Interview With Half Past Three Founder and Creative Director, Missy Carroll

  • Published on:
    February 25, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    6 minutes

Often awake with her newborn in the 3 o’clock hour of the night, Half Past Three founder and creative director, Missy Carroll, longed for those vibrant, exotic vacations that seemed to be turning into fleeting memories of life before kids. She dreamed of summer days where the only question of the day was ‘beach or pool?’ She dreamed of walks on a quiet beach at sunset. She dreamed of wearing beautiful swimsuits accessorized with perfect coverups that would fit her post-baby body.  Fast forward 10 years and two babies later, she’s made her middle-of-the-night dreams a reality by launching her first collection of kimono-style tops. With effortless, bohemian style, this introductory Half Past Three collection is right on time

“The universe kept nudging me to create something beautiful that could be enjoyed on the beach. Rosé was already invented, so I started crafting these kimono tops that I’d wear over my swimsuits. Everyone loved them, so I took a leap of faith and started my own line.” Missy Carroll

What motivated you to start a company in the first place? How did you get inspired to shape your career within a fashion brand?

They say necessity is the mother of invention. I was on the prowl, the absolute hunt for a certain swimsuit coverup. I knew in my mind what I wanted it to look like, how I needed it to function, why I needed it. But I couldn’t find one that I loved. I was a new mom, still getting used to all my unfamiliar curves. I was never in a grand rush to lose the pregnancy rush – whenever I restricted calories or exercised too much, my milk supply would dwindle. So I knew I had this body for the meantime, I needed to embrace it and love it, clothe it in something beautiful that would make me feel like myself again. However, I didn’t want to be running around on the beach with my older kid in my bikini of yesteryear. I needed a cool, breezy coverup that still showed by swimsuit, made me feel chic, but covered me up a little bit. After all, why would I waste the money, the hours, the tears, the struggle of finding the right postpartum bathing suit, just to cover it up with some drab terrycloth coverup? So I made one. With stunning fabric. Fun fringe detail. The perfect drape. And the rest is history.

Why and how have you chosen to change careers?

I was a Pediatric Nurse for 10 years, then I had my daughter and went part-time, then I had my son and decided to take a break from my nursing career. I loved my job as a nurse and it was profoundly fulfilling for me. I had a defining moment driving to work one morning though – my son was sick and I had to leave him with my mom for the day so that I could go to work and he cried so hard when I left him. I thought to myself, “I’m going to take care of someone else’s sick kid and I should be taking care of MY sick kid.” It was that day that I told my husband that I wanted to take a step back and he was fully supportive.

I was so happy to stay at home with my kids and be super present and involved and engaged with them every day. Having said that, being a stay at home mom was certainly the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done. I’m so grateful that we live in an era that doesn’t sugarcoat motherhood anymore. Being a mom is hard, it’s beautiful, it’s frustrating and nerve wracking, it’s heart breaking, it’s rewarding, it’s exhausting, it’s glorious and magical. After my kids started school, I realized that I needed a little bit more structure in my daily life. I felt like I had so much more to give and to be and to work on. The deciding factor was I wanted to do something that I was passionate about, but where I could also make my own hours so that my kids and our family life were still the most important priority in my life. Being my own boss allows me to pick and choose what times I’m engaged with work and which times I’m present with my family. It’s a delightful freedom.

Do you have predictions for next years fashion trends?

I think upcycling is going to gain momentum. With the ever-increasing focus on reducing our carbon footprints, I predict that more clothing brands will focus on trying to use every bit of fabric, upcycling fabrics, recycling fabrics. At HP3, we make sarongs, headbands, and scarves out of pieces of leftover kimono fabric. Beautiful byproducts of beautiful products – it’s a win-win! As far as fashion goes, I will always love high-end pieces paired with more affordable pieces. Think Gucci slides with a T-shirt from Madewell. I love unexpected pairings as well. Ladylike pencil skirts with a leather bomber. A pleated leather skirt with a grey hoodie. It’s rad to mix and match.

