What do Mark Zuckerberg, Matthew Mullenweg, David Karp, Blake Ross and Jo Malone have in common?
They were all entrepreneurs at a young age. Now, they are millionaires.
Of course, we know Zuckerberg founded Facebook. He was just 19. Mullenweg established WordPress before he was 20. Karp created Tumblr at 21, while Ross launched Mozilla Firefox at 19.
Jo Malone was just 9 when she made perfumes out of grated Camay soap and flowers from her garden. In 1999, she sold her company to Estée Lauder for “undisclosed millions,” sources say.
Then there’s Maya Penn, who, as an 8-year-old, founded Maya’s Ideas — a company that sells environmentally sustainable fashion accessories. And Evan Moana — YouTube’s youngest millionaire of 2016 — who started EvanTubeHD when he was in the fourth grade. The channel, with more than 6 million subscribers, reviews children’s toys.
You may have seen Pittsburgh’s Lani Lazzari on ABC’s Shark Tank. At the age of 11, Lazzari started making skincare products in her mom’s kitchen, looking for a solution to her own sensitive skin issues. In 2013, she pitched her company, Simple Sugars, on Shark Tank and received a $100,000 investment. It’s now worth millions.
NEVER TOO YOUNG
All of the above have certainly proven you’re never too young to pursue your passion, to make your own way.
And preparing to follow in these famous footsteps are a couple of dozen local entrepreneurs, ages 5 to 17, who will step into the business spotlight on Saturday, Oct. 5.
More than 20 children will be selling their wares at the first-ever Little Entrepreneurs Fair, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Corpus Christi Parish Center, 1508 Warwood Ave., in Wheeling. Shoppers on Saturday can choose from paintings, magnets, hair accessories, jewelry, toys, books, drawings and more.
AREA YOUTH ‘ARE THE FUTURE’
“At Corpus Christi, we know that the youth of our area are the future of the Ohio Valley,” said Shannon Wall, event coordinator.
“As an educator and mother, I believe it is important to let children know that we see them as individuals and a significant part of our community. To let them know that we believe in them and want them to succeed. It is our job to help nurture a positive and uplifting environment for their imaginations to run wild!”
And, that is why Little Entrepreneurs Fair was created.
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
“[The event] is an entrepreneurial learning fair that allows kids to gain experience in owning their own business for a day,” Wall said.
Each child has the opportunity to market, brand and sell their own wares, Wall explained.
“The children created everything for their business from the name of their business to pricing the items,” she said.
The youngest entrepreneur to participate on Saturday is Cole Field. The kindergarten student is selling magnets that he and his mom made.
“It was cool making magnets with my mom,” Cole said. “I think people will like them sticking in their house. It is fun that I might make some money.”
LOTS TO CHOOSE FROM
“We have a couple crafters selling homemade scrunchies and several with friendship bracelets. We have two older high school girls who are selling sugar scrubs. We also have a group of kids who got together and are selling used toys and books. … We also have two children selling drawings and paintings, one selling pictures they took of the Ohio Valley. There are baked goods, tie-dyed shirts and headbands, and some home décor,” Wall said.
First-grader Destiny Angelucci made a variety of items for the sale. “I am so excited because I got to make bracelets, scrunchies and Play-Doh with my mom-mom! If I make any money, then I am going to buy LOL dolls and make more stuff to sell,” she said.
Addison Wall, a fifth-grader, is selling hair scrunchies. “I love making scrunchies out of material that I find. I am excited to see people maybe buy them and wear them,” Addison shared.
Several of the crafters are from Corpus Christi, but because the event was open to the public, there are students from other schools participating as well.
“Please stop by to support, encourage and motivate these children who have worked so hard,” said Wall. “Any sales a little entrepreneur make will go directly to that child so they can continue to grow their business. Events like this are only successful thanks to the support of our wonderful city.”
And hey, Destiny and Addison, according to a published account, Lani Lazzari sold hair scrunchies out of a backpack when she was in third grade. Did I mention that she’s a millionaire now?
• Having spent nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal now serves as Weelunk’s managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.