Every once in a while, we stumble across an idea, story, product or a person that we just have share with our readers. Kate Pollard, co-founder and design queen at Girls Rule is one of them. A reader tipped us off to Kate and her amazing business, and we wanted to share her story – not only because it’s inspiring – but also because she has some great gift ideas for you last-minute holiday shoppers. And we’d love for you to support her, her business, and the charities she holds dear.
Kate is 10 – going on 11-years old – and in her short life, she has overcome Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) and started her own web site/apparel business. She started her business with just a “sketch, a passion for living and a belief that girls should live great lives,” as she says on her web site. And she wants girls everywhere to know what life has to offer and what they have to offer in their life.
The following is a quick Q&A with this budding smarty, and we invite you to get to know Kate and her business Girls Rule.
To start, the driving purpose behind Girls Rule is to build a Girls Rule Foundation to raise lots of money to help children with chronic diseases and their families. You can help by purchasing Kate’s clever T-shirts. “Once we scrape together enough money to start a foundation, we’ll have a place for our visitors to give money in big chunks so we can really start helping people,” Kate says on her site. “Once the foundation is established, it will be tax deductible and we will have a contribution link on the site to make it easy for you to give all the money you want towards making a difference in the world.”
Tell us about your story and how you were inspired to start this web site?
It all started with a doodle drawing that I did on a chalkboard and my dad thought it was great. We started talking about how it would look good on a T-shirt and the idea of selling them to raise money for charity just came up. Then it was my dad’s idea to sell them on a web site and he actually put that together for me.
Why did you want to focus on the power girls have vs. power that girls and boys have?
I wanted to focus on girls and girl power because I’m a girl. And there are many inspiring girls and women in the world.
Did you have previous web experience, or did you learn it on the job?
I don’t really have web experience – that’s all my dad.
Do you manage this site by yourself or do you have others working for/with you?
My dad totally works for me! But I had a lot of input on the site.
How many hours/week do you spend on your site, and how do you organize your time?
The site really doesn’t take up a lot of extra time unless we get orders to fill. Then I help my dad get the right size and packaged for mailing.
Who makes the products you sell?
We’re using Hanes and Bella T-shirts for girls and women’s sizes – and we use a local print shop.
How has business been since you launched?
We’re not operating on a large scale – just when people find out about us and want to buy a shirt. Maybe some day we’ll be bigger.
What has been the greatest challenge with this site, and what has been your greatest reward?
The greatest reward is just pride, I guess, for doing it. The greatest challenge is just lack of money to let people know about my site and the shirts.
What other activities do you do after school and on the weekends?
I really just play outside a lot with my friends. I enjoy horseback riding and I love art. I’m planning to take some lessons soon.
What are you hoping to do as a full-time job after college, and will it be related to web sites/Internet?
I’m only 11, give me a break. I’m not thinking about life after college yet. I’ve got to get through 5th grade first.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA, affects approximately 50,000 children in the United States. Nearly 300,000 children in the United States have some sort of arthritis. Arthritis can be short-term — lasting for just a few weeks or months, then going away forever — or it can be chronic and last for months or years. In rare cases, it can last a lifetime.
Are you completely free of Juvenile Arthritis, and if not, how do you manage it?I am in remission from JRA right now because of the medicine I take. I don’t really have any symptoms right now, but in the past when I have had a flare up, I’ve gone to occupational therapy for my hands. When that happens, I work with putty and clay, I use a heating pad if I need to and take extra medicine. Mostly, I just keep going – staying active helps.
What advice can you give other girls your age?
Smile and just be yourself.
What advice can you give to moms who have daughters your age?
Be sure to take time to listen and spend time with them.
What advice can you give moms/girls who want to start their own business?
If I can do it, anyone can. Just have a good idea.
Wow, I am humbled. Kate, you truly are an inspiration to other young girls not to mention the moms who read Triad Moms on Main. Thanks for sharing your story with us, and we wish you the best of luck.
Kate is looking for stories on “great girls” and great ways girls in our community give back. If you can contribute a story, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.