SoFlo Shakers: Alexa Carlin
Do you ever think back on what you were doing when you were 17? Thanks to Timehop and Facebook memories, I am constantly being reminded of what I was doing at that age. I had just moved to Florida from Baltimore, Maryland and it was my first time living on my own. That being said, my focus was on the party aspect of life and taking advantage of my new found freedom - not much else.
Alexa Carlin on the other hand ... At 17, she had founded her first company. She was designing jewelry for an L.A. based fashion company under her own label AND was donating a portion of the proceeds to help build schools in Africa. It was that early on that Alexa became passionate about making a difference in the lives of others.
Fast forward a few years to 2011 when she founded the inspirational blog Hello Perfect. It's mission - to promote self-love in girls and women. Hello Perfect then led to the the creation of the Women Empower Expo, founded in 2016. Through the Women Empower Expo, Alexa created a platform for women entrepreneurs to gain support, find funding and meet other like minded women.
Today, Alexa is a nationally renowned public speaker who travels the world speaking on the topics of entrepreneurship, authentic leadership, women's empowerment and overcoming obstacles. We had the chance to chat with Alexa about how she became the Boss Babe that she is today. Check out what she had to say!
FlipperSplash: I've been lucky enough to hear you speak, for those that haven't, can you tell them why you started WEX?
Alexa Carlin: I started my first company when I was 17 years old designing jewelry for the L.A. based fashion company OmniPeace and donating a percentage of proceeds to help them build schools in Africa. This was my first dive into entrepreneurship and I fell in love with the process of turning an idea into reality.
From there I started a blog in college called Hello Perfect which was to help instill confidence in young women and garnered the support from Mark Cuban, Steve Madden, Shaq, and Rebecca Minkoff among others.
When I was growing this blog, just a few months before college graduation, I had a near-death experience where my body went into septic shock and I was induced into a medical-coma given a 1% chance of living. This experience changed my life forever as I now deal with a chronic autoimmune disease. While this experience brought on years of challenges and hardship, it also led me to starting to share my story as a public speaker. The more vulnerable and authentic I was, the more people could relate to me. I saw how your story can truly change people’s lives.
I was hosting small events at the time and that led into the inspiration behind Women Empower Expo (WEX), my current company. As a public speaker I saw a big disconnect among women and I wanted to create a large event that brought diverse women together from different industries for the purpose of collaboration over competition as I truly believe this is the way to achieve positive change and success.
Within the first year, in 2016, I grew WEX to become the largest event for female leaders and entrepreneurs in South Florida and Washington D.C. and we are now expanding to a 3rd city in 2019.
FS: What is your favorite part of the WEX events?
AC: Meeting everyone! I absolutely thrive off of the energy at WEX. It is unlike any experience or event i've ever been to. Everyone is so open to meeting new people, sharing ideas and supporting one another. It truly is something everyone should experience. I just love connecting with people to share a hug, a story or even a selfie. These in person connections go a long way when looking to build your network and dreams.
FS: How has social media helped your incredible business?
AC: It has helped me connect with so many incredible individuals from all over the world. My first event with WEX I spent less than $200 on marketing and we had close to 2,000 people in attendance. This is all due to the power of social media. Social media has also allowed me to reach more people spreading my message and intent behind my ventures.
FS: Do you have a routine that helps you stay successful on social media?
AC: Yes and no. For WEX- we create a weekly content calendar that helps us manage our different platforms and stay active and engaged.
For my personal- I tend to just post what i'm feeling and thinking in the moment. Also, I'll have to admit I do have a slight addiction to Instagram so I am ALWAYS posting on IG stories and on my personal IG just because I love it. I love the platform, interacting and engaging with my community, and I love being able to express my thoughts on it.
Check out Alexa's Instagram here!
FS: How long have you lived in South Florida? Likes/dislikes?
AC: I was born here. The only time I didn't live in South Florida was when I went to college at the University of Florida and then after college I lived in NYC for about a year.
Likes- it feels like home. The warm weather.
Dislikes- how everyone wears sandals and beach clothes out (I used to work in fashion so this is always cringe-worthy to me lol). Humidity! Also- i'm a big nature buff and love being in nature and surrounded by mountains so this is definitely a dislike for FL since it's all flat land.
FS: Do you have 3 bucket list items that you want to share?
Try the digital nomad lifestyle for 6 months- year
Write a book and get it published
Have Sara Blakely speak at a future WEX!
FS: If you could pick one place to travel to this year, where would it be?
AC: Bali has been on my list for forever!
FS: What do you like to do in your free time? (If you have any ...)
AC: haha... I rarely have free time but some things I do enjoy that are not work oriented are hiking, taking photos, reading, traveling, exploring local shops and cafes and journaling.
Just for fun ...
I have a weakness for ... sweets!
Something people get wrong about me is .... I have it all figured out. I don't, i'm just learning as I go! (and you should too!) I always say I fear regret more than I fear failure so today is the day you should get up and go do the things you love.
I can't believe I once ... tried to give up coffee!
My mantra is ... go for it.