Not Taking No For an Answer: Kyle Smitley Founder of Barley & Birch

by / ⠀Entrepreneur Interviews / May 26, 2011

barley & BirchKyle Smitley, founder of Barley & Birch, found there was a huge gap in the apparel industry from what producers were saying about the clothes to what they were actually made of. She realized this huge market opportunity to create a product that was 100% organic and to do it right.

Without any experience in running a business or the clothing industry Kyle buckled down, made some mistakes and dove into the experience. Initially stores were reluctant to carry the line and sales were starting to fall short. So Kyle took to the blogosphere and started emailing bloggers about the brand and with offers for their readers. After a positive response from the bloggers stores started coming to Kyle to talk about carrying the clothing line.

The hard work and taking the leap seems to have worked out for her as Barley & Birch is on pace to do $2million in revenue this year all off of an original $10,000 loan. Listen to the full interview below to learn more about how Kyle took Barley & Birch from idea to a thriving organic clothing line.

Questions in the interview:

  • Where did the idea for Barley & Birch come from and how did you get started?
  • Did you start this in college?
  • Without experience in the apparel industry how did you know where to start?
  • Did you ever take on a mentor or did you work with different people all the time?
  • How did you market the brand in the early days? Did you sell to stores directly or were you only selling online?
  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge since starting Barly & Birch
  • What is 1 piece for young entrepreneurs today?
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