Kids These Days: A Look at 'Small' Business Owners
by Kara Scharwath
For the last 10 years, Unique LA has worked with more than 7,500 small business owners. Supporting up-and-coming entrepreneurs is at the heart of why the company exists. It’s their amazing stories and accomplishments that motivate us to work harder every day.
One of the goals when starting Unique LA was to show young people that it’s possible to be successful at doing what you love, even if you’re an artist, furniture maker or jewelry designer. Over the years, we’ve seen inspired young shoppers decide to become successful designers and business owners - and sell at the markets! Here are two stories of some of the smallest entrepreneurs around.
Frères Branchiaux The three brothers of Frères Branchiaux – Collin, 12, Ryan, 9, and Austin, 7 – started their Washington, D.C.-based candle and apothecary business after their parents told them that if they wanted more allowance to buy video games, they should either get a job or start a business. “We decided to start a business.” They researched different products and settled on scented soy candles. Their mom, Celena, passed along what she learned at a candle workshop and they started hand pouring candles in small batches and making room sprays, diffusers, incense, soap, bath bombs, and more.
The boys balance the demands of owning a business with the need to be kids by keeping things in perspective. “Since we play football, baseball, soccer, and take piano and language lessons, our parents manage our time so we won’t be too busy. Sometimes it feels like it is too much, but we remind ourselves that it is worth it in the end.” Austin, the youngest brother, says. He also thinks it’s worthwhile because they are giving something back to the community. “I can help poor people by donating 10% to the homeless.”
When asked what it’s like to work so closely with family, the oldest brother Collin says, “It’s good but hard sometimes. I’m the oldest and sometimes they don’t listen to me. I have to be patient because they are younger but we always have fun when we are together.”
Their dream is to have their own store, many stores in fact, and to be millionaires. But for now, you can find their products in two D.C. based shops – Shop Made and Steadfast Supply – and popup markets like Unique LA. The best part for Ryan, the brother in the middle, is getting to travel all over the country to sell candles!
Heathmade Always curious about nature and the world, Heath Pollard started experimenting with plants and herbs at the age of four in a potions class. When his pre-kindergarten class did an Entrepreneurial Fair, Heath decided to submit his first sales plan for hand sanitizer and paid $20 to rent a booth and sell it there. He quickly learned how to mix and stir essential oils, plant butters and other natural substances into a line of wellness products that became Heathmade.
Today, at nearly eight years old, Heath makes a whole line of beautifully packaged products including lotion bars, lip balms, lip scrubs, healing face and body balms, and hand sanitizer. Heath still loves getting dirty mixing and creating each product, which originates entirely from his curious nature. But the best part is, “getting to be the boss of my parents!”
Heath wants his company to not just be successful, but to inspire other kids to start their own companies. “I want Heathmade to be a ginormous company in a big building. My vision is to get kids curious about being business people. I want them to know they can do it too.” His advice for other kids that want to become entrepreneurs? “Follow your passion because it’s worth it!”