Entrepreneur encourages youth to step up, create their own success

Co-owners Chloe Brown (left) and Matt Rogers are living their dream. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Local resident Chloe Brown wants youth to know it’s possible to do what you love and love what you do.

With no financial help from family, friends, or the bank, Chloe Brown went from card gaming in high school to co-owning an incorporated company and two physical stores.

The 22-year-old knows how to create her own success story, and is encouraging unemployed youth to do the same.

She and co-owner Matt Rogers met two-and-a-half years ago at Mr Rogers’ store in Takapuna, when he decided to close shop and partner with her to create the web-based business Card Merchant.

“I had a shop, but I couldn’t compete with Chloe’s prices,” he jokes.

“I asked Chloe to start supplying us with her stock, and then when I sold the business, I approached Chloe about going online to create a website.”

That’s when business really kicked off for the two of them, and eventually provided the opportunity to lease 200sqm premises inside Pakuranga Plaza, as well as a smaller shop in Glenfield which opened in April this year.

“When we saw [the Pakuranga store], we thought there’s no way we’re going to be able to afford that,” says Ms Brown.

“It was a big risk, and terrifying at the time… you have to do your research, and do your homework, but at the end of the day, you have to trust your gut, and that’s what we did.”

Ms Brown says the business has been “a labour of love” from the beginning.

She always enjoyed card gaming as a hobby, but when attempts to find a part-time job proved unsuccessful in high school, she bought $100 of card stock and started onselling her collection to earn money for university – only to turn that into a business about a year ago.

“If you told me a year ago I would be here, I would have laughed,” she says.

“But I kept re-investing, and if you don’t take any money out [of the bank], you eventually get to this point.”

Ms Brown started the business in the same year she completed her double degree at the University of Auckland – a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Geography and Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

She credits her success to hard work, a few long hours and a genuine passion for what she’s doing. If she could give one piece of advice to today’s youth, Ms Brown says it would be to work the network.

“When your parents tell you to go to the mall and put your CV into every place, actually do it. Even if you don’t get a job, it will give you confidence,” she says.

“Networking is the biggest thing… and if you put in the effort, it is possible.”