By Chandra Sparks Splond
If you’re looking for the next big thing in business, you might be surprised to find it comes in a pretty small package. Kidpreneurs, a term coined to acknowledge kid business owners typically between the ages of five and 18, are on the rise in Hoover and across the country. These savvy salesmen sell everything from cookies to clothing, and they spend countless hours testing recipes, researching pricing and connecting with customers.
With anyone starting a business, it’s a huge undertaking, but unlike many adults, kids have the added pressure of having to juggle school and not being old enough to sign legal documents or apply for loans. But still, these young entrepreneurs persist. If you’re looking for a little inspiration and motivation, check out these local kidpreneurs.
Jaina Noelle Burrell
Jaina Noelle Burrell was born to start a business. “I’ve always loved business and the idea of selling items that people love,” she says. “Around four or five years old, I held a yard sale, and around nine years old, instead of starting a lemonade stand, I set up a doggie treat stand. Many people in my neighborhood owned dogs and walked them daily. I knew that doggie treats would be a hit, and I made nearly $50 within less than two hours.”
Her early efforts have evolved into Popsurprise.co, which allows the GeniusBe Initiative student to sell “cute fun girly things and accessories like jewelry, glittery bows and hats, purses, scrunchies, hair clips, handmade soaps etc.”
It has also given her a lot of insight into the ins and outs of having a business. “I learned that owning a business can be a good source of income,” she says. “I learned it is good to ask
questions and also important to know the difference between what you sell in revenue and what you make in profits. I learned that it is important to be responsible and take good notes and keep good records.”
She is also eager to share her experiences with other budding business owners: “Ask yourself, how will my business idea help others? Pray about it, and start looking up information about your business on Google. Ask for help. Know that starting a business can be tough at times and can feel like a bumpy road. If you fall down, get back up again. If you make a wrong turn get back on the right path! Never give up, and if you keep trying every time you mess up you will at some point succeed.”
Business: Tamira Danielle Beauty
Tamira Danielle is determined to leave her mark on the world of beauty. “I decided to start my business because I am very passionate about being independent, and growing up, I have never liked to be bossed around,” she says. “I guess I always knew being an entrepreneur was perfect for me.”
Since launching her business in May of last year, Tamira has been selling clothing, natural homemade lip glosses, lashes and accessories. Along the way, she has found a loyal following and loves engaging with her “beauty babes” who have helped to make her business a success.
“The funniest thing that has happened to me as a business owner was one of my customers, which I call my ‘beauty babes,’ came to pick up her order, and I was literally doing the most ridiculous dance walking up to her… When she noticed, we were both dying laughing. This is why I love being very interactive with my beauty babes because they are family to me.”
The Hoover High School senior has plans to expand her business with a branded clothing line and a YouTube channel where she wants to help other youth start their own business and keep them motivated. “The best part is making all of my customers happy and getting to know them,” she says. “I also love empowering and uplifting them to follow their dreams… Anything is possible and know the worth of your brand.”
Business: Budrcup Bunny
When Kyla Hill started Budrcup Bunny back in 2018, she quickly learned there’s more to business than meets the eye. “I started my business because I thought it would be something fun to do,” she says. “It takes a lot of time, effort and energy.” The R.F. Bumpus Middle School eighth grader’s business specializes in making lip balm, bath bombs and lip gloss.
Despite the time and effort, Kyla continues to persist and works to overcome obstacles, including surprise from peers when they find out she has a business. “The best part is selling and making products. The hardest part about owning my business is promoting and making the product,” she says, adding, “Don’t be scared of the awkwardness of promotion.”
Hill also wants to encourage other youth who would like to start a business. “If you want to do it, just do it, and don’t procrastinate,” she says.
Business: I Am Her
Quinecia John-Baptiste has found the key to success, literally. Last June the Hoover High School senior launched I Am Her, which specializes in keychains and keychain accessories. “My thought…of starting a business came from me wanting to do more with my time,” she says. “I felt like time was just passing by me, and I wasn’t doing much to occupy myself.”
The result has been tons of experience learned through trial and error. “The funniest thing that has happened to me as a business owner is when I first started making keychains, I wasn’t sure how to use resin. So I just was dumping both mixtures together and the letters would not get hard. I waited a week for it to get hard, and (it) never did. I didn’t read the instructions at all, and that was my first fail attempted.”
Since then, she’s found her way though. “The best part of owning your own business is seeing people walk around with your business, like it brings nothing but happiness and smiles.”
Learn more about her business and shop at neneleshaun.com.
