Mastermind of the quirky and genius brand The Zeitgeist, Alexandra Chang is one of the most ambitious girls we have spoken to. At 17, she’s still at school but manages to run a successful and innovative business on the side. We immediately wanted to know more and were lucky enough to find out more about her, her business and what she has planned for the future.
“I particularly love owning my own business because while success in school is defined by a checklist of things you are “supposed to do”, business is much more life-like.”
Taylor Magazine: So first of all, we want to know everything about The Zeitgeist! Tell us all.
Alexandra Chang: The word ‘zeitgeist’ defines the cultural climate or spirit of the time. The idea of capturing that with a lifestyle publication and retail site inspired by my love of fashion, beauty, travel, the arts and current events captivates me. I often feature interviews with innovators and influencers in these categories. Most recently, I interviewed Samantha Raye from Taste of Streep and photographer Fred Guillaud. I am also incredibly excited about the e-commerce component, which features graphic tees that I create and design. This spring, I am expanding the brand into accessories as well.
I first heard the word “zeitgeist” from my grandmother, and she truly embodied the spirit of the time. She was the youngest person I knew (aged 82!) because she was constantly learning, adapting, and interested in everything current. I have always been inspired by my grandmother and we had an incredibly close relationship. The name of both my website and brand is largely due to her!
Taylor Magazine: What’s your biggest achievement?
Alexandra Chang: My biggest achievement so far in life is being a loving big sister. I have three amazing little sisters, all of whom I am lucky to call my best friends, even though we all have large age differences. I am also a kind, generous, and thoughtful friend, three traits that I always appreciate in other people.
Taylor Magazine: What do you love most about starting and owning your own business?
Alexandra Chang: I love exerting my own creativity through the design process, and I also love collaborating with others through business. I have met so many amazing people and friends along the way, and they are some of my biggest supporters! I particularly love owning my own business because while success in school is defined by a checklist of things you are “supposed to do,” business is much more life-like. It’s constantly changing, and you have to constantly adapt to the feedback of your customers and market. If something isn’t working or selling, you need to change it. If something’s doing well, you want to figure out why and try to recreate it. My most successful shirt is “The Cobra Tank,” which is an exercise shirt that says “TAKE A HIKE.” The fit is super flattering, and most of all, the slogan made people laugh.
Taylor Magazine: What should we look out from you in 2017?
Alexandra Chang: I am releasing some workout headbands this spring, so stay tuned for those! I’m also working on a “Senior Year” collection of tees and sweatshirts that will be released later this year. It’s crazy to think that I’ll be a high school senior in the fall.
Taylor Magazine: What is your day to day routine like?
Alexandra Chang: I’m still in my junior year of high school, so I go to school every day during the week, and I make phone calls and answer emails during free periods. After school, I often play tennis or go to a Pilates class, which I really enjoy. I strive to focus on wellness and a healthy balance in an increasingly busy time. I am also constantly inspired by the things and people around me, which often helps me come up with original designs and slogans for my shirts.
Taylor Magazine: What are the biggest challenges you face?
Alexandra Chang: Business-wise, my biggest challenge has been time. I am competing with brands who have a full team of people behind them who can dedicate their entire day to the company. I am still in school full-time, so juggling that along with homework, sports and friends can be a challenge sometimes.
Taylor Magazine: You’re 17, have your own successful business, all whilst you are still at school. We think this is so inspiring. Where do you get inspiration from?
Alexandra Chang: I’m inspired by people I know who are at the top of their fields but are always the first one in the office in the morning and the last to leave at night.
“I am also constantly inspired by the things and people around me, which often helps me come up with original designs and slogans for my shirts.”
Taylor Magazine: Interesting or unusual fact about you?
Alexandra Chang: I was a nationally ranked tennis player for a long time, and tennis is still my favourite sport.
Taylor Magazine: Ok… so we read that you’ve seen every Friends episode at least twice. We’re obsessed too. Which character do you relate to most and why?
Alexandra Chang: I love Friends – it’s timeless. I probably relate to Phoebe the most, as she can’t sing to save her life, and neither can I. However, I really enjoy watching others perform. She also loves animals, and I was a vegetarian for several years.
Taylor Magazine: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Alexandra Chang: I want to go to college to pursue my interests in film, media, English, and journalism. In five years, I see myself having graduated from college and started working in the entertainment industry. Eventually, I would love to be a screenwriter, director, or anything creative– but before any of that happens, I’m sure I’ll be fetching coffee for lots of people! I also see myself continuing The Zeitgeist brand and expanding it into new areas, products and content.