Do you remember - the 21st night of September?
Because that's really where this story all begins. September 21st, 1990 little Chelsea was born into the world (thank you Earth, Wind + Fire for dedicating a whole song just to her birthday)! And she’s been an entrepreneur basically ever since. Her first business was called Groovy Girl Designs (you should see her lime green business cards with Curlz MT font!) when she was 7 years old. She made and sold glass bead bracelets - and let me tell you, they were a hit!
She’s made her way across the USA from growing up in small town Idaho to medium town Indiana for college where she studied Journalism Graphics. Then she was on to the Big Apple for five years and now you can find her walking the streets of our Nation's capital (and always searching for Olivia Pope). She got married to her college sweetheart in September 2019 and it was the most incredible day of her life yet!
She started 23&9 Creative her senior year of college as a resume shop on Etsy (it still lives!) and over the years it snowballed into branding and now website design! Something she never imagined she would find herself doing but loves more than anything. 23&9 is a way for Chelsea to connect with so many incredible #bossladies across the globe and help tell their story - show their passion and love and commitment and hard work they've put into their biz.
- In your own words what do you do?
I build bold websites for #bossladies that tell their story and give their businesses a beautiful and intuitive internet home that converts!
- How long have you been at it?
I started my business in 2012 as a resume shop on Etsy! Soon after, I dove into logo design then website design and for the past 3 years have solely focused on websites!
- What's your why?
I’ve always had a passion for helping people and telling stories! My mom taught me how to scrapbook basically when I was born and I’ve never stopped. Bringing someone's story to life through their website so they can connect with their audience and have a successful business brings me SO much joy!!
- What has been your most rewarding risk (also answer to - What has been a positive turning point for you in your business?)?
Launching my line of Squarespace Website Templates. I put a TON of work into them - every single detail was thought out and planned. Lots of late nights - I was SURE I had something.
I launched 3 designs a few years ago and they fell FLAT. I barely sold any (like.. 5 total, ever).
I was upset about it for about a year and frustrated it didn’t work, but I finally decided I needed to try again. I wanted to try and solve what I thought the problems were the first time and re-launch. So I put even MORE work in, re-launched them this January and had a huge response! I was floored and couldn’t be more grateful for every single purchase and client I get to work with because of the templates!
- What were the first things you did when starting out?
I sold resume designs! I was a senior in college and trying to make a little extra money before I got thrown into the real world. As a journalism graphics major, I was very obsessed with designing resumes. I had tons of friends ask me to design theirs at school so I thought “hey, why not try and sell these!”. When I started selling on Etsy there were 8 pages of “resume designs” (now there are 237!). Just this year I decided to take my resumes down from my shop. It was a sad day, but I feel so grateful for the journey they helped start!
- What were the hardest aspects of starting your own business & how did you overcome them?
Having a full time job (which I still have!) and the fact that I had NO idea what I was doing! It was (and still is) trial by error. At the beginning I felt like I had to have everything done perfectly to even start. The perfect emails, the perfect captions, the perfect offerings - that it had to be top notch in order to even put it out into the world. But I slowly realized that I could start somewhere and then learn and grow. Just getting my products out there was a huge step and then tweaking and perfecting as time went on. I still have to remind myself of this everyday!
- Where do you find support for your dream and how do you keep your creativity alive?
My husband, mom, family, the sweetest friends and the internet! I have met some incredible internet friends on instagram -I know that sounds creepy (#millenniallife?)- and I am so grateful for them!
- What advice do you have for women who are still struggling to find their style/niche?
For the longest time I felt like my designs had to look just like everyone else's to be “cool”. Hip, trendy, minimalistic - you know the ones. But that is the exact OPPOSITE of me as a person and I really resisted it for a while. But that style just wasn’t ME. It didn’t connect. I finally decided I needed to lean into who I am and my true style. And the second I did that everything changed for my business. My dream clients started emailing me saying how my style stood out and it was exactly what they were looking for. All of this to say, lean into who you are. Your style is exactly what someone else needs! Don’t be afraid to be different from the “norm”. I know we hear that all the time, but it’s SO TRUE.
- On your path to your current business, did you ever come across a moment where you doubted yourself? Sometimes we hit a bump in the road and we lose all faith in ourselves and our ability to create. What would you tell someone who may be in this spot right now?
Umm.. how about everyday?! I am constantly riding this wave of “OMG YES GO ME” and “WOW I am a complete failure I am terrible at this what have I gotten myself into.” I think it’s natural to feel all those feels. I try to let myself feel that way for a few minutes and then immediately create an actionable plan of how to stop it. What’s something new I can offer? What can I create? How can I better my services for my clients? I try to jump into the things that make me happy and realize all over again… I am meant to be here!
- Who is a boss babe that you look up to?
I really admire Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Her transparency about running her business is so refreshing. I also am a BIG Martha Stewart fan and also love Joanna Gaines and Jenna Kutcher.
1. IF YOU COULD EAT ONE FOOD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IT WOULD BE: Do Margaritas count?
2. THE BEST TITLE I HAVE IS:
c. (new!) Wife
d. Lady Boss
e. All of the Above
3. IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON DEAD OR ALIVE IT WOULD BE: Martha Stewart
4. MOST LIKELY TO BINGE WATCH:
a. The Bachelor
b. Gilmore Girls (x10000)
c. Law & Order
d. Fixer Upper
5. MY DRINK OF CHOICE IS:
6. ON MY DAYS OFF, THE FIRST THING I DO IS:
a. Go to the gym / clean the house
b. Sleep in
c. Bottomless mimosas at brunch
d. Check all social media
e. I try to do them all
7. MY GO-TO OUTFIT IS:
a. Yoga pants and a hoodie
b. Jeans and a tee
c. Anything from H&M
d. A dress & heels
9. I LOVE LISTENING TO:
b. Country Music
d. Gangster Rap
E. Other: all of the above
9. SOMEDAY I WANT TO: Swim with whale sharks!
10. I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF:
a. Public Speaking
e. Other: the dark!
Want to work with Chelsea and create an amazing website or upgrade your current site? Chelsea has given a code for all of our followers and blog readers, you can get 10% discount with the code “LETSCLICK”
Photography Credit: Lauren Louise Collective