Nearly three years ago, Lowcountry native Kelly Gaskins made a bold move. She quit her job in TV news, moved back in with her parents, and had no steady income.
“I was working during the heart of the economic downturn. The economy tanking added to a lot of tension in the work place. Jobs were cut, co-workers were laid off,” said Charleston Girl founder, Kelly Gaskins. “Anchors that had been working for the station for years were getting laid off. I felt very disposable and undervalued as an employee.”
She decided the only way to have complete control over future was to build a successful company from the ground up—the only problem was she didn’t have the slightest clue where to begin.
“Forming any business for the first time can be difficult and intimidating. It is simply a matter of having the courage to jump in head first with an open mind, thick skin, and desire to succeed,” said Kelly. “I spent a lot of time in my local library and a lot of time on the phone talking with chemists and other fragrance experts. I also visited my local business chapters like SCORE and SBA. They were helpful in laying out the steps to formalizing a business.”
Because of her love for The Holy City and all things sweet and fruity, she bottled the two into a sultry fragrance simply called ‘Charleston Girl.’
“The name ‘Charleston Girl’ just made sense to me and stems from the beautiful southern belle charm found only in Charleston.” said Kelly. “I began to do market research and learn the process of designing and creating a fragrance. It took me about a year to do this.”
In just two years, her hard work paid off. With the launch of her fragrance website, she’s made fans all over the world, including Brazil, the Netherlands, Chile — and, of course, the U.S. to name a few. Her perfume is now in more than 70 stores in South Carolina. She’s also created a celebrity fan base. Show host and model, Vanessa Lachey, has been seen sporting her own bottle of Charleston Girl — as well as actress Jennie Garth. Recently, the wife of country music star, Darius Rucker, was spotted with her very first bottle of the “unofficial scent of the Holy City.”
Kelly has become an inspiration for young women, who strive to work hard and see their passion bloom into a thriving business.
“My advice to young entrepreneurs in the making is to research your idea to ensure there is a market for it, and that someone isn’t already doing it. Have a business plan ready so you can have an idea of what to expect,” said Kelly. “Take the time to get the legal side of things worked out (i.e. patent, trademark, etc), because there will be people that try to capitalize on your idea. Make sure you are passionate about what you want to do and have the three qualities: open mind, thick skin and desire to succeed. That’s a recipe for success right there.”
As her business continues to grow, Kelly is quickly looking to the future and expanding the brand.
“Right now I am working on a fragrance gift set that will feature two new items along with the perfume. The gift set will include lotion, shower gel and the fragrance. It is going to be awesome and smell amazing,” said Kelly.
About Charleston Girl Perfume:
The 1.7oz bottle retails online at www.CharlestonGirlPerfume.com for $44.99. It is also sold locally in select stores.
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