Brianne Helfrich is a college student, CEO, and podcast host. She is originally from Edmonton, Alberta, but she currently lives in Pittsburgh where she is completing a master’s program before attending medical school. During the pandemic, she started her clothing brand, Helfrich Collective.
Brianne and I recently connected on Instagram, and as soon as I heard a bit of her story, I knew that I wanted to have her on the blog. To say the least, she’s making things happen, and I admire that. Throughout our Q&A, Brianne tells it how it is about starting her business, finding balance, and creating positive habits.
Q: What inspired you to start your business, Helfrich Collective?
A: During the pandemic, I started going through my own mental health struggles. I needed something to look forward to and work hard on, but I also wanted to give back and raise awareness. So, I randomly decided to start my own clothing brand that donates to various charities for each collection.
Q: What prepared you to start your business?
A: Honestly, I had no preparation before starting HC. I kind of jumped into it and as a STEM major, I had no business background. Thankfully, I was able to surround myself with people who understood the business side of HC and they have helped guide me along the way. A big thing that I’m thankful for is that I was taught and brought up with a strong work ethic. Like any business, it takes a lot of work and isn’t an overnight success type of thing. It’s very easy to get discouraged when starting your own business, so my resiliency has definitely helped the process.
Q: How do you balance being a CEO and attending school?
A: To be honest, most of the time I don’t balance it very well. I want to do the best I can at everything, so sometimes that means overworking myself and pushing myself a bit too hard. It’s something I’m working on because I know it’s not healthy for me and leads me to insane burnout. I think a big thing for me is prioritizing and planning ahead. It helps alleviate my anxiety and helps with my time management when I know what’s coming up and can prepare ahead of time. Another big thing is asking for help whenever I need it. Sometimes I can delegate tasks or even get advice when I feel like I’m having a tough time balancing.
Q: What are some positive habits that you’ve created in your life?
A: Positive habits I’ve created in my life are the usual things like working out, eating what makes me feel good, saying positive affirmations, etc. But one big thing that has really helped transform my life was seeking help and going to therapy. This has made such a positive impact on how I view myself and the world. Learning that it’s okay to not be okay and having a safe outlet to talk/express my feelings has been so impactful.
Q: What does a day in your life look like?
A: My days are pretty similar during the week, but normally I wake up around 5 am. I’ll then head to the gym (it’s my favorite way to de-stress), workout for a little bit, then go home and get ready for the day. I then head off to clinicals and school. I am constantly working on Helfrich Collective, so I’ll send emails, prep for launches, contact manufacturers, etc. all throughout the day. Then when I get home from school, I normally do any homework I have, make some dinner/watch TV/facetime my family and friends, and go to bed early.
Q: What advice would you give other 20-somethings who want to start their own businesses?
A: Just start. You will always feel like you aren’t ready or not prepared enough, but you learn by doing. It’s normal to make mistakes, so take everything as a learning curve and grow from it. Just believe in yourself, work hard and you can achieve anything.