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.
Spotlight On: The Paint Can Kid
Most kids are spending the summer playing at camp, the beach or the backyard. Michael Weyne, however, age 11, is not your average kid. Last summer, after overhearing a conversation about the difficulties associated with the disposing of paint cans, Michael saw an opportunity and officially launched his business as “The Paint Can Kid.” The business, which properly disposes of paint cans, has been enjoying success that surpassed his expectations ever since.
We sat down with this young entrepreneur to learn more.
How did you get the idea for beginning your business as “The Paint Can Kid”?
My dad challenged me to create a business last summer. I had an idea for one business, but it needed capital that I didn’t have. While we were brainstorming, our neighbor asked us if we knew how he could get rid of his old paint cans. We didn’t know the answer, but when he said he would pay someone to get rid of the cans, I had a lightbulb moment. That was the beginning of “The Paint Can Kid.”
What impact do you believe your business is having on the environment and do you have any other eco-friendly interests?
The hardened paint in old cans usually just goes into the landfill, but now we are separating it so that we can dispose of the paint properly and the cans get recycled. And, any good paint that I get is donated and reused, so the whole process is really good for the environment.
I also participate in the FIRST LEGO league, which inspired me to invent things that can solve real-world environmental problems. Where there is a need, there is a service!
How do you promote your business?
It started with flyers I was handing out at the Chappaqua Music Festival. A Chappaqua mom, Claire Gilvar (coincidentally, Booked Parties’ own Claire Gilvar!), then posted it on the Facebook Chappaqua Moms group and it got a lot of likes and a huge response. Now, it is mostly promoted through word of mouth, local publications and social media.
How do you balance running a business with all of the other activities involved in just being a kid?
My dad and I normally do pick-ups from 6-8pm most Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring and summer. We spend the fall and winter separating the paint from the cans, disposing of the paint cans and recycling any good paint.
Are there any challenges you experienced along the way that you didn’t anticipate and, if so, how did you handle them?
My biggest problem is a good problem! The volume of customers and paint cans was more than we were ready for. We created a google voice number for customers, 914-200-3344, and we organize the messages into a spreadsheet. We have to be very organized to accommodate everyone.
What advice can you give other kids looking to become “mini movers & shakers”?
If you have an idea, you just have to start working on it! We didn’t know anything about paint can disposal, but we figured it out along the way.
By Shauna Levy