5 TEEN ENTREPRENEURS WHOSE SUCCESS STORIES WOW AND INSPIRE
They’re young. They’re successful. And their startup stories are pure inspiration for your girl.
Success comes at any age. From kid entrepreneurs to teen CEOs, young startup founders prove that anyone can launch a business. So, how do they do it? How do they forge their own path and have the courage to follow their dreams? Read on to find out, and share the empire-building achievements of these five admirable young entrepreneurs with your girl.
When she was 7, Alina was inspired by a chance offer of a lollipop from a bank teller to create a lollipop that’s good for your teeth. She found sweet success with Zollipops, a 100% natural, vegan, and sugar-free lollipop, and brought it to market in 2014. Alina has since expanded her candy brand to include all sorts of tooth-friendly treats including taffy, gummies, and caramels. Her company, Zolli Candy, has grown into a multi-million dollar company and has been featured on Inc.’s annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country.
Mikaila Ulmer, Founder & CEO of Me and the Bees Lemonade
After being stung twice by bees, Mikaila courageously overcame her fear of bees by learning everything she could about them and their ways. It worked! She was no longer afraid of bees and discovered that their honey was a yummy tweak to her grandmother’s flaxseed lemonade recipe. She started selling her honey lemonade beverage at a local Children’s Business Fair, and everyone loved it. Still, Mikaila realized that she needed to scale up if she wanted to grow her biz beyond the lemonade stand. She pitched her business on Shark Tank when she was 9 years old and went home with a $60,000 investment deal. She was recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s Top 30 Most Influential Teens in 2017. Nowadays, when she’s not supporting bee-saving organizations or managing her company, 16-year-old Mikaila’s busy promoting her book, Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid.
Gabby Goodwin, Inventor, President, and CEO of GaBBY Bows
14-year-old Gabby Goodwin considers herself a problem solver. By inventing a double-snap barrette and calling it GaBBY Bows, Gabby solved the long-standing problem faced by most parents of young kids: Disappearing hair barrettes. GaBBY Bows are sold online and in select retail and beauty supply stores in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa, alongside Gabby’s other invention, Confidence by Gabby Goodwin, a line of plant-based hair products,. Gabby shares what she knows about entrepreneurship, confidence, and creativity through her children’s book, speaking engagements, and virtual entrepreneurship academy for would-be startup owners.
Achieving a startup milestone, especially during a pandemic, is nothing short of amazing. Sara, our 2019 Girls Mean Business contest winner who was profiled in our first book, pivoted her craft-based business, Sara Sews, to make face masks for healthcare workers and at-risk citizens. Her selfless contribution to the community in Bremen, GA was noticed by e-commerce giant Amazon, which prominently highlighted Sara Sews as a Small Business Doing Good on the site. Thanks to this well-deserved feature, Sara received a ton of publicity. And, of course, orders and sales!
Zandra Cunningham, Founder & CEO of Zandra Beauty
12 years ago, when Zandra was 9 years old, she really wanted a lip balm, but her parents rejected her request. So, what did Zandra do? She made her own! She created a business out of handmade lip balms and other plant-based bath and body products under her brand, Zandra Beauty. Besides managing a beauty empire as a teen entrepreneur, Zara advocates for girls’ education and contributes 10% of her company’s net profits to organizations that empower women and young girls across the globe through STEAM education and entrepreneurship. When some beauty stores closed shop during the pandemic last year, Zandra shifted gears from B2B (business-to-business) deals to e-commerce sales. She also re-tooled manufacturing to add cruelty-free hand sanitizers to her product line.
Being a kid or teen entrepreneur is equal parts fun, challenging, scary, and rewarding. Each day welcomes a mix of exciting opportunities and tricky trials. And no one understands this better than the five young entrepreneurs we featured above. We believe their success stories serve as valuable learning references for your girl. The stories also provide insights into how these teen bosses crush their respective challenges and continue to find joy and fulfillment in what they do. Of course, we want the same for your girl! And when your budding entrepreneur finds her success, let us know, and we’d love to share her story in our gallery of nearly 100 girl CEOs.