This Tech Entrepreneur Proves It's Never Too Early To Start Your Dream Job

What happens when brains, creativity, determination and personality meet serious style? You get Chloé Watts. At just 16 years old, Watts was fascinated by two things: the world of fashion and technology. Back before coding tutorials and bootcamps were prevalent, Watts didn’t let the lack of resources squash her curiosity. Instead, she taught herself to code; scraping together resources with tons of trial and error.

Flash-forward 10 years and Watts has continued to let her passion fuel her career. As the founder of chloédigital, Watts and her team gap the bridge between creatives and developers. Her clients are amongst today’s biggest fashion influencers and insiders.

This entrepreneur is nothing short of inspiring and exudes serious girl power! Whether your passion lies in tech, fashion, or elsewhere, Watts proves that nothing—not your lack of resources, gender, race, or age—can stop you from chasing your dreams and charting your own path.

Read on for more sage advice on creating and achieving your ultimate dream job!

CollegeFashionista: What was the biggest challenge you faced when you started learning to code at the age of 16?

Chloé Watts: Lack of resources. It was not a habit just to “Google” anything and everything back then, so I used to read a lot of forums and pick out pieces of relevant information that would make sense to me. I’d also print out a lot of tutorials (much to my mums dismay at the time) and highlight different bits to tell a story from the code which would help me understand what it all meant. I was so determined though; nothing was going to stop me. I just found it SO interesting!

CF: That’s so inspiring but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many hurdles in your way. How did you rise to the challenge instead of letting it defeat you?

CW: Challenging yes, but challenge is a good thing —who doesn’t want to be challenged? We’d be living a pretty dull life if not! I used to feed off the challenge, spending hours and hours trying to figure out the answer to one problem; determined to get there and I eventually always would. The great thing about coding is once you know, you know. So those hours are never in vain.

CF: Once you decided to take your skill set and turn it into a job, did you come across any surprises as you entered the industry?

CW: I found that there were hardly any woman or anyone who was black. It didn’t set me back, however; not at all. Our differences define us. But I definitely noticed, everyone did. People would come up to me and be like, “OMG you are a developer? What?” like it wasn’t humanly possible for me to be so! I’d say yes and gained a unique type of respect because the creative teams would always get my advice on communicating to the devs (like they were aliens who didn’t know how to interact, so backwards!).

CF: So when you realized there was this gap in the industry that you could fill, what were your first steps?

CW: I screamed with joy (or cried—one or the other). [Then after that] the first thing I did was set up the website. I stayed up all night and made it happen. I was really proud of how it turned out—on the first day we had our first signup and I literally paced around my mum’s kitchen thinking, “What the hell do I do now?” Taking it day-by-day, I started to figure it out. You don’t need all the answers or any in fact when you start something.

CF: What is the most satisfying thing about owning your own business?

CW: That I get to build my own family, so to speak. I love my team; I love our members. Everyone is so kick-ass and inspiring. I just love when people want to be the best version of themselves. When that’s your goal then you are going to do good because you want to give to the world. I feel this way about my entire team as well as our members.

CF: What do you do to continue learning and refining your skills?

CW: I continue coding, read a lot, and speak to my team. Our dev team are super smart and passionate people. We are always debating one trend/change or another every day. It’s fun and keeps us all on point to build a prosperous chloédigital future.

CF: What do you have to say to those who don’t think that technology and creativity go hand-in-hand?

CW: Nothing, they are old school. To code is to create, it’s that simple.

CF: What advice do you have for someone who wants to learn a new skill such as coding?

CW: Do it. And do it now! There is zero time to waste; it’s super valuable today and even more so in our future. The ability to code has always been the most freeing thing for me, especially when starting chloédigital, I couldn’t yet afford a team and had to do it all myself. If I couldn’t code it wouldn’t have been the same.

CF: What is the biggest piece of advice that you have for a woman who is entering a field made up of mostly men?

CW: Our differences define us, don’t let anything stop you from doing something that’s truly passionate to you. Yes at times it may be difficult so make sure you have the best support network around you, inclusive of your squad, parents, mentors, anyone who believes in you. To stay committed to something doesn’t just take you, it takes a team of support.

CF: What do you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self now?

CW: Girllll, embrace who you are and what you care about; that’s what it’s all about. Help everyone around you but not to the detriment of yourself. By coming up yourself you will surely empower others.

Photo credit: Vicki Archer