Small business success story fun – 17 YO gal projecting $250 million in sales

small business success story of high school kid with $250 million projected in sales

The ones that make the news are the exceptions, of course, but it always puts a smile on my face when I read about a small business success story that exceeds the founder’s wildest dreams.

Forbes ran a story yesterday about a young girl that had the gift of planning already in her heart. She was fourteen and decided she wanted a car for her 16th birthday. Her parents offered permission – provided she earned the money necessary to buy it.

I remember the frustration at that age trying to find a job. In most U.S. states, options are limited to hard labor doing agricultural work (tobacco was big in the Connecticut community where I grew up), baby sitting and paper routes for anyone younger than sixteen. All jobs requiring a bigger time investment to earn the same money as one who may be older, but not necessarily more mature.

small business success story of high school kid with $250 million projected in sales

Photo courtesy of Forbes Magazine

That’s if you want to do someone else’s work. Isabella decided to work for herself.

She’s seventeen now – and bought that car – a white jeep. Her company did $24 million in 2012 and is projected to hit $250 million this year. Can you imagine looking at that three years after you decided to enhance the locket classic with charms?

Here’s a quote from the Forbes article “So important is it that she learns about her company from the ground up that she’s taken on the role of intern at her own enterprise. After school she visits the company HQ and helps out and, in the summer, spends time in each department.”

There were two things that really struck me about that excerpt. The second was, someone writing for Forbes should have a better clue about effective sentence structure. More importantly, I was amazed at the maturity this gal shows to realize there was a lot she could learn from the people and processes in place at a company she owns. That kind of thinking is what makes a successful entrepreneur.

If you want to read more about Origami Owl and Isabella “Bella” Weems, you can find the Forbes article on this small business success story here.

10 Responses to Small business success story fun – 17 YO gal projecting $250 million in sales
  1. Shasheta
    October 24, 2013 | 2:03 am

    I’ve always admired people who know what they want and most importantly, they can achieve it. 🙂

    • Nanette Levin
      October 25, 2013 | 7:30 pm

      Me too, Shasheta. I used to be one of them :-).

  2. Chef William
    October 24, 2013 | 2:27 am

    Great to see that there are those that reach their goals at such a young age but are smart enough to understand what they don’t understand about owning a business. Thanks for the smile and good thoughts.

    • Nanette Levin
      October 25, 2013 | 7:31 pm

      Agreed, Chef William. What impressed me more about this story was her penchant for learning. A lot of kids would have looked at success as the end-all.

  3. Julia Neiman
    October 24, 2013 | 2:51 am

    Thank you for sharing this story Nanette. These stories grab my heart. How lucky this girl is to have parents who told her to go for it and didn’t tell her she couldn’t drive at 16.

    • Nanette Levin
      October 25, 2013 | 7:32 pm

      Mine too, Julia. It’s amazing how a simple decision from a mentor or guide or parent or peer can change the direction of one’s life, isn’t it?

  4. Alli Farkas
    October 24, 2013 | 3:47 pm

    Gotta say it’s quite a story. It also helped that she has so many family members with business experience who made her idea fly.

    • Nanette Levin
      October 25, 2013 | 7:33 pm

      It will be interesting to see how this story morphs over the next year or two. You’re right, Alli, I’m sure the support team she already had in place were big factors in her success.

  5. Debra Jason
    October 24, 2013 | 6:03 pm

    What a fabulous role model she is for others. I’m glad to see Julia Neiman read this as she does awesome work to help empower young entrepreneurs.

    Thanks. ~Debra

    • Nanette Levin
      October 31, 2013 | 11:05 pm

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Debra. Agreed, Julia is working hard to help our youth consider the possibilities with entrepreneurship. I’m always happy to see her stop in and share her perspectives.

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