Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal

YEA! graduate Megan Marley wears success with Trendy Confidence

Next YEA! application deadline is September 30

Trendy Confidence

Confidence + Support = Success. That’s an important formula for young entrepreneurs who want to bring great ideas to life in the Finger Lakes. And no one epitomizes that equation better than Megan Marley, a graduate of Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a year-long program at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) and Cayuga Community College (CCC).

Megan, who attends Mynderse Academy in Seneca Falls, is the founder and CEO OF Trendy Confidence. Her company creates and sells motivational activewear and more. She married her love for fitness and fashion with a strong belief that confidence is key in life and business.

A tri-sport athlete, model and actress, Megan was determined to look for positive opportunities while going through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovering from a sports injury. She was accepted into YEA! where she won the pitch competition at FLCC and $1,250 prize money to help her purchase inventory. She went on to the national competition where she placed sixth out of hundreds of participants.


Entrepreneurial Education Starts Young

YEA! is a groundbreaking international program founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation. Its mission is to transform local middle and high school students into entrepreneurs. Students generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their very own companies.

FLCC and CCC partner with LOCATE Finger Lakes with the support of Lyons National Bank and its CEO Bob Schick to bring the program to local students. YEA! and LOCATE Finger Lakes are currently recruiting students for next year’s program with a September 30 application deadline. LOCATE Finger Lakes is also providing full-tuition scholarships for students accepted into the academy. For more information about the program, visit or

The application deadline for the 2021-22 class is September 30. Students can use the code “YEA20” to waive the application fee. Students need to provide a school transcript, an essay and a letter of recommendation to enter the program.

Structure and Mentorship Important to Megan

Megan attended two sessions of YEA! because she benefited from the structure and mentorship the program provided. She was particularly impressed by her mentor, Gillian Parrett. “She really guided me,“ Megan explains. “For the investor panel, we had to come up with a business plan and do a presentation. She helped me through by reading the pitch and giving me feedback.”

Gillian, who is currently a junior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges majoring in economics, is equally complimentary of Megan. “She is such an incredible young woman and was a pleasure to work with. The day the YEA! program began, I could tell that Meg was extremely passionate about improving her brand and getting the company off the ground. She was so diligent and would always be ready to work when we would meet. Her work ethic was amazing to see since she was involved in sports, extracurriculars and a star student, while also starting Trendy Confidence.”

Before founding Trendy Confidence, Megan developed a protein gum for athletes during her first session at YEA!. The program invested $1,000 for advertising and the initial building of the company. Unfortunately, the cost to scale was too high at that point. “I would love to circle back to this idea again,” she says.

Trendy Confidence

For now, her entrepreneurial spirit is totally focused on growing Trendy Confidence. The company’s launch resulted in more than $1,000 in sales in just the first few days. She is currently developing new products, marketing the company, and working on operations such as bookkeeping and business processes. Short term, Trendy Confidence plans on expanding its sizes and entering into menswear.

While her sales are exclusively online, Megan is also using person-to-person techniques like attending fitness events to expand her brand presence. Megan also recently signed with a modeling agency and finds it helpful for building the Trendy Confidence brand. As the business develops, she wants to create confidence retreats.

Megan strongly recommends YEA! for other aspiring business owners. “It’s a great opportunity for someone without business experience who wants to learn more about the industry and entrepreneurship skills,” she concludes.

And, of course, to help build confidence.

​​Maureen Ballatori is a LOCATE Finger Lakes Business Journal contributing writer and a member of the organization’s board of directors. She owns 29 Design Studio, a Finger Lakes-based branding and marketing agency that specializes in food, beverage and agriculture. She is also a partner in Metro Collective, which unites shared space communities across Upstate NY.

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