What are the strongest skills needed in order to run a successful online fashion store?

The first words that come to mind are organization and flexibility. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I sit down every Sunday evening and plan the week out – what meetings I have, what inventory to expect, what social media will look like for the week, as well as my kids’ schedules and our family meal plan. There are two things that are non-negotiable for my family – getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods. In a world where you can only control what you can control, I make sure bedtime and mealtimes are a priority at the Carroll house. Those are critical foundational pillars in my book.

With all of the schedules I have to worry about with my kids going a dozen directions, my husband working a high demand job, and my new business life, I’ve learned that having a schedule is key, but I would drive myself batty if I balked at every hiccup in the plan. That’s where being flexible comes into play! I realize that getting my family and my business in gear is a great feat, but being able to roll with the punches has helped to reduce my stress level tremendously. Well, that and a good stiff drink.

Which challenges did you face during your journey and how did you overcome them?

Hello, Covid. We went live with our clothing website in May of 2020. It was a bold move for a new business in the midst of a global pandemic. People advised me to put a pin in the business and tack it up for 2021. People thought I was crazy to try to sell clothing when no one was traveling, people were out of work, the future seemed so dim. But I kept telling myself that maybe my business would inspire someone to chase their dreams, too. Although there was an enormous pause button on our lives at the time, starting a business meant there was hope for the future. School, church, vacations were being cancelled, but hopes and dreams didn’t have to be. Not going to lie, it was a slower start than what we would’ve liked, but staying the course and putting one foot in front of the other helped us to thrive in quite an unpredictable world.

Name a piece of content that you’ve seen recently that you’ve loved.

I find myself gravitating towards content about women supporting women, women in business helping other women in business, women boosting the confidence of other women, women embracing the idea that there’s room enough for all of us to succeed. They say alpha women don’t run in packs, but I beg to differ. I was recently the guest on Solarté Skincare’s Strong Women Podcast. It was refreshing to be supported by another women entrepreneur. There should be a manual that all girls and women receive that states RULE #1- Help a sis out.

Something personal about you that people may be surprised to know?

I was a Division 1 athlete! I played ice hockey at Boston College. Getting me involved in sports at a young age was the best thing that my parents ever did for me! I credit being an athlete for so many of my successes. It all starts with confidence. The confidence to know that you’re a worthy member of a team, that people are cheering for you and rooting you on, that your body can do really amazing things. The mental aspect of sports is such a gift, too. After years and years of playing sports, the biggest prize of all is the lesson of having positive self-talk. The inner dialogue that we have with ourselves is significant. It shapes our lives. I love Henry Ford’s quote that “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Being an athlete  was impactful from a physical perspective because I’ve always felt strong and capable, but the most notable attribute that came from playing sports is by far my mentality.

Advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?

Don’t be afraid of the slow start. You can’t feel self conscious about a post getting 20 likes, or an IGTV video getting 50 views. Your ego can’t get in the way of a slow build. Put yourself out there and expect to hear the word ‘no’. There really isn’t such a thing as a mistake – if you learn from it, it’s just data.

Where do you get your inspiration from daily?

My faith. I meditate every morning and every night. I was horrible at it at first. I just couldn’t turn my mind off. But, with practice and persistence, I’m able to find the place deep down that settles my nerves, eases my anxiety, keeps me moving in the right direction. Some people call that their Higher Selves, their relationship with God, the pull of the Universe. But I’ve found that whatever you call it, if it comes from the purest part of your soul, it will inspire you to be better.

How do you stay motivated?

I do something every single day that will move my business forward in some way. Whether it’s just reaching out to a potential buyer or Instagram influencer, scheduling a meeting with a photographer to brainstorm, returning emails, posting beautiful pictures, sketching the next product idea on the back of the electricity bill envelope. I find that these little things add up and they tee me up for success.

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