Colie Christensen Alumni Spotlight
Colie Christensen shares her experience as a female entrepreneur.
Colie Christensen has always had a side hustle in addition to her full-time job — anything from interior design to collaborating with local bloggers and influencers.
“I’ve always been a creative and worked on side projects,” said Christensen, a 2009 UND Nistler CoBPA School of Entrepreneurship graduate. “My husband works in venture capital, so we’ve always said, you know, if there’s something we’d want to build or if we have a good idea, why don’t we pursue it?”
Little did Christensen know that idea would come to her while she was out to dinner with a close group of girlfriends, one of which was newly married.
“A bunch of us were talking about weddings and such and she asked, ‘How did you guys change your last names? I have no idea where to start.’ All of us were like, ‘Yeah it’s such a pain, it’s going to take you awhile,’” said Christensen.
Do a simple Google search as to how to go about changing your last name and you’ll quickly realize the process isn’t easy. Do you start at the DMV? Do you need to go to court? It’s all very unclear and quite frankly, stressful.
“It’s an emotional thing letting go of your last name as a woman, and it should be an exciting thing,” said Christensen. “I called my husband on my way home from that dinner with my girlfriends and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have a great idea!’ It’s a huge pain point and it’s something I have personal experience with. It took me months, if not over a year to change my name in all the places I needed to because people don’t realize you need to change your name in 20 plus places,” said Christensen.
It was during that phone call NewlyNamed — a company that creates personal name change kits — was born. Christensen and her husband had a new side hustle in addition to both of their full-time jobs and being 17 weeks pregnant.
Though being a female entrepreneur can be challenging at times, Christensen says she feels women are more empowered now than ever.
“In 2019 I feel like there is this women empowerment movement, women are so supported in everything,” said Christensen. “For me, the entrepreneurial seed was planted very early being an entrepreneurship major and Mueller intern at UND.” said Christensen. “I always felt supported at UND and at the Center for Innovation, so the support has always been there.”
Christensen has a lot on her plate but is a strong believer in working hard and taking risks, no matter what the project.
“Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, take risks, and fail,” said Christensen.
That risk, or in Christensen’s case, that side hustle, might lead to something truly great.