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Charleston Girl founder

elise testone loves charleston girl perfume

Kelly Gaskins


cat: Bella


President/Founder Charleston Girl

Philanthropy/Volunteer work

I always try to give back to the community that has supported me whenever I can. I have had the opportunity to sponsor local softball teams and that has been an amazing experience. These teams would not be possible if it were not for the support of local sponsors so it is gratifying to be able to help. I also think it is very important to help those interested in business through mentoring and speaking engagements. Starting a business from scratch is wonderful but it can also be intimidating, so I am always open to help anyone who needs advice whether it be students, to relatives to complete strangers. At the end of October I will be volunteering my time to speak at Charleston Southern University discussing the adventures and challenges of launching a small business and making it successful.

Personally, I am a huge animal lover and supporter of no kill efforts and I always donate quarterly to the Charleston Animal Society. I also attend many of their fundraising events. I adopted my cat Bella from the organization. The C.A.S is currently working to become a no-kill shelter so it is now more important than ever to financially support this wonderful organization.

I am an avid supporter of different charitable organizations through participation in different 5k runs. My favorites are the Dirty Girl 5k which supports the Bright Pink Foundation and the Boone Hall Running Scared 5k which supports the MUSC Children’s Hospital.

As president of the Cales Family Reunion Committee, I also volunteer a lot of my time annually to organizing my family’s reunion. I know this is not a charity but it is certainly a worthy cause to me. I never knew my grandfather (Carlie Cales) because he died unexpectedly in a tragic accident in 1983. Organizing this event really is therapeutic for me because I have learned so much about my grandfather and family in general that I would have never discovered otherwise. It is really uplifting to bring my family together in the spirit of community and honor our past. This year’s reunion on Oct. 5 saw 85 attendees.


Bachelors in Journalism-University of South Carolina

Did you see yourself being where you are today? Why?

No, but I always knew I wanted to be in control of my future and my success. I knew working for someone else would not be a long term thing for me.

How did you get to where you are today?

With an open mind, thick skin and desire to succeed.

What is your life philosophy?

I’ve been dying since the day I was born so I’ve gotta get to living while I can.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by our great country’s foundation built on the American Dream. You have the freedom to start your own business, work hard and experience the success of your efforts. I am a testament to that. I also want to leave a positive legacy for my family. Who knows? a hundred years from now, my great-great-great grandchildren could be wearing my fragrance, Charleston Girl.

Who is your mentor and why? That is a tough one. I would not say I have an active and official mentor but I do have a friend who has believed in me from the start. When others discouraged me and questioned why I wanted to launch a fragrance, this person told me to go for it and confirmed my belief that is was a great idea. I will never forget that moment sitting at the bar at T-Bone’s on Market discussing my business idea and thinking of names for the fragrance. That is honestly where the name Charleston Girl Perfume was first spoken. At every step of the process, that particular friend was always there to support me. It is so important to surround yourself with positive people who support you.

Best advice you have ever been given?

Believe you deserve success in your life. You really do, you know. Don’t give in to negative “self talk.” You may think you really don’t deserve to succeed in business. You just aren’t “that type.” It’s important that you believe you are deserving. This type of mindset can change your life.

What do you do to relax, hobbies?

For relaxation, I love to travel. I just returned from a road trip from Charleston to San Antonio. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed the pit stops along the way, especially in New Orleans. I love meeting unique characters on these trips because these people are really what make life interesting. A hobby of mine is also collecting pressed pennies; probably dorky but they are a fun reminder of where I’ve been.

Another hobby of mine is Zumba Fitness. I am a certified instructor and have been teaching for three years. Many of my students have been attending since I started and have become like family.

View the full article at the Moultrie News.