my destiny was working for myself. 

Where can we shop the FAYT range and connect on socials?
You can shop at on and in store at our current locations. You can find us on Instagram @faytlabel and TikTok at @fayt_the_label

Follow Brittney on Instagram @brittney_saunders

Thank you for sharing your journey, career and business advice and the amazing FAYT range with me today Britt. I can't wait to check out the new FAYT store in Brisbane soon! - Hayley x

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