The founders of a fast-growing Australian online fashion business have been catapulted into the spotlight, showing you don’t need to go to university or even finish high school in order to run your own company.
Paris Marchant and Lawrence Lees left high school in Years 9 and 8 respectively but are now running a business that is turning over millions of dollars.
Marchant left school due to clinical depression, while Lees decided to leave high school in order to enter the workforce.
Almost 12 months ago, the pair decided to make some extra money on the side by setting up an online store for women’s clothing.
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Today, Generation Outcast Clothing turns over around $40,000 a month.
The business also boasts an impressive social media following, with more than 158,000 followers on Instagram.
The young entrepreneurs have even caught the eyes of Keeping up with the Kardashians stars Kylie and Kris Jenner, who reposted one of Paris Marchant’s Instagram posts to their millions of fans earlier this week.
“This is so inspiring and you are so amazing,” Kylie Jenner wrote about the 16-year-old entrepreneur, who caught Jenner’s attention by adding the hashtag #IAmMoreThan to her post.
Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Marchant says everything “still feels surreal”.
“I battled clinical depression for a few years, and was dropping in and out of school,” Marchant says.
“I felt like I didn’t belong in school, that I had more to give in life. I started this on the side [by] just selling clothes to my friends and the occasional market. We just created our website and in the last few months it blew up from there.”
Marchant says she would like Generation Outcast to one day become a household name, and plans to ramp-up the business’s marketing efforts in the next few months.
“At the moment we only have an Instagram and have done a little bit of Google ads,” Marchant says.
“We want to do our own label in the next year or so, so that’s something exciting to look forward to. We’re still not satisfied with our growth and I don’t think we ever will be.”
Marchant and Lees have been part of The Entourage’s two-year business education program for six months now.
The Entourage has helped accelerate other fashion retail businesses such as Showpo and Stylerunner.
Jack Delosa, founder and managing director of The Entourage, told SmartCompany this morningMarchant and Lees are two “incredibly hungry” entrepreneurs.
“I think what differentiates Paris and Lawrence and makes them a standout is what I would call two contradictory characteristics,” Delosa says.
“They are very independent thinkers. They dropped out of school, started a business and are very good at thinking for themselves.
“The dichotomy to that is they are highly coachable and constantly seeking mentorship and insight that will help them grow their business.”
Delosa says what excites him the most about the pair is how far they have come in such a short amount of time.
“What they’ve achieved to date and how far they’ve come has really set them up to do something special in the next 10 years,” Delosa says.
“I think this is just the beginning of the journey for Paris and Lawrence.”