ELANA JOELLE HENDLER, 27

EJH Brand, designer and

manufacturer of candles,

stationery and pillows sold

to retailers, Los Angeles

EMPLOYEES: One

FINANCIALS: Growing rapidly.

What led you to start your own company?

I was in a transition period in my life and felt deeply compelled to make a bold move and really see what I was made of. I wanted to own my own business, utilize my varied talents and create a fresh perspective on luxury branding for the next generation of design-savvy consumers.

Where did you get the startup money?

I invested all my savings and sold a few personal items to scrape together my first round of capital. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I’m so glad I did it.

What was the biggest challenge?

Where to start? I didn’t go to business school and had zero product development and manufacturing experience. To create and launch four different product lines on my own at the same time having never done that before was quite the challenge.

What was the most important lesson you learned?

You define your potential. Period. I’ve learned not to be afraid to shoot for the top. EJH Brand’s first client was Hallmark. When their buyer showed interest, we created a new collection of candles that didn’t exist for a demographic we weren’t originally targeting. The lesson learned is that you create your own opportunities.

How many hours a day do you put in?

I’m always working or thinking about work. When steering your own ship, business hours do not apply.

Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers or meet with clients and investors?

I think some people are a bit surprised when they meet me and realize I’m the driving force behind the success of this brand. This was especially true when I started the company as an energetic and optimistic 24-year-old with no experience.

Could you ever work for someone else?

No, not in the conventional sense as an employee. I do, however, love collaborations and partnerships. I love branding and design, and am always excited when an opportunity presents itself to partner with another lifestyle brand or hospitality design firm. I also think I would really enjoy consulting.

What do you do to relax?

After a long day of work, I really crave the simple leisurely pleasures I can enjoy at home. Nothing beats a good face mask and a bubble bath. I also love to curl up with a good book or take beach walks near my home in Venice.

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