How Adam Rippon and Jessica Iclisoy Made ItAnd MillionsOn Their Own – Forbes

Posted: October 28, 2019 at 10:46 pm


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Jessica IIclisoy, founder of California Baby, and Adam Rippon, Olympic figure skater, at the 2019 ... [+] Forbes Under 30 Summit in Detroit.

Adam Rippon is a champion figure skater; hes competed all over the worldfrom the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to Turin, Italy. Hes also won Dancing with the Stars and just published a memoir. Jessica Iclisoy is a businesswoman; she founded California Baby, a $115-million-in-sales company pumping out more than 90 organic baby products to places like Whole Foods and Target, most of them made with products she grows on her farm.

On the surface, these two dont have all that much in common. But their stories are surprisingly similar. Both Rippon and Iclisoy are completely self-made. They came from nothing to build an Olympic career and $310 million fortune, respectively, and learned to trust themselves along the way.

When Rippon first started seriously training, he went out to California with only 80 euros in his pocket (he had just been on a trip). He was staying in his coachs basement and stealing apple and tea from his gym.

I was poor, but I wasnt dead; I wanted that nice tea, he joked on stage at the Under 30 Summit in Detroit, where he was on stage with Iclisoy and Forbes staff writer Chloe Sorvino.

All the while his coachwho cosigned the lease for his Jetta, on which Rippon splurged on a radio and power windows even though Rippon couldnt afford to pay himand his single mom cheered him on.

She was always pushing me when I didnt believe in myself and celebrated with me when things werent going well, he said.

Iclisoy started in her own kitchen. It was 1990, she was pregnant and reading baby product labels. Shocked by the chemicals in creams, lotions and diaper care, she started to make her own nontoxic organic baby products.

Once again, a mom came in to help: Iclisoys mom lent her $2,000 to launch California Baby. She began growing her own herbs and flowersshe now has a 100-acre farm in Santa Barbaramixing her products, opening a manufacturing facility and shelling them out at natural stores, learning along the way.

I didnt have an M.B.A.; I didnt go to college, she says. When I started California Baby, organic food wasnt even really on the map.

She decided not to take on any moneyIm still a hippie, just a hippie that wears Pradawhich she says is one of the most rewarding parts about being self made.

Self-made means freedom. I cant see myself working for anyone else, she said. My business revolves around who I am.

And its not just the freedom once youve built a brand, its the freedom you have while you are building it. The only thing on the line is yourself.

In those moments of feeling like I had nothing, it also meant I had nothing to lose, Rippon said. It was the most unafraid Id ever been.

That trust in oneself has allowed both Iclisoy and Rippon to think bigger. Iclisoy has rallied to regulate the natural beauty and skincare industry, launching the lobbying group Natural Advisory Council in 2016 to fight for labeling standards and safer ingredients.

Rippon, who is gay, came out publicly in 2015, making him the first openly gay athlete to represent the United States at the Olympics. He has since used his platform to advocate for LGBTQ rights, particularly LGBTQ youth.

Youre smarter than you think, he said. Trust your own intuitions. When I didnt trust myself I was led astray.

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How Adam Rippon and Jessica Iclisoy Made ItAnd MillionsOn Their Own - Forbes

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:46 pm

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