Think you’re too young for a startup? Not thinking about startup because you’re a still a school student? or because you think you’re too immature to face the outer world? Let’s take a look at this company Origami Owls, founded by Bella Weems at the age of fourteen (at 2011). By 2013, Origami Owls had 373 employees and the company had generated a revenue of $250 million.
Origami Owls is an american direct custom jewelry company, currently operating in Puerto Rico, Canada and the USA. A kidpreneur (kid-entrepreneur) Bella Weems founded the company