Some kids mow lawns, others sell lemonade, but these local businesspeople are redefining what it means to be a young entrepreneur.
Forget about Shark Tank. These local entrepreneurs, despite their young age, found their own way to turn various special interests into successful businesses. With shared ambition, this group of teens (and even preteens!) chose to believe in themselves while pushing toward success.
Success with Slime
Just a drizzle of glue and a sprinkle of borax was all it took for Kaitlyn Horanic to become hooked on the latest preteen craze: gooey, squishy, stretchy slime.
“About a year ago, everyone at my school was playing with and making slime, so I wanted to try it out,” says Kaitlyn, who lives in Sanford with her parents and twin baby brothers. Her dad is Dr. Dennis Horanic of Lake Forest Dentistry. “I watched some YouTube videos, bought a few supplies, and jumped in.”
But Kaitlyn, now in sixth grade, quickly realized that working with slime was more than just the latest trend; it also benefited her on a personal level by helping to ease her anxieties.
“When I’m nervous about something, I squeeze and stretch my slime, and it calms me down in almost any situation,” Kaitlyn says.
As her slime-making knowledge grew, Kaitlyn began to create unique formulas by adding food dye and fragrance, as well as ingredients like instant snow, clay, and shaving cream to achieve different textures.
“It’s hard when you put a lot of time and effort into something,” says Kaitlyn. “Anything can happen, and it could fail. But you just have to block that out.”
Her positive outlook paid off. When more and more people became interested in her slime, Kaitlyn began selling her creations online via an Etsy.com store called Mystery Slimery Shop. The store features popular formulas like Frozen Pink Lemonade and Strawberry Cracker Crumbs Crunchy Slime, and Kaitlyn’s Instagram account @MysterySlimery also grew quickly to include thousands of followers.
Her products were recently recognized on a national level when Kaitlyn was asked to sell her slime at the invitation-only Slime Bash Daytona in January.
“People come from all over the world to these events,” says Kaitlyn. “It’s fun to be part of the slime community.”
Through her slime-making venture, Kaitlyn has learned to become more responsible, outspoken, and confident. She even has an answer for those who might wonder how she could possibly earn a profit selling slime.
“I feel like you can make a business out of anything if you are passionate about it and put your heart into it,” Kaitlyn says.
Sitting Service Dream Trio
Whether they are working their magic to lull a toddler to sleep or coaxing a neighborhood puppy to sit for a treat, one thing is certain: this dream team has everything under control.
The decision to work together came naturally for three Lake Mary High School freshmen – Maddie Bajgier, Kapitalina “Kapa” Evans, and Sydney Gross. Friends first, the girls soon recognized that they shared a passion for helping others. Since they already had experience babysitting and caring for pets, they combined forces to start MKS Sitting Service.
“We started this service because we love working together and also enjoy working with animals and kids,” Kapa says. “We figured that three is better than one, so we all agreed to start this journey together.”
The trio provides any type of sitting services, from caring for children to walking or feeding dogs – anything to make it easier for parents and caregivers. The girls are CPR and first-aid certified.
“We really enjoy being around kids and letting their imaginations soar,” says Sydney. “I love to see their smiling faces after being with them, knowing how happy and comfortable we’ve made them feel.”
Because Maddie, Kapa, and Sydney share many talents, the kids they care for benefit all around.
Maddie has a passion for cooking and knows how to work with allergies and dietary restrictions. She has celiac disease herself, so she knows the importance of making sure kids are having fun while being safe. Sydney has a love for the performing arts and hopes to pursue a career in theater education. Kapa, in keeping with family tradition, wants to be a pediatrician.
“I have learned that different tricks work for different kids,” Kapa says. “Somehow, we always manage to get them to fall asleep at bedtime.”
“I also enjoy the responsibility and being a leader around youths,” Maddie says.
Of course, these teens also inject a certain level of fun and enthusiasm into their business.
“We love to take selfies!” says Sydney. “If we are walking a dog, we might take a photo and send it to the owner. It’s just our way of saying, ‘Everything is going great here.’
The girls promote their services on the MKS Sitting Service Facebook page, and they are putting their earnings aside to save for college, but they agree that the most rewarding part of their partnership has been seeing each other grow while also serving the community.
“Being all together while helping others is what makes us smile,” says Maddie.
Soap Making Clean Sweep
For nine-year-old Carter Pearson, having an entrepreneurial spirit is in his blood. Following in his father’s footsteps, Carter has a knack for recognizing opportunity.
“I’ve always loved making money,” says Carter, who lives in Casselberry. “When I was little, I used to take food from the house and sell it back to family members as snacks.”
When he was just seven, Carter began making homemade soaps and bath products, and his venture has been growing ever since.
“I wanted to make Christmas presents for my three sisters, and they were always buying those expensive bath bombs, so I thought, ‘Let me see if I can make these myself,’” Carter says.
Carter perfected his formulations in the family kitchen, and when his mother shared the results on social media, people started asking if they could buy the products.
As demand grew through word-of-mouth, Carter chose the name Body Candy by Carter (because the products resemble candy), designed business cards, and devoted more than 1,000 hours to get the business up and running. When sales took off, Carter began to outsource the manufacturing. His formulas are proprietary, and he insists all production is done within the United States.
“My Golden Glitter Bath Bombs were the first to sell out,” Carter says with pride.
Today, Body Candy by Carter offers handcrafted gourmet soaps, lip balms, bath bombs, body scrub bars, and the currently popular loofah soaps. The products are available in some local retail stores, including My Oviedo Store in downtown Oviedo, and Carter sells his wares at other events throughout Central Florida and on his website, BodyCandyByCarter.com.
Carter puts most of the money he earns into the bank, but he also saved up enough to buy his first phone, figuring that it might be helpful to have one as a business owner.
“I also took my whole family out for dinner at a hibachi restaurant,” says Carter, never one to forget those who helped him get his start.
Success is for the Dogs
Twelve-year-old Nicholas Schmid of Heathrow runs a daily dog-sitting/walking business and watches the pets of neighbors who travel. To supplement his income, Nicholas also washes cars, weeds yards, and does some yard work.
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