Interview with Juliette Brindak

March 10, 2014
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Juliette Brindak is an American business woman and the founder and owner of a tween and teen socializing site, Miss O and Friends.

Brindak launched Miss O Friends when she was 16 years old and now her site is worth an estimated $30 million! Read her interview and know the secrets behind her success!

Q: Tell us something about yourself.
Juliette: I’m 24 years old, I live in New York City and have 2 Maltese dogs named Franny & Zooey (after my favorite J.D. Salinger book)

Q: What is the story behind Miss O and Friends?
Juliette: Miss O & Friends was inspired by drawings that I did when I was 10. I was with my family coming back from vacation when I started drawing these girls that I called ‘Cool Girls.’ My mom, Hermine, is a graphic designer so she took my drawings and transferred them onto the computer. My younger sister, Olivia (who is the real ‘Miss O’) also got involved and for a while it was pretty much just a hobby for my mom, sister and I. When Olivia turned 8, my parents had a birthday party for her where my mom made ‘Miss O-like’ characters for my sisters’ friends. She blew them up really big and mounted them so when the girls walked into our house, they saw characters that looked like them. They went crazy for them and kept talking about how much they loved them.

I was 13 at the time and still in middle school, while Olivia was 8 and was going to be entering middle school in a few years. Middle school is a really difficult time for young girls with so many new things going on; their bodies changing, cliques, boys, bullying, school work, parents, etc., and I wanted to create something for my sister and her friends to help them through these difficult years since there wasn’t anything like Miss O that existed. I created it for my sister and her friends… hence Miss O & Friends.

With the help of my parents, my mom being a graphic designer and my dad, Paul, having a background in business, I was able to officially launch the company in April 2005.

Q: Did you think about making it this big?
Juliette: Never.

Q: You are among the Top 5 Teen Entrepreneurs, how does it feel like?
Juliette: I’m not a teen anymore, but it has been such an incredible experience to be respected and taken seriously at such a young age.

Q: You recently had a TV debut ‘Million Dollar Intern’. Tell us something about it.
Juliette: It was my first time doing any sort of TV filming. I had done TV interviews before, but nothing for an actual TV show. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I was so exhausted! It was a really great experience though because I was able to actually make a difference in people’s lives and had a lot of fun while doing it.

Q: What was the most proudest/greatest moment for Miss O and Friends?

The Proctor & Gamble Company investing in 2008 and to-date is our largest single investor.

Reaching over 1 million unique visitors a month.

Every company I ever talked to always told me it was the “magic number” you needed to reach. Currently the site has over 3 million monthly unique visitors.

Q: What were the problems you have to face or any major setbacks? And how did you overcame it?
Juliette: We’ve had a lot of problems and setbacks. There have been times where we putting a lot of money and effort into something and it doesn’t bring us the results we thought we would get. We’ve been promised investment money and had it fall through… and even offer to be acquired and have had that fall through too. It’s always upsetting when things like this happen, but it forces us to keep trying, but trying differently. When something doesn’t go to plan or a deal falls through, it forces us to figure out a better way to do it.

Q: How much does the family and friends support have contributed in your success?
Juliette: More than I can even express. I work with my parents full time and they are such an incredible support system in every way possible. My sister and friends are always such cheerleaders for me and always there when I need encouragement and support. And my boyfriend who always believes in me and gives me unconditional love and support.

Q: Your company is now worth an estimated $30 million! Determination, “business acumen with creative flair” what else are the ingredients for a perfect success?
Juliette: Passion is the number one ingredient for success. I think that the only way something can become a success if the people who are behind it have the passion to make it one.

Q: What are some future updates regarding MissO?
Juliette: We are in the process of re-doing our website to make it more social and engaging for our users. I’m really excited about it because there will be more content and more ways to showcase your unique personalities as a member. It will still remain 100% safe, but just include a lot of new features!

Q: You were invited to take part in G20 Summit in 2012, how would you sum up this experience?
Juliette: It was such a cool experience. It was in Nice, France and it was all about creating an international dialogue on entrepreneurship. It was exciting to contribute to the development and growth of so many countries.
Q: What do you ultimately want to become?
Juliette: I love what I do now. I don’t have a specific plan but I’m just excited to see where it will take me.

Q: We think you life is just perfect but if you could still make some changes in it, what would you change.
Juliette: My life is definitely not perfect, no one’s life is, but that’s what makes life real. I think that everything happens for a reason and there isn’t once specific event that I would change (even the bad stuff). However, one thing I used to do was always try and please everyone around me. I would sacrifice my own happiness to make other people happy, when really I’d be miserable. I ended up not knowing what made me happy or how to deal with my emotions. I don’t do that anymore and I wish I had stopped doing it a long time ago because I think I would have gotten where I am today, both professionally and personally, a lot faster. But it’s all a journey and I learned a lot from that.

Q: What are your past times?
Juliette: I love cooking and reading cookbooks!It’s always really relaxing for me. I also love to read, run, do Pilates and watch my favorite TV shows. I love walking around New York City and exploring different neighborhoods, restaurants and shops. I’m also learning French right now. I’m going to Paris in February and really want to be able to communicate!

Q: If you have to give up Miss O for something, what would that be?
Juliette: Miss O has been a part of me since I was 10… I could never give it up.

Q: What was the best piece of advice ever received?
Juliette: My dad always tells me to keep an even keel. What can be the greatest and most exciting news one second, can easily change in the next second. You just never know what is going to happen and can’t get too excited or upset either way. Owning your own business is such a roller coaster ride and being overly emotional about ups and downs becomes too draining and exhausting to keep up with because as an entrepreneur there are a lot of both.

Q: What inspires you most?
Juliette: When I see the positive and meaningful impact that Miss O has on girls, it inspires and motivates me to do even more. It’s the Miss O users who inspire me, constantly.

Q: What message will you give to the youngsters who aspire to become entrepreneurs?
Juliette: Find a good team to support you. You can’t do it on your own and it’s important to work with people you trust, admire, look up to and who share your passion.

Q: Any message for our Pakistani readers.
It’s great to see Miss O spread throughout the world!!! I hope that what Miss O & Friends does and our mission to empower and encourage girls will resonate with you and something you can all love and support.

Rapid Fire:
Your prized possession (besides MissO ?): This gold and emerald ring that my mom gave me for my 18th birthday that was my Grand-mom’s. I’ve worn it every day since.
Craziest Wish: To visit every country in the world
Favorite book: I love the book I’m reading right now “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson
Greatest Strength: I’m very compassionate and my relationships with people are the most important thing to me.
Role Model: my sister, Olivia, who is 19

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