There’s nothing Booked Parties loves more than supporting the creative, energetic spirit of entrepreneurs. Recently, we are finding inspiration by setting our sights a bit lower…literally. A new crop of entrepreneurs are on the rise, but you won’t find them running their businesses between the hours of 9am to 3pm when school is in session. Gone are the days of paper boys and lemonade stands. Today’s young business owners are savvy beyond belief, successfully identifying niche business models and leveraging the power of social media in a manner that’s so natural to them, it’s staggering to us grown-ups. The children are clearly ready to lead the future.
Some say sewing is becoming a lost art, but not according to 13 year-old Sophie Martinez. Drawn to the craft at the age of 9, Sophie started stitching and ultimately turned this passion into a viable business. With the launch of her business, “Stitched by Sophie,” this mini mover’s creative designs are inspiring people to get into the kitchen and tie on an apron. Featuring high quality fabrics with whimsical patterns, these aprons are giving a new meaning to “cooking in style.”
We sat down with this young entrepreneur to learn more.
When did you become interested in design and sewing?
I entered a sewing camp over the summer of 4thgrade that introduced me to sewing. I started off by making a knapsack and eventually worked up to creating pajama pants. After that, I began hand-sewing at home and even tackled making a pillow using a sewing machine as I’d been taught at camp. Once school began, I didn’t have the time to continue this hobby and took a long break. When I was 12, I became inspired to get back into it and re-entered sewing lessons. That’s when I made my first apron and my business took off!
What inspired you to focus on aprons?
It was very accidental! My first apron was supposed to be a quick project at the end of my lessons and intended as a gift for my mom. The pattern was easy to understand and it was the first project I really felt was my own. It was pink and blue flowers on a light blue background that turned out really pretty. It’s still one of my favorites. Once my mom received it, her friends wanted one for themselves. I really enjoyed the process of creating these aprons and fine-tuned the pattern using my own technique.
How did you decide to transition this hobby into a business?Once we realized how popular the aprons were, my mom pointed out that this could be a great business. From there, I started researching the prices of different fabrics and figured out the right price points for the product. I even returned to where I took my sewing lessons to ask advice. As I started making more aprons and finding better fabrics, I created a logo and became more accustomed to running a business.
What’s the process for creating an apron?
The process actually takes around four hours, but it takes me around a week to complete each apron since I also have school and afterschool activities. Each apron is very customized. Customers choose a pattern or concept, I find the fabric and identify a complementary background color. I’ve received several orders that people send as gifts to family in different parts of the world. I like knowing that people overseas are also enjoying the aprons!
How do you balance running a business with all of your other activities?
I started my business in the summer, so I didn’t have to worry too much about time management, but it started getting harder when school started. I usually work on them the weekends or when I have time after school. When the balance becomes more challenging, I take breaks from the business so that I can focus on schoolwork.
Are there any challenges you experienced along the way that you didn’t anticipate and, if so, how did you handle them?
The biggest challenge was finding a good fabric that wasn’t too pricey. When I started the business, I didn’t understand the market and didn’t realize this would be an issue. After much research, I found fabric in a good price range. I also learned that fabric is considerably cheaper in Europe, so sometimes I ask my grandmother, who lives in the Netherlands, to ship some over.
What advice can you give others looking to become “mini movers & shakers”?
Starting a business may sound like a large feat to most kids, but in reality, it isn’t so complicated. A great way to start is to think about something you do in your free time – you may make earrings or like to sew clothing, for example. After you figure that out, you just have to find the right market, and a good place to buy your supplies. Get the word out by talking to your friends about your business, since they can help spread the word!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to be when I’m older yet. Right now, I think I’d like to do something that benefits the world whether that means working in a field that finds new resources to help the environment or making a social impact by working for the U.N. and promoting peace. I’m really not sure yet – there are just so many options out there!
Photographs provided by Sophie.
Shauna Levy is a writer, communications professional and a stay-at-home mom. Her interests include flaunting her discount shopping finds, cooking food her children reject and restoring her 125-year old home. She is currently raising three boys, ages 9, 6 and 5 alongside her husband in Chappaqua, NY.