Archive for Millennial Enrepreneuers

Kaylena Marie’s Bakery: A Vision of an Entrepreneur

Back at home in Orchard Park, a girl who graduated one year before me in high school opened up her own artisan bakery in town! Kaylena Marie Eisenhower is a twenty-year-old entrepreneur who started selling her baked goods online at a very young age. Throughout high school, Kaylena continued to cater and sell various baked goods, even if that meant waking up very early in the morning to send out shipments before school started at 7. After graduating high school, Kaylena spent 2 years studying Culinary Arts to further her education. During this last year, Kaylena transformed a small rental space into a gorgeous artisan cafe, where anyone can order pastries, sandwiches, coffee, and a whole lot more. The store spaced has been transformed into a beautiful, comfortable atmosphere. Before coming back to GCC, I stopped by the bakery for the first time. The bakery opened at 8am, and there was a line outside of her shop waiting for the freshly baked goods. With the help of her family and friends, Kaylena has offered Orchard Park a wonderful space for community, creativity, and bliss.

Wicked Good Cupcakes (with a wicked twist)

There is no question that I always have room for dessert. Cupcakes are known for being delicious individual desserts that are great for almost any occasion when you don’t want to get messy cutting up a cake. The problem with cupcakes is that they tend to fall or role around if you are transporting them somewhere…How could you transport and ship cupcakes without disappointing the customer?! Solution? Put the cupcake in a cup (or a jar)!!! This is exactly what a mother and daughter came up with for their growing bakery. Tracey and her daughter Dani now have a 20 million dollar business selling cupcakes in jars! Who would have thought?!

This duo has been seen on the show SharkTank and they even won over Mr. Wonderful himself.

(03/04/2015 Marshfield, MA) Wicked Good Cupcakes Tracey Noonan, right, and Danielle Vilagie (on left) got a major national boost in 2013 for their popular locally based mail order cupcake business with an investment from Kevin O'Leary, center, of Shark Tank. Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Staff Photo by Matt West

Focusing specifically on the millennial in this duo, Dani says not many 25 year olds have the privilege of owning a multi-million dollar company. I would go further to say that most people don’t see that much revenue in a lifetime.

Dani has proven that providing simple solutions can be the most elegant and effective business strategy. It’s new. It’s different. It’s tasty. And most importantly it sells. Dani also has an edgy style which is probably what gives a personal touch to the company’s name. Wicked Good Cupcakes got its foothold by making wicked good cupcakes…but the niche of being able to put it in a classy jar and ship it anywhere just opened up a whole new level of customers they couldn’t reach before.

Dani and her mom are a team. Dani, as a millennial entrepreneur, was able to offer a newness to the family recipes that I’m sure her mom aided in concocting. Their website is welcoming and enticing…which makes me even more curious to see how tasty these cupcakes are. I might just have to give into my sweet-tooth and order some. (It does look a little pricey though…so maybe I’ll save the order for a special occasion.)

Shop for some Wicked Good Cupcakes

Not Your Typical Lemonade Stand

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Four. That’s how old Mikaila Ulmer was when her parents first encouraged her to enter into a children’s business competition. She put on her thinking cap and went to work playing with some ideas. During this brainstorming process two big things happened in 4 year old Mikaila’s life…She was stung by a bee twice and her Great Granny sent her family an old cookbook, including her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade. Although bees originally scared her after her experience she became fascinated with the creatures, learning about how they benefit the ecosystem. She wanted to do something to help honeybees. Out of this desire, Me & the Bees Lemonade was born (Originally “Bee Sweet Lemonade”). The recipe comes from Great Granny Helen’s cook book and is sweetened with local honey. She donates a percentage of the profits to local and international organizations that are fighting to save the honeybees. “Buy a bottle…Save a Bee.” Now 11 years old, Mikaila snagged a $60,000 deal on shark tank with Daymond John. Her refreshing and healthy beverage is flying off the shelves of Whole Foods Market and is available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food deliver companies. She even leads workshops on how to save the honeybees.

At 11 years old Mikaila Ulmer is a social entrepreneur, bee ambassador educator and student.

