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Being an entrepreneur and running your own company is no easy feat, especially if it’s a family business. Yet, the D’Amelio family, in a few short years, have managed to successfully create an empire from humble beginnings. What started out with their youngest daughter, Charli, posting TikTok videos that went viral in 2019 to now having their own brand of merchandise, shoe label, and skincare — securing collaborations with companies such as Prada and Dunkin’ Donuts. I caught up with the D’Amelios on the eve of their third season launch of Hulu’s The D’Amelio Show to find out what their secrets are to success.
Whether it’s searching for a mentor or getting help with your mental wellbeing, putting up your hand and seeking help from an expert is non-negotiable. “I am a great mom, but I don’t even try to be Charli and Dixie’s manager,” says Heidi D’Amelio in our interview. “That’s why we have appointed a team of people to help us with the business.” While the D’Amelios are hands-on when it comes to designing and marketing their footwear label, they also pulled in a head designer, Lauren Dicicco, to oversee the creation of the collection.
In the third season of their reality TV show, Dixie opens up about her mental health struggles. Living their lives in the limelight and on social media from a young age isn’t easy. So, how do they cope with negative comments online? “I am a huge viewer of social media and spend a lot of time on TikTok and Instagram. When I see negative comments on one of my videos, I now try not to take it to heart, which I did at first,” says Dixie.
Listen to your customers
When it comes to creating brands, you have to have a good understanding of what your consumer wants — and launching the D’Amelio Footwear brand was no different. “You don’t really go online to buy a pair of shoes if you don’t know they are going to work for you. With our shoe brand, it has been really interesting to see what the feedback is, and that’s why we did a pop-up so people could try on the shoes and we met our customers. During Covid, not being able to meet any fans was definitely a challenge,” says Charli.
Communication is key when it comes to launching any successful business, especially if it’s a family business. Keeping all members of your family happy and unified is a full-time job in itself — but when your kids are also a part of your family company and are trying to navigate their newfound fame, this adds another layer of complexity. “We can’t afford for them not to be speaking,” says Marc, Charli and Dixe’s dad, in season three of The D’Amelio show. But what if one of you is having a bad day or doesn’t want to turn up to a work commitment? “That’s why we created D’Amelio Brands, a portfolio of companies that allows each of us to work together on projects that we want to be involved in,” Marc shares with me.
“When we are doing things with so many people involved, you think it’s not just about me, it’s not just about me posting TikTok’s in my room, there are so many people putting so much hard work into things,” adds Dixie.
Stopping to assess where you’re going and reflecting on where you’ve come from will help any entrepreneur to become a better leader and business person. With the D’Amelio family, their rise to fame and success really did happen overnight. “Things have moved so quickly since all of this started — it’s hard to grasp,” says Charli.
Most of us business owners are faced with imposter syndrome. Being just 15 when Charli skyrocketed into her successful career, it’s a wonder how she deals with it. “Meeting a lot of people who have been supportive of me has been helpful. Certain parts of my career, like Dancing With The Stars, that was something that I felt people couldn’t really take away from me because I know how hard I worked to get that result.”
“Sometimes, when people just hire you for your name, it’s really easy to think, well, maybe I don’t deserve this because anyone could be doing this. But the things that I am truly proud of in my career are the things that I put so much time and energy into,” Charli reveals. “You need to take time to readjust and reflect,” adds Dixie.
Have a great team
Behind every successful brand or entrepreneur, there is always a great team and with the D’Amelio family, this is no different. The family acknowledges their team members on their TV show and features them on their associated websites. From having a great PR person and manager to designers, the family has curated a collection of go-to people to help them on their career journey and for you as an entrepreneur, this should be no different. Having a team in place also keeps you all accountable.
“When we are doing things with so many people involved, you think it’s not just about me, it’s not just about me posting TikTok’s in my room, there are so many people putting so much hard work into things,” says Dixie. “With such a strong team behind us with our shoe brand, working so hard, something we have worked on from start to finish now being in the world has been really fun. Yet we are still learning, and my parents are still learning, and we are all in this together,” Charli concludes.