Business: Collateral Cookies
As a result of the global pandemic, Capra Lockridge discovered a passion she’s using to help others. Since last June, Collateral Cookies has sold and delivered cookies and cookie cakes for any occasion.
“I found a passion for baking, and I knew I wanted to share it with as many people as I could. I also love helping the greater good,” she says. “I believe everyone deserves happiness and empathy, which is why I decided to donate 30 percent of my proceeds to charity.
“All the cookies we sell are made with high-quality ingredients to ensure you get the best homemade cookies. We’re also open to custom orders,” says the Spain Park senior.
Lockridge is taking any challenges she faces in stride. “The hardest part of owning my own business is managing it with my food service job,” she says. “A close second would be people turning my business away due to my age.”
She encourages others who might be interested in starting a business to put in the work: “My advice to other kids is to prepare, prepare, prepare. When starting a business, you can’t go into it blindly. Prepare what you’ll sell, for how much, and see what the laws are on selling in your state.”
Business: Sunset Beads
For Saniya Meghani, inspiration for her business struck during a shopping trip. “In the summer of 2019, I had gone on a shopping spree to buy lots of jewelry making supplies. At the time, I had no idea that I would be starting a business,” she says. “Fast forward a few months, and people started to notice my jewelry. When they asked me where I got my necklace or bracelet from, I said, ‘I made them.’ Sooner or later, people started encouraging me to open a little shop, and so I did.
“A lot people ask me how I even got interested in making jewelry. The answer to that is quite silly, but when I was in second grade, Rainbow Loom bands became very popular, and I jumped onto the bandwagon and started making my own bracelets. I got really good at it, and I started to give them away at school, and ever since I’ve had a love for making jewelry.”
The R.F. Bumpus Middle School eighth grader uses that early passion to sell homemade jewelry like beaded chokers and bracelets, as well as friendship bracelets.”
Since launching Sunset Beads, she has learned the importance of balance. “The hardest part of owning a business is time management,” she says. “When I first started, I devoted all of my time (to) making jewelry and sending out orders. When school started again, I realized that I needed to balance my time more.”
She has also learned the importance of patience and finding unique ways to promote her business. “You may hear stories about how someone opened a business and got hundreds of orders in a few days. Sometimes that may not happen, but don’t get discouraged. It takes some time to get a good customer base. Here’s a tip: Sell at your local farmers’ market. Doing this will get you started and your business’s name will be passed around, and before you know it, you’ll have the business of your dreams.”
Five Ways Parents Can Help Their Budding Kidpreneurs
If you’re interested in helping your child build a business, Charita Cadenhead, cofounder of the Metro Birmingham Children’s Fair, and Tae Lee, owner of Never Go Broke, Inc., have these suggestions:
Follow your child’s interests.
“Remember that it is the child’s business, and in order for it to work, the business has to be something that interests them more than it interests the parent. Parents mean well but sometimes they can inject their own ideas, and those ideas may deviate from the original concept and detract from the child’s creativity and stifle their interest and motivation,” Cadenhead says.
Set realistic goals.
“There is nothing wrong with having big dreams, but start with goals that you can reach and complete. From there, continue to set more goals and conquer them. On a lot of occasions, we get discouraged because we set a goal that was out of our reach. If we set goals that are realistic, we keep going,” Lee says.
Know your target audience.
“Parents may be of help in making sure that the child is staying focused on the target audience. Both children and adults often have trouble with this, and it becomes clear when they identify their audience as ‘everyone,’” Cadenhead says. “Know your target audience, and be as specific as possible about identifying them.”
Use available resources.
“Mentorships, internships, and books are some of the best resources to allow kids to become successful in their business,” Lee says. Cadenhead agreed, adding the library is also an invaluable resource. “Prior to the pandemic we rolled out a series of Youth Entrepreneurship Training and Development workshops that were held at various locations,” she says of the Metro Birmingham Children’s Fair.
Consider the costs.
There’s truth to the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. In addition to their age, kidpreneurs have the added burden of not having access to money to get their businesses started, Lee says. There are also the considerations of remembering to market and advertise the business and managing their time. “While being biz savvy kids, they still have to contend with other aspects of their lives including school, homework, extracurricular activities and of course kids just being kids,” Cadenhead says.
As with anything, but especially in business, things take time. “Kidprenuers should stay consistent and be patient. When it comes to entrepreneurship, progression in your business takes time. It does not happen overnight, so in order to see your business grow, stay the course. Be sure that your clients see you and that you aren’t just working on your business sometimes. The more they see you being consistent, the more they know that you are serious,” Lee says.