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Actress Turned Entrepreneur

lauren-conrad-1Lauren Conrad is a well-known actress and reality-TV show star however most people do not know that she has become a successful young entrepreneur, owning two clothing lines as well as a book franchise and two websites. She used her fame and publicity to help launch her first clothing line and demonstrate that she wasn’t just the next star to create a business on a whim, instead she was committed and passionate about where she wanted her business to go. In 2007, she launched her first clothing line, The Lauren Conrad Collection. Although it ended up being a dismal failure, she learned and grew through her mistakes and launched a second, successful clothing line in 2009, LC by Lauren Conrad, in conjunction with the retailer Kohls. Since then, she has launched another clothing company, Paper Crown, written eight books, and started two websites.

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In 2013, Lauren and her friend Hannah Skvarla were inspired to start a non-profit named the Little Market. It is a company that empowers women artisans and provides a market for their products to be sold in order to provide for their families. Today, The Little Market partners with 26 artisans in 16 countries to carry their products and they hope to grow that number even more.

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Lauren has found much success with her products and websites, however she is not stopping there. She said stated that she no interest in returning to television, instead she wants to continue on with her businesses and keep doing what she loves. Lauren Conrad is a millennial entrepreneur who gives a wonderful example of using fame and success to get where she wanted to be, entrepreneurial, and then taking her success from there and giving back to others with dreams just like hers.

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Her personal website: https://laurenconrad.com/

The Little Market website: https://www.thelittlemarket.com/

 

StyleSeat

Have you ever received a bad hair cut? Melody McCloskey has, and she turned this experience into a business. McCloskey in the founder and CEO of StyleSeat, which is an app that connects hair stylists and customers looking for a haircut.

McCloskey was tired of the hassle of booking hair appointments. She found it frustrating when she called a salon sometimes stylists wouldn’t answer the phone or when they did, you just received a random appointment with a random stylist that wasn’t even good at what she wanted to be done. McCloskey decided to fix this problem with her app. StyleSeat makes it easy to book hair appointments with specific stylists. You can search for stylists by where you are and even by what the stylist specializes in. This is such a wonderful tool not only for people in need of a haircut, also stylists. Stylists can promote themselves for what they are really good at and what they prefer to do.

Melody McCloskey really stood out to me because she experienced a problem and made it into a successful business idea. This is such a great entrepreneurial quality to have. I love how she tapped into an industry that pretty much everyone utilizes and made it better. The cosmetology industry is already a saturated industry, but McCloskey found a way to innovate and come up with something new.

 

 

 

Better Life Bags

What started as a personal craft project grew to an Etsy store, to a Pinterest phenomenon, and then to a full-scale business- helping people all along the way.

Rebecca Smith made herself a diaper bag, posting the images on Facebook; she was very unaware of what an impact those images going public would have. She received many compliments suggesting and inspiring her to start an Etsy shop selling these bags. The shop is called Better Life Bags, in reference to 10% of profits being donated to people in third world countries helping them start their own businesses. The bags, in addition to being practical and cute, allow the customer to pick from a wide variety of fabrics and leathers letting one totally customize the accessory.

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BLB allows you to chooses the leather and fabric colors to create a bag perfectly matching your style. [via]

When a well-known blogger, and then her  many followers, saw the brilliance of this customization and pinned one of her bags, orders flooded in. The number of orders far exceeded what Rachel’s one-woman operation could fill.  Faced with the decision to either quit the business or expand, she rejected the idea of moving production overseas reaching out instead to women in her neighborhood. Smith lives in a neighborhood swirling with diversity and filled with women who have “various barriers to employment,” whether they be cultural or religious. A neighbor from Yemen, Nadia, who is unable to leave her home to work, became Rachel’s first employee. As the business has grown, Rachel has been able to hire many other local women allowing them to provide simple necessities like food and furniture for their families.

These charming bags with cute, customizable colors & choice craftsmanship really live up to their name. Not only will they make your life better, they help Rachel Smith employee those in her community with barriers to employment.

All Natural Hair Product

Leanna Archer was only nine years old when neighbors and friends started asking what hair products she used, and where they could get some for themselves. She started packaging samples of her Haitian great-grandmother’s secret hair product recipes in Gerber jars and giving them out to friends until people began showing up at her door with money asking how much they could get with the money they had to offer.

Fast forward to age eleven, where Leanna was selling more than ever before and launched her initial brand, Leanna’s Hair. Her all-natural hair products, with no parabens, sulfates, or other harsh chemicals, started selling all across the country and expanded to world-wide. Surprisingly, one of her top buying countries is Singapore. A few years later she re-branded as Leanna’s Essentials, which has remained the brand’s name.

