“It’s now or never!” Scarlett Teske is taking the leap to following her dream.
The Lola member, Scarlett Teske has taken the leap to build her own business, Young Gentry. She has leveraged her connections to help her transition be as smooth as possible. When she isn’t working you can find her cooking up something yummy to eat in the kitchen!
Location: Atlanta, GA
Age: 41 years
What I do: Co-Founder of Young Gentry, designer of scent profiles for our candles and mother of two.
Briefly describe who you are, what you do for work and for fun
I’m Scarlett, co-founder of the home fragrance brand Young Gentry. I’m a mother to Evelyn Scarlett, Stepmother to Jack & wife to David.
For fun, I tinker with new candle scent profiles. I also LOVE to cook. The process of getting a recipe ‘just right’ has a lot in common with getting a scent profile ‘just right’ in a candle or essential oil combo.
How did you land upon your professional path? Who or what inspired you into taking this path?
I spent 18+ years in corporate before starting Young Gentry with my sister Meg. I began as an assistant buyer up in Boston & New York (think: The Devil Wears Prada, but less glam). I worked my way up to buyer for coats & handbags for almost 150 stores across the Southeastern US.
After 9 years in retail, I transitioned into doing finance & capacity planning for a global digital marketing agency. I would still be there if it weren’t for my sister & the birth of my daughter.
My sister Meg and I had always tinkered with the idea of starting our own business but it wasn’t until Evelyn Scarlett was born that I thought, ‘it’s now or never.’
How has connection and collaboration been important in defining and growing your business? What have you been able to achieve that you couldn’t have done alone?
My time at the digital marketing agency was foundational to where I am today. It was the first time that I experienced the power of being part of a high performing team in a workplace.
My colleagues were this super passionate group of folks of all ages who lived everywhere from Gurgaon to Sydney to Munich, and the best part was that I was always learning from them.
I couldn’t have made the transition from ‘individual contributor’ to ‘leader’ without the trust and support of my former work family.
How do you define support and how do you ask for it? Do you ever struggle with asking for support?
There are many ways of defining support and the type I’ve been focussing on over the past year has been giving & receiving emotional support. I’ve carved out a little time every week to show support for colleagues, friends & family by checking in and letting them know I’m here to listen or lend a hand.
I’ll drop a ‘thinking of you’ text or write a quick check-in email. I don’t need or expect an answer. I just want to let that person know she’s cared for.
As for asking for support: I’m lucky on that front. I have a small group of close friends who I can be completely open & honest with. We’ve dealt with everything from job loss to infidelity to cancer together and I feel completely comfortable sending a ‘HELP’ text at any time of day/night.
When working or partnering with others in business, how do you communicate and how do you define and set your boundaries?
I put things in writing. Whether it’s a joint marketing effort or an artist collaboration, I work with my collaborator to recap the plan, the goals & the agreement for who shares what responsibilities. This isn’t about CYA. Rather, it’s a great tool for facilitating a conversation where we get super clear about what success looks like. We almost always discover that there were some mismatched assumptions and it heads off potential confusion down the line
How does collaborating and asking for help support your mental health and build your resilience?
I have a couple of very close entrepreneur friends who I will brainstorm with or ask for advice. I always walk away feeling lighter whenever we connect.
I remember a late night phone call with Bettina (founder of Chloe Kristyn) this past November. It was totally impromptu. We hopped on the phone and just threw up on one another about order fulfillment.
It’s incredibly therapeutic to have womxn in your life who are facing similar business challenges. You can explore creative solutions and leverage each other’s real world experience to get to those breakthrough moments together.
What defines a successful partnership? What elements are important to you when you work with or collaborate with others?
Honesty & Communication. The ability to say, “this thing isn’t going well… let’s look at it a different way.” 9 times out of 10, when I’ve agonized over having a ‘difficult conversation,’ I walked away wishing I’d had the conversation sooner.
What’s ahead for you and your business?
Growth. 2019 was about learning what our end consumer was looking for out of our assortment. 2020 was about stabilizing our operations so my partners and I could step back from the day-to-day. 2021 is about Growth.