Exclusive Interview with Bryn Carden – Founder of Styles for Smiles

Originally published on vizaca.com

Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist with a passion for real estate and design. Bryn Carden is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration.

Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles – a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.

Bryn Carden - young entrepreneur and philanthropist

Tell us about yourself?

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” Robert F. Kennedy

Living by these words, I set out each day with the mindset of never letting anyone leave my side without leaving happier. I was born in Houston Texas, the daughter of two fantastic parents, Mike and Lori Carden.

I tried about every sport growing up, realizing I don’t mix with any sport with a ball involved… eventually finding my niche as a cheerleader and track and field athlete. Early in high school, I began my own business, Styles for Smiles – selling bracelets to support the Smile Train Organization.

With the kindness of community members, I soon saw my bracelets on the arms of students and members of the community. It is an amazing feeling to connect with the stranger in Kroger as I explain that I am a young girl who started the foundation in which the bright blue bracelet they’re wearing supports.

I entered the fantastic world of the Miss Universe Organization by simply showing up my first time with a dress and heels… complete with training from… watching the pageants on my couch every time they aired. My first go-round was Miss Houston Teen USA, where I placed Third Runner-Up and became hooked.

It also gave me something to always work for, and keep myself focused and determined. After a few months and numerous hours of training, healthy eating, and prepping my body and mind, I went on to win Miss Kemah Teen USA. I was blessed with numerous opportunities to speak at elementary schools, public events, pageant workshops, and even promote my platform of finding one’s true confidence on the local radio.

It was when I began preparing for Miss Texas Teen USA that I TRULY found a passion for taking care of my mental and physical health by adopting a love for living a healthy lifestyle.

Combining my training with Arnold Vasquez, healthy alternatives, and a boost of proper nutrition, I soon began to see positive results from not only my physical well-being, but I had an increase in energy, livelihood, and all-around mood. All of these self-improvement tactics allowed me to go on to place First Runner-Up at Miss Texas Teen USA 2019.

At Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, I am an active member of Delta Gamma sorority, where I have led our chapter as a Wisewoman new member mentor, both Director of Family Relations and Director of Public Relations. My sorority sisters in Delta Gamma are the epitome of women with drive.

They inspire me to reach my maximum potential, as we all keep each other motivated while constantly forwarding one another podcasts, quotes of wisdom, and uplifting words. I am also involved in the Neeley Business School Mentorship Program, Riff Ram Reading Member, Vice President of the Real Estate Club, and Service Leader of the TCU Day of Service.

This past February, BF Hats was co-founded alongside my fantastic friend Francesca. Creating my second design brand, BF Hats donates a portion from every purchase to The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas – combining my love for others with fun style. 

But to me, leadership goes far beyond a title, instead, it is always taking the high road no matter who is taking it with you, which is what I strive to do. This year and always, I have placed emphasis on helping every incoming TCU student that I can feel welcome and as if they found their home away from home

Through touching everyone with a kind word of encouragement and support always, I have strived to lead by example through my strong ambition, passion for people, and generosity. 

What are some of the projects you are working on?

I am in the process of finalizing the launch of my first PDF stylebook, “Vitamin B,” a guide on navigating healthy living, beauty & wellness, and finding one’s true inner confidence. I have always been one to constantly jot down words that inspire me and list throughout the day, so formulating everything into a small book has been my goal for the past few years.

I am no expert writer, just a health and beauty guru who has done a few recipes, beauty, and health experiments. Another main focus of this book was to expand upon certain struggles that girls may encounter throughout their early teens through grade school and college years. These pages of encouragement and wisdom are the words that I wish I could have told myself and known as I was of that age. 

I have a few new lines planned for BF Hats to be launched in the upcoming month, as well. The organizations of Texas A&M Southern Darlings and TCU Delta Gamma have asked me to do large-scale hat orders, which I am SO excited to get going as well.

Where do you see yourself in the next 3 y

ears?

