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 is 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.
It’s not uncommon for kids these days to take part in a plethora of extracurricular activities. What is, however, uncommon is when these hobbies translate into innovative products that become thriving businesses. That’s exactly what happened when Sam Young, in 6thgrade at Ridgefield Academy, joined the Young Entrepreneurs Academy’s year-long program, which supports middle and high school students realize the goal of becoming real, confident entrepreneurs and ultimately launch their very own companies. While some ideas succeed, others skyrocket. Sam launched his idea, RestVest, and his star continues to rise.
We sat down with this young entrepreneur to learn more.
What motivated you to become involved in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)?
I have always been interested in starting my own business. When I was ten, I started a watermelon stand at a flea market and I was hooked! I loved having a great product and selling it. One day, I had my brother, sister and cousins dress up as watermelon slices –we sold a lot of watermelon that day! When I saw that there was an opportunity to learn more about starting my own business from experts in my community through YEA!, I applied and was accepted into the program.It’s one thing to run a business, but quite another to become an inventor. What inspired you to go this route?
My family is full of inventors and entrepreneurs. I was inspired by the existing weighted blanket product and thought it would be cool to have a wearable version. My goal was to create a product that similarly reduced stress and anxiety, while discretely having an overall calming effect that helps tune out mental “noise” throughout the day. The vest looks like a regular piece of clothing! And, YEA! was instrumental in providing mentors and walking me through the product development phase.You’re getting amazing feedback on RestVest! Are you surprised?
I am incredibly happy with the response, but not shocked. This is a great product that helps people. I really think it works and that this product will make a difference in people’s lives.How do you promote your business?
I promote my business via Instagram @rest.vest. I also received great publicity from coverage in my local paper! And, I try to seize every opportunity to get the word out from town fairs to being included as one of Booked Parties “Mini Movers & Shakers” through this article!
How do you balance running a business with all of the other activities involved in just being a kid?
I am really passionate about this business and I believe in RestVest. I am motivated by the fact that this product can help people, so I make sure to find the time to work on my business. Whether it’s late nights after I finish homework or talking about ways to improve it with my dad while we are in the car on our way home from sports, I make the time.Are there any challenges you experienced along the way that you didn’t anticipate and, if so, how did you handle them?
It’s early in this business, so although I haven’t yet experienced any yet, like any entrepreneur, I expect to face challenges. I am ready to meet them head-on and, of course, willing to ask for help when they happen.Were there any other business ideas you floated prior to RestVest that didn’t come to fruition?
I was thinking about a deodorizing gym bag, but I liked the idea of RestVest better as it truly helps so many kids and adults deal with the common problem of anxiety.What advice can you give other kids looking to become “mini movers & shakers”?
Find a need or a problem and see if you can find a solution. Be passionate about whatever business you are starting.What do you want to be when you grow up?
An entrepreneur! I love the idea of having my own business.
Photograph-Pretty Pictures Photography and Marketing
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.