It’s not easy to start a business. But some people do and the success they have is undeniable. Alyssa Wasko is one of those people. She started Donni Charm, a clothing brand that sells scarves and bandannas when she was in college and has never looked back. Her designs have graced the necks of the elite including blogger Zanita Whittington, Gigi Hadid, and Kendall Jenner to name a few. So where did she get the motivation and mental strength to start and run such a successful business?
Simple, she’s been doing it since she was in kindergarten.
Wasko has always had a logical, practical, entrepreneurial mind. When she was six years old and lived in Denver, she first realized her potential in terms of making money and running a business, believe it or not. A regular festival took place a couple blocks from her house and the roads were closed off. Everything sold inside the festival gates was expensive, according to her even “water was five or six dollars!”
As an alternative, Wasko and her dad set up a stall selling water at a cheaper price where festival-goers parked their car. As a result, they made thousands of dollars.
It was in finding that niche, that need that gave her the drive later on in life.
The initial makings of Donni Charm is a sad story. Whilst Wasko was in college, her father passed away and in order to cope, Wasko kept herself busy, and she did it without a business plan. But when she was on a break from college, she found herself with weeks of free time. To keep busy and to use the creativity she’d always had, she started making neck scarves for herself and her friends, adding angel wing charms to them. The scarves became popular with her friends so she continued to make them. Eventually, word spread around her college campus and she was hosting trunk sales and selling 200 scarves in 30 minutes!
Once Wasko realized how profitable the business could be, she started getting the scarves manufactured and sales just followed suit. She’s had to learn a lot on the way – there was definitely no business plan in sight for Donni Charm (which is named after her late father, Donald).
Another wonderful thing about Donni Charm as a brand is their philanthropic spirit. Since becoming an empowered college student with dreams of experience on her own CV, Wasko wanted to do the same for others. She has now started a campus ambassador program where college students learn about the brand, spread awareness and sell the products. They’re able to add experience and skills to their own CV as well as making money.
The important message to take away from the story of Alyssa Wasko and Donni Charm is Wasko’s ability see a promising business idea through, to grow on that initial success and to learn as she goes, finding out through trial and error how best to run a business.
Another important life lesson comes from the very beginnings of Donni Charm – to focus energy into positive endeavors when life deals you a bad card. Wasko could have easily become depressed at the loss of her father, but her productivity in that period after his death has led to the creation and growth of her amazing, mega-successful business. That’s something we can definitely all be inspired by.