Modern Life

Best foot forward with Olympic athlete Allyson Felix

The gold medalist shares tips on how parents can encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs with the right support and resources.

By Lauren Grayson — June 14, 2023

Whether a humble lemonade stand with hand-drawn or even scribbled signs or a driveway car wash service, it’s hard to forget what it felt like to earn your first buck. And for parents and guardians, it’s a proud parenting moment when you can help make it happen.

After “buying” a cookie from her daughter Camryn’s play kitchen, track and field Olympian and entrepreneur Allyson Felix was inspired to help her then three-year-old turn that proud moment into a budding business. Felix retired from her sport as the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history, having earned 11 medals for the US. 

When it comes to supporting an entrepreneurial spirit, Felix has plenty of first-hand experience. In 2021, she launched her Los Angeles-based small business, Saysh, which makes stylish, high-performance footwear for women that not only enhance their athletic endeavors, but reflect their unique personalities. Today, the company offers two different fashion-forward sneaker designs sold online and at select athletic retailers across the country. As with her athletic career, she knows having the right support and resources can make or break your success. 

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To nurture Camryn’s interests — mother and daughter found that  HP Instant Ink with paper add-on service and HP’s “small business bootcamp” printable business plans — were  as important  as eggs and flour in their recipe for success. With those in hand, Cammy’s Cookies was launched. 

The Garage sat down with Felix as she shares valuable tips about how, with the right tools and technology, parents can foster and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs from an early age.

Allyson Felix and her four-year-old daughter, Camryn, bond over new business ideas.


Allyson Felix and her four-year-old daughter, Camryn, bond over new business ideas.

Every startup has to have an origin story. Tell us about Cammy’s Cookies?

I’ve always enjoyed baking and my daughter loves to join in. She’s been really into her play kitchen where she makes food and I give her money to practice counting. I was craving cookies one day and she told me she was going to bake and sell them to me. So, we came up with the name Cammy’s Cookies and took off from there!

What role does technology play in the development and marketing of both yours and Cammy’s businesses?

I co-founded my shoe and lifestyle brand, Saysh, where we focus on footwear and accessories designed by women, for women. Our shoes are designed to fit and support the shape of a women’s foot, whereas traditionally shoes are made for the male form. Designs and fit are important to us, so technology is incredibly important in the development and marketing of our businesses. For Cammy’s Cookies, it’s been fun to develop signage and logos and watch her ideas come to life on screen and paper. The smile on her face is priceless.

Do you and Cammy have a special activity that you enjoy doing together for the business?

Coming up with the recipes has been really fun. She has such an imagination for what to put in a cookie, so we collaborate on what would be good ideas (and what is edible!).

How are you using your skills and talents to not only run your business, but encourage your kids to explore their own business ventures?

I hope to encourage Cammy to keep being imaginative and putting her ideas to paper. As a competing athlete, I never could have imagined owning my own shoe business. It wasn’t until I worked with my brother [Ed: Wes Felix, who is also the CEO of Saysh] and  envisioned what I would want to see in a shoe brand that it really came to life. And to be patient! Small businesses take patience.

How has your experience as an athlete influenced your approach? 

I’ve been able to see that my goals and dreams on the track take time. I competed in five Olympic Games, dedicating hours of training each day over countless seasons just to shave those milliseconds of time and perfect technique. I think of parenting and entrepreneurship in the same light — it won’t come immediately and maybe not as I envisioned, but it will come with patience, hard work, gratitude, and a great team supporting me!

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