Lexi Austin is not your average 12-year-old. After a full day of school and extracurricular activities, she gets down to business — literally. Her clothing line, Confident Girls Inc., is designed to inspire confidence in girls of all shapes and sizes.
“I just feel like with my clothes, I want that to be a thing where there’s multiple sizes for each girl, so they can feel confident about what they’re wearing, and they can feel that it’s OK to be bigger or small or skinny — it’s OK to be them,” Lexi said. “I feel like negativity is so easily brought on, and if we just have a positive mindset and we’re just confident in who we are, I think we’ll be set for life.”
It’s no surprise that Lexi has entrepreneurial aspirations. Her mother, Veverly Austin, is the creator of Girl, Get Your Fight Back, Rock the Runway GR and her own clothing brand, Confident Wear.
“Confident Wear is my line, and that’s actually an adult clothing line for women,” Veverly Austin said. “It’s birthed from my business, Girl, Get Your Fight Back, and Confident Wear birthed Confident Girls. I have the adult version, and now she’s involved and more hands-on now to service the young ladies.”
Lexi doesn’t sit back and let her mom do all the heavy lifting. She’s just as involved with the expense reports as she is with choosing the merchandise.
“As I got older, I wanted to be more hands-on with the business and do more with it, like designs and selling products and doing bills and certain stuff like that,” Lexi said. “I took it up, and now I run it with my mom.”
“I feel like negativity is so easily brought on, and if we just have a positive mindset and we’re just confident in who we are, I think we’ll be set for life.”
Veverly added, “When Lexi got involved, she wanted to insert her own creative ideas and have her own products. She has her own store — we’re working on getting her own EIN (employer identification number) — she’s running it herself; she’s learning how to do her own books.”
The Confident Girls brand is what you might call “comfy cute,” featuring hoodies, cropped sweatshirts and T-shirt dresses. Lexi picks pieces she thinks will make teen girls feel not only confident, but comfortable, too.
“It’s what I feel is super cute and what girls really want to wear,” Lexi said. “Not just a T-shirt, but a crop top. Most girls wear crop tops; I know that makes them feel confident,” she continued. “Also with my sweatshirts, I want you to feel confident but also comfortable because no one wants to be wearing something stiff. I want you to be comfortable but also have confidence and style.”
The Confident Girls Inc. brand is more than cozy crop tops and tie-dye hoodie sets. Lexi puts out her very own podcast, “A Dose of Confidence with Lexi.” The show is centered around positive affirmations and self-empowerment, which Lexi practices in her own life.
“The point of it is to spread confidence and give the girls listening a boost in their day by speaking positive affirmations,” Lexi said. “‘You are beautiful,’ ‘you are smart,’ ‘you are important,’ ‘you are great at anything you do,’ ‘everything takes time.’”
Being a 12-year-old entrepreneur means learning life lessons, making tough decisions and experiencing the highs and lows of business ownership, and Veverly is excited to watch Lexi grow through this experience.
“Watching her observe and absorb me as I’ve been an entrepreneur now for nine years, to see her now walk into her own element and her own creativity — it’s been a real joy and honor to watch,” Veverly said. “Meshing together; throwing around ideas together; disagreeing and learning how to disagree; but even being able to teach her how to think about legacy and think long term and think beyond today; learning how to budget; learning how to pay her bills; learning what an expense sheet is — those have been great tools for me as a mom to know that she’s going to be pretty good and set for life.”
Lexi added, “This business has opened up my creativity, and it made me open to new ideas and it made me think more about my decisions and not just about what I like, but what other customers would like because I am selling it to them.”
Confident Girls Inc. is just the beginning for Lexi. She’s got plenty of time to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up, but one thing’s for sure: It’s going to be big.
“From having a business right now, I know I can have a bigger business that’s more global,” Lexi said. “I can do more stuff with other people — big names like Michelle Obama, all those big names out there. Right now, it’s online, but I want it to be in stores globally, and I just want it to be a well-known name where if I were to say, ‘Confident Girls Inc.,’ they’d say, ‘Oh yeah, I have one of those in my closet; it’s really cute, it’s comfortable, it makes me feel confident.’ I want it to just be well known.”
This story can be found in the July/August 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.