Driven. Motivated. Ambitious. This summer, my internship at Allie Beth Allman, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate in the heart of Dallas, has advanced my love of Real Estate to a new level. As I consider my career options, I constantly find myself becoming fascinated with real estate and the process of buying and selling a home. The team, culture, and leadership at Allie Beth is a complete representation of success through kindness and dedication to succeed.

In three years, I envision myself as a Dallas luxury real estate agent while leading an organization on the side that would help economically disadvantaged families purchase adequate housing. With a core message of providing joy and passion to the process of purchasing a home, I will impact both the economically disadvantaged market and families by putting my client’s needs first and making sure they are informed and ready with every decision. I also see myself continuing and expanding both of my self-made companies, Bryn’s Styles for Smiles and BF Hats, into something with an even greater impact.

What has been the most important part of your college journey so far?

Personal growth is influenced by the phenomenal women I surround myself with. College is a time for a young woman to find herself in the world and find what she stands for…I consider myself constantly learning, constantly growing. One of the best things about life is that your capacity for knowledge is endless… Finding my forever people that support, love, and care for me is so important.

But I also am thankful for them as not only do they encourage me, but they have given me the opportunity to positively encourage THEM. Your circle should want to see you win… your circle should constantly wish the best for you… The college has taught me the power of true friendship. 

What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever 

made?

The best “purchase” is not much of purchase – but deals with investing money. A savings account for a future investment property is what is held close to my heart. I consider it my “piggy bank” for a fun future project… as I said, keeping those long-term goals in mind gives you something to look forward to!

My most regretful purchase is one to think about… I try to consider every mistake more of a growing/learning decision… But airplane wifi comes to my mind. I don’t want to know the total spent after a year of traveling, and I thought I couldn’t take an hour-long wifi break. Pathetic.

What takes up too much of your time as a college stu

dent?

Prioritization has been key in making sure that certain tasks do not fulfil more time in my schedule than they should. If it won’t matter in five years, do not take more than five moments of stressing upon the matter. My productivity is maximized with structure. Trello, an organizational list-making, archiving, and prioritization website, is a key part of my daily routine.

I find my days to be the most productive when scheduling them out the night before, but having a go with a flow mentality still. All in all, I really can’t say that something takes up TOO much time. With studying, prioritization is key – do all you can, and what you cannot do – it is not the end of the world. Don’t spend every college hour studying. Take a study break and walk… fill your dorm with fresh flowers in between classes. Making time for self-care and mental health is just as important as scheduling time to write a paper.

What is the best advice you’ve ever rece

ived?

“You Give Life What you Give Energy to.”

Certainly, this relates to the large-scale ordeals in life, but also with putting energy into everyday things! When placing emphasis on gossip, negative talk, and negative thoughts, your cup of energy slips into a dwindling path to an empty life. Place your energy in what your heart needs.

This also relates to the world of social media that my generation (myself as well, yes) has become consumed with. I detox my energy from social media by phone detox, social media detox, and realizing that you cannot compare one’s life with a positive, perfectly put-together scroll of another’s social media profile.  

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accompli

shed?

My grandfather, “Din-Din,” filled his house full of books on every subject, highlighted and read from cover to cover. His brain was a living Wikipedia; he knew everything about anything. He was humble on top of it.

What drives you to keep going when it’s really t

ough?

Throughout all stages of life, I keep three vision goal boards: a weekly board, a vision board for the full year, and a long-term board. Hanging on my bedroom wall (not the most aesthetically pleasing – but they do the job), these keep me focused on the bigger picture for the week, year, and life. Relating to the well-known quote, “The secret to success is hidden in your daily routine,” keeping a goal-oriented mindset allows me to combat struggles that come with the roller coaster of life.

I find my comfort in my devotional. Time spent with the Lord reminds me to look forward… think of the bigger picture… and keep my eyes above the rough waters. He only throws those tough battles to those who can handle them. I promise YOU – YOU CAN!

How should people connect with you?

Visit my Instagram, @bryn_carden, to message me and connect with me! My email is another great way to connnect.