Leanna’s Haitian background influenced her greatly, and in 2008 she visited the country for the first time. After seeing the poverty and pain, she started the Leanna Archer Education Foundation, which supported over 200 Haitian children with their education and basic needs. She became the youngest person to ever ring the NASDAQ opening bell on Wall Street at age 13, and her foundation was endorsed by Janet Jackson. Leanna has also been featured on numerous major media outlets, including Forbes, CNN, Time, ABC, and NBC to name just a few.

When she’s not selling her products, Leanna is travelling the country as a motivational speaker and guest lecturer at universities. Her hope is to become a politician, and use her influence to help impact the lives of even more people. What started as a secret recipe from her great-grandmother grew to become a multi-faceted empire. While no longer alive, her great-grandmother saw much of Leanna’s success, and was proud to the very end. Leanna found a need in natural hair care, and that opportunity has become a chance to change the world.

Suja Juice: A Lifestyle

suja-juice-1Annie Lawless had many health issues as a child and young adult and a result of that discovered a new found passion for health and nutrition in her teenage years. This passion and expertise in nutrition led her to found, with several co-founders with similar passions, Suja Juice.

Suja Juice makes organic cold-pressured juices and smoothies. In 2015, they were named #2 on Forbes “Most Promising Companies: The Top 20 of 2015.” They have remained popular and have received much attention and acclaim for their products. In January, Suja was valued at more than $300 million and they are expected to reach $70 million in sales this year.

 

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Annie Lawless created a business that she, and her co-founders, were passionate about and grew that business because she also found a niche that consumers were passionate about.  The nutrition and health food market is one that is extremely specialized and each consumer has their very own favorite good that he or she seeks out which can be deflating or inflating for companies. Suja Juice is a company that offers a product that many consumers will go out of their way to find, which shows success in what the company is making and doing. Annie Lawless is a millennial entrepreneur who fully embodies the spirit of what being a millennial entrepreneur means and practices it every day. Well done, Annie!

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You can Suja Juice’s website here: https://www.sujajuice.com/

You can also find Annie Lawless’ personal blog here: http://blawnde.com/

 

Home Owner at 14

When the recession hit and the housing market crashed, Willow Tufano’s mother, who is a real estate agent, was seeing $100,000 homes sell for $12,000. Willow already enjoyed clearing houses and reselling the items she found, so she thought, why not buy a house! At the age of 14, Willow bought her first house at $12,000, which she split with her mom. Willow fixed up the house and put it on the market for rent. She successfully rented the house out for $700 a month and quickly made her money back.

Willow was also being noticed now that she was a 14 year old home owner. Ellen asked her to be on her show and said that Willow was such an amazing kid! Although Willow didn’t think of herself as amazing, or different, she then started getting calls from many different TV shows and even a college. She was called by Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper, a Korean show, and by a college in Alabama to give a talk. Willow flew to Alabama to give a talk despite being very nervous, and did great!

This might not be a traditional business start-up, but Willow Tufano is definitely an entrepreneur. Now 15, she has bought another house. Willow is a true inspiration to just go for it, a walking example of the analogy “ready, fire, aim”.

Did Someone Say Scholarships?

In the big bad world of college searching and funding every student will ask the question “how much?” This question almost always refers to both how much it actually is to go to a school and how much scholarship said school will allot them. However, most students do not know about outside-of-school funding, whether it be state or private funding. The reason being is because of the hassle of the applications for said other scholarships and thus students leave a great asset and well of wealth to the wayside. But now there is a brilliant App/Website designed by a student to help students with their funding needs. Scholly is the brilliant and much needed brainchild of Christopher Gray. Being a low-income student himself, Gray searched for months during his latter years of high school applying for various scholarships until he had racked up enough cash to cover all college fees and then some. The process he went through however, was not an easy one nor a quick one. Thus, Scholly was born. Designed to easily connect students to private scholarships, Gray and his co-founders Nick Pirollo and Bryson Alief came up with an 8 parameter algorithm for easy scholarship connections. Even though it is practically a brand new company, Scholly has helped give out over $20,000,000 to 600,000 users since early 2015. From Chris Gray and me to my fellow broke classmates who are required to write comments; you’re welcome.