We had the good fortune of connecting with Kara Harshbarger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kara, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Twelve years ago, I had a baby and I was in the middle of a crisis: I wanted a job (I needed an income), and I wanted to use my adult brain, but I also couldn’t stand the idea of being in someone else’s office pushing someone else’s dream from nine in the morning until seven at night while my daughter spent her days growing up. I knew in order to have the balance I was so desperate for, I would need to own my own time. A friend of mine had listened to me agonize for months when she came up with the idea to invent a product together. I thought: “My brain doesn’t think like that.” I’ve since learned that brains are contortionists, and if I practice bending it a certain way, it will think like that.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My company is called By a Girl. I invent products I need and don’t already exist in the marketplace. A couple products I’ve invented are HemmingMyWay (adhesive snaps to add “buttons” to shirts or jackets, or “hem” pants for flats then simply unsnap for heels), Hand MD, an anti-aging skincare line formulated for the skin on your hands (which is different from the skin on your face), and The C Curl, a newly engineered eyelash curler. When I started, I didn’t realize that every product I invent is going to take the same amount of effort (i.e. there isn’t an easy or quick product to get into the marketplace). Knowing that, it’s vital that I choose a product idea that has a strong profit margin and a powerful visual before and after for social media marketing.
Owning your own business requires you to make a lot of decisions every day. When you realize that all of life dovetails on itself (i.e. all your past experiences and “failures” patchwork together to help you create the life you want), you are much less afraid of making the “wrong” choice because there isn’t one. All experience builds on itself so welcome all of it!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love spending a whole day at Paradise Cove in Malibu. It’s a beautiful beach with it’s own cafe and they allow you to bring your own bottle of prosecco or Rose on the sand. I always spend my birthday there! One of my favorite evenings is in Silverlake with a pre-dinner drink at the gorgeous Bar Stella before having dinner at Cafe Stella. When I have guests in town, we often do weekend brunch at Shutters on The Beach in Santa Monica or The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. The hike up to Griffith Park Observatory is an easy one and has great views from The Hollywood Sign all the way to the beach.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Both my parents raised me with the belief that I would always figure it out. When life didn’t take the turn I wanted, my dad always said, “It’s just a pebble in the road of life, Kara.” Instead of feeling sidelined (or worse, a failure) because something didn’t work out, believe that life is gently closing doors (or putting a pebble in your way) to keep you on the path you are supposed to be on.