Our writer Shirley Ju sat down with Christina Rogers aka Chriss Zoe to discuss how she went from being a server to being the entrepreneur of her own company. Her journey is an inspirational one, so check out the Q&A we conducted with her below if you have plans to start your own business, but you’re unsure if you’re ready to make the leap into the often unpredictable world of being an entrepreneur.
SJ: Can you talk about being an entrepreneur and your journey thus far?
CZ: It’s been one hell of a ride. I started my business with $200 – no direction, no investors, no nothing- so I had to figure everything out myself. But it’s been great, because I’ve been able to support myself, my family, inspire people around the world, so it’s been awesome.
SJ: At what point did you transition your career?
CZ: Funny thing, I started my store in 2014 because I got laid off as a songwriter. So they stopped paying me. I was like what am I going to do! So I started my own business. Here we are 5 years later.
SJ: They f*cked up! Can you talk about starting your own fashion brand and the difficulties that you faced, but learned to overcome?
CZ: Um, difficulties? Probably staying focused on it, which is not very hard, but when you get kind of side tracked with life and other brands — there’s so many brands out there — so it’s hard to kind of stay creative and motivated.
SJ: That was one of my questions, how did you remain optimistic during your difficulties!
CZ: I do a lot of like spiritual cleansing. I make sure my energy is positive, for the most part anyway. I’ve learned that helps a lot when it comes to staying motivated and focused, overcoming hard things in the business.
SJ: Talk about the importance of making clothes for women of all shapes + sizes.
CZ: It’s very important because real women have real issues and real bodies that fluctuate. We get fatter, skinnier — we do a lot. I say fatness like I be like I’m fat. And it’s not a bad thing! But yeah women fluctuate all through life. I feel like we have to keep buying clothes to fit our little bodies, or thicker bodies or whatever the case may be. But these clothes are stretchy, and you can like keep it for a very long time. I felt like that was important. The comfort level of the clothing is very important. And I used to be a songwriter, so I used to be in the studio all the time. I wanted to be cute, but I also wanted to be comfortable. So, I felt like a lot of the clothes I have caters to that.
SJ: How did you teach yourself the business?
CZ: My favorite place to be is the bookstore.
SJ: That’s inspiring, I need to read more.
CZ: So whenever someone is like “Hey you want to hang out today?” I’m like yeah, let’s go to the bookstore. Cause I just love being there, all that information. You can just grab a book and learn something. You know, I didn’t go to college, so I’m like it’s right there at my fingertips! If I want to learn it, I just apply myself.
SJ: What’re some books that helped you?
CZ: Ooh, “Contagious”, the author’s name is I think John Berger? “Contagious” helped me, “The Secret” of course. I read a lot of self-help books, but not gonna talk about those.
SJ: I feel like a lot of the people I work with in the music industry have read the book “How to Be a Manager”, did you read books like that that helped you?
CZ: I started reading a book about management, I guess, because I kinda wanted to – I didn’t want to be an artist and I was like, knew that I wanted to be in music. So I thought, maybe I could manage artists or manage myself, I don’t know. It got boring so I just uhh next.
SJ: What advice do you have for an aspiring Chriss Zoe?
CZ: I would say always stay positive, that’s the most important thing. Because anything can happen to you, it’s just how you choose to deal with it. And a lot of people that things happen to them and not for them. What we have to understand is that the universe takes care of us. And for the most part, we think we know everything and we know nothing. Not even the smartest person in the world knows everything. So the universe really takes care of us, makes sure that we’re good, always on the right path, but we have to believe and trust it. We have to always stay one with ourselves. So staying positive is the best advice I can give.
SJ: Now that you have established your own brand and your place in fashion, what’re your goals? What’s next for you?
CZ: My goal is for the store to continue to grow, and to expand. Also, I want to step into motivational speaking. I want to inspire, motivate, you know that little thing. Continue to write books, I have a booklet called How I Became My Own Business, also Shortcuts to E-Commerce, so I want to keep writing books, booklets, informative books, novels, all that, like speaking engagements. So it doesn’t stop here girl. It’s just getting started.
SJ: How many entrepreneurial books do you have out now?
CZ: Yes. Well actually, I lied, I have 3! One I published in 2013, I kind of just put it on the backburner. But it’s a novel, and I like the story. I think it’s cool. It’s about settling in.
SJ: Where can we get those books?
CZ: Amazon, Selling-In, and my website shopchrisszoe.com. The booklets are on there.
SJ: Cool! Anything else you want to let us know?
CZ: No! Just the booklet and the store. I have a few things coming. I have this music blog, “Before We Hit.” You remember Top 10 Countdowns? Like MTV? So I’m looking to bring that back for IG TV. So I’m working on that right now.