WELD is the co-working space Jordan works out of in Nashville. He feels like it's been the best decision of his career since making the initial leap to self-employment. WELD is a special place where people can work in a community of like-minded people. It combines the best parts about having co-workers without having to actually rely on them to get projects done! ;-) Not only are WELDer's supportive of each other, but they are welcoming to their families and friends. It's really beautiful.
Jordan affectionately calls Chelsea Steele the "Queen of the Interns" at WELD. Jordan and Chelsea bonded quickly over their mutual love of alt comedy and the city of London. One evening, Jordan returned home and told me about "Lacroixs Over Boys," a phrase Chelsea had put on a t-shirt, and how LaCroix picked it up. Suddenly she got featured on Bloomberg Business, Business Insider and BuzzFeed. I needed to know more.
I am not naturally inclined to be a go-getting #girlboss. I often move with thoughtful trepidation when forming a new idea or concept. Because of this, I am fascinated by people who don't hesitate. I visited WELD one afternoon and chatted with Chelsea on the formation of the phrase, LaCroixs Over Boys and what success means to her. Read our conversation below.
Tell me more about the origin of the saying, "LaCroixs Over Boys?"
The phrase had been bouncing around in my head for a while, probably since May. Summertime rolled around and, in my house, LaCroix is a part of the family just like any of my roommates. If we're out grocery shopping or one of us makes a quick trip to Target, LaCroix is as essential as dish soap or toilet paper. I need LaCroix more than I need actual water.
My original intent was to make five shirts for me and my roommates. We took a picture one day for someone's birthday and a can of LaCroix was in the grass. On Instagram I made the caption LaCroixs Over Boys knowing I would go home and make the shirts. I wanted it out there and people, including LaCroix, responded really well to it. LaCroix was like, "This is awesome!" Once I put a picture of me wearing the shirt on Instagram, LaCroix requested to purchase some for their staff and also began using my hashtag.
You, as an average consumer of a product, have brought LaCroix a lot of exposer. Some companies understand if someone has a social presence let them influence their audience. How do you view the change of landscape in social media and marketing for companies?
The problem starts with companies that haven't adjusted and suddenly create a social media presence and don't know what to do with it. They don't know how to communicate because it is a totally different language; the way people maneuver around the internet or use a clever hashtag. Hashtags are like the catchy word in your friend group and we all want to be that person who creates it.
Celebrity endorsements are cool, but I think it is equally, or even more powerful, coming from the average person.
This is a good place to transition. I graduated college during the recession and I think it created fear of working independently in the hearts of some people during that time. There wasn't encouragement... or a vision that you could be successful working for yourself. I don't see that same fear in 21-year-olds today.
I think all of my friends assume if [a "normal" career] doesn't work out they can start their own business. I'm just trying to jump on board with where marketing is going. LaCroix regrammed my picture and that is the only reason things have gotten to where they are today. The phrase began as a joke, but it wound up resonating with people. I come from the mindset that there is room for everyone at the top and I appreciate the support LaCroix has given me. We're stronger when we lift things together.
Another strange phenomenon was the The Bloomberg article that featured your photo.
I think they just picked photos that had the most engagement. And there was an immediate spike in sales of my shirts afterwards. I want to ride the wave wherever this takes me!
What does success mean to you?
I think about this all of the time. I think in some ways, success when I was a high schooler was moving to a really trendy city, being a barista, having a really cool group of friends and riding a fixed-gear bike. Then I got to an age where I had all of those things and I'm successful for 17-year-old me, but now I'm 21 and what does success look like? I don't think success and happiness go hand-in-hand. I think succeeding is [happiness]. These shirts are succeeding, but I can't necessarily say "I succeeded."
I don't know if success has anything to do with jobs or money. There is freedom to create without boundaries when you don't put weight in the success of something.
Thank you, Chelsea for sharing your story with me!
Buy your very own LaCroixs Over Boys shirt here!