In 2018, Fiona Frills, then 14, was interviewed for the book From Cradle to Retirement: The Child IRA. In that interview, she told the following story (page 143 of the book):
Like many her age, Fiona Frills of Saratoga, California, loves YouTube. In fact, she loves it so much she started her own YouTube channel when she was only 10 years old. She began posting a series she called “Gross Food.” She developed quite a following.
In the meantime, she was fascinated with makeup. When she was 12 she decided to follow a path she had seen other YouTubers take. She noticed they promoted and sold products. Fiona thought this would be fun to try. She combined her two loves and – presto! – she created Frilliance, a brand of cosmetics and makeup tools for teens.
Fiona started the makeup brushes and tools line because she loves makeup and fashion. She posts videos about makeup. Almost half a million people subscribe to her YouTube channel. That gives her a large ready-made audience to pitch her products to.
Now 14, Fiona is still running the business today. She knows it takes a lot of patience to work through all the details of the business. She’s discovered making everything come together for a business requires much more than she thought. She credits the success of Frilliance on her passion and love for makeup and beauty, so she feels like it isn’t that much work.
Now 18 and graduating from high school, Fiona has seen her business grow. Her beauty & skincare company Frilliance currently has products in 500 Walmarts across the US. Here’s her first-hand account of how parental support encouraged her journey, taught her about money and began preparing her for retirement at a surprisingly early age.
Question: Fiona, it’s great to speak with you again. Give a quick overview of what’s changed in your business over the last 4 years.
Fiona Frills: There’s been a huge shift the past few years! Most of my life I’ve always been in front of the camera with acting, modeling & social media. I’m now focused on the business side of things, aka, my teen makeup & skincare brand. Currently, I’m building my brand by using my knowledge and experience of social media and influencer marketing.
Question: Looking back, as a pre-teenpreneur, what made you take the leap from “hobbyist” to “entrepreneur” at such a young age?
Fiona Frills: Absolutely! The freedom behind owning your own company/working for yourself is extremely rewarding. On YouTube and across all social media platforms, the algorithm is your boss. I started to see that building my own brand gave me more control and creative freedom. With your own company, you have full creative and branding control—no algorithm or person can push their agenda.
Question: What could you share with parents, from the perspective of their children, that might help parents encourage their children to set up their own businesses?
Fiona Frills: In my personal opinion, most school systems (and jobs) don’t give you the freedom to step outside the box and explore your passions and intuitions. My parents encourage me to follow my passions over structured learning. I loved (still love) all things makeup and struggled with acne, so my ‘science’ class was formulating makeup with a cosmetics lab—the first step to starting what has now become Frilliance. Owning your own company teaches you so much more than you could ever expect. The perseverance and determination comes from running a hobby-turned-business, and the passion comes from making something you built succeed.
Question: When you started, what did you think “money” was?
Fiona Frills: In the beginning, I thought money only bought things like purses, clothes, shoes—the extra material items I wanted. I didn’t understand that money could buy experience, knowledge and more lasting things of value. Money seemed simple.
Question: At what age did you finally understand the value of money and what happened to trigger this understanding?
Fiona Frills: Around the age of 13. At the time I was making money from my YouTube channel. I was buying knickknacks, shoes, clothes that I loved for a week then completely forgot them. My mom started to teach me how to look at my income, expenses and profit from my earnings. When I saw what comes in and what goes out, it really opened my eyes to see the value of saving and investing.
Question: How did you feel when you first set up your Child IRA? Was it something you wanted or was it something suggested to you?
Fiona Frills: My parents brought up opening a Child IRA to me. I thought the idea to have money invested (and basically untouchable) so it grows over many years seemed like a smart way to have money when I was older. That’s still my mindset to this day!
Question: How long did it take you to grasp the power of investing early in a Child IRA?
Fiona Frills: Not long. Something I always have lived by is this: don’t think short term, think for the long term! It pays off at the end, and an IRA is just that! The compounding investment charts are really powerful to get this idea across.
Question: Now that you’re an adult, what is your strategy for saving for retirement while at the same time growing your business?
Fiona Frills: Currently, my plan is to continue to invest in growing my skills, growing my company, and putting 10% of my earnings in an IRA.
Question: What do you see as the future of your business?
Fiona Frills: I want to inspire teens—my own Gen Z’ers. I want to help teens feel empowered in their skin, build their confidence, encourage them to step out of the box and, most importantly, help them believe in themselves!
Question: If you were in a roomful of teenagers looking to start their own business, what would you advise them?
Fiona Frills: Just do it! Nike
Question: What would you tell them about saving for retirement?
Fiona Frills: You will thank yourself later. No shoes, no purses will compare to your comfort and freedom later down the line.
Question: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Fiona Frills: Save for retirement and invest your money in the right things! It pays off. Investing your money, in both investments and yourself will have your future self thanking you!