Liz Carlson, a million dollar mama
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
Where are you from?
Born and raised in the Fort Mill-Rock Hill area.
What is your occupation?
CEO of Southern Fried Chics.
What was your upbringing like?
Very poor. My grandparents didn’t have running water in their home, a log cabin built by Billy Graham’s great-grandfather. They lived there for free in return for taking care of the land. My grandparent's had 13 children with whom we had to live with at times. The developers who built Baxter Village moved the cabin to Anne Springs Close Greenway and made it a historical home. It is the oldest house in York County.
Where do you currently reside?
Currently in Rock Hill but building a house in Fort Mill.
I have seven brothers and sisters, six of whom are living along with my mother. I have one daughter who is 13 and a 15 year old Westie Terrier.
What is your education or training background?
I have an 8th grade education with no additional schooling.
Why only 8th grade? Did it have anything to do with your dyslexia?
My mother kicked me out when I was 14 years old. I drifted around for a while, receiving help from others until I got my first job.
What was your first job?
Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Tell us about your business Southern Fried Chics:
Southern Fried Chics is a trendy boutique located in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We carry a variety of southern charm designer clothing, footwear, accessories and more. You can find any outfit to match your price range. We carry high fashion designers such as Judith March, Miss Me Jeans, Missy Robertson and a wide variety of designer boots.
What is unique about your occupation?
I love teaching my employees how to grow in the company. I have a lot of experience in manufacturing and designing which I am now trying to pass along to my girls. I pride myself in hiring women who don’t have any experience, mentoring them into knowledgeable business women.
How did you first become an entrepreneur?
I started sewing and selling my designs on eBay 13 years ago.
What leadership qualities do you think it takes to be an entrepreneur?
As a business woman and leader, you have to show yourself and your employees that you never settle for contentment. I strongly believe that you always have to push yourself to grow in all aspects of the business.
How has Southern Fried Chics evolved?
The business has grown in leaps and bounds. We ship thousands of orders per week all over the country, as well as internationally.
Are you entirely self funded?
Yes! I don’t have any loans or lines of credit. Everything I own is paid for- including this company. We are now doing $3 million in sales per year.
So you have never had to borrow money?
Not a dime!
What gave you the idea to start Southern Fried Chics?
I had been in the manufacturing business in the children’s clothing industry, which was suffering from the economy at the time. I knew women were always going to spend money on themselves and need clothing. I wanted to give customers an option to look very stylish on a budget- to create a boutique for less.
So you also manufactured a children’s clothing line?
For ten years I designed, manufactured and sold a girl’s clothing line called Chatti Patti. I loved that part of my life. I didn't sell it- I just shifted my focus and it fizzled out.
How has Facebook helped in the success of your business?
The social media site has been the main focus since the launch of Southern Fried Chics. Knowing that people spend more time on Facebook than any other site, I knew I had to focus my efforts there to connect to customers. It’s always been my intention to cater to the masses, to have a wide reach. In a little over three years, we have gained over one million followers on Facebook.
Did you always know you would be successful?
I always felt like there was some calling for me. Failure wasn't an option because I knew I had to figure out what was pushing me.
What is your income range:
What challenges you in your life, work, etc?
Owning a company and having 15 employees who are women has been a blessing but it also has its hardships. We are emotional creatures and I tend to think with my heart. That has been a struggle- to make sure I do the right thing for everyone involved and not only myself. I have other people who I am responsible for- I want them to be successful too. I challenge myself to do as much as I can for my employees while focusing on the longevity of the company.
What inspires you?
This is the hardest question to answer because I can’t quite put my finger on it. All I know is that I draw inspiration from all of life experiences. Life is inspiring.
What are you passionate about?
Quite simply, everything!
What causes or charities are you involved with?
Through Southern Fried Chics, I give products away to people all of the time. We are probably the largest giveaway company in the USA on Facebook. I also try to help out locally.
What are your hobbies?
Playing boardgames with my daughter. Working out. Traveling.
What do you love about the Carolinas?
Where do you vacation?
I love anywhere tropical but would have to say Turk and Caicos is my favorite vacation destination.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
Raising a beautiful, smart, funny, very giving, and loving child.
What struggles have you faced in your life?
I could write a book for this question. Maybe there should be a part-two to this interview!
Where do you see yourself retiring?
Favorite spot in the Carolinas to visit?
Online shopping at Joss & Main. I also love Vegas and go often to indulge in all the excitement.
Favorite TV series?
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was the world runner up champion of limbo skating as a child.
If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your time each day?
Same thing that I am doing now. Money is just numbers. I am happy doing what I am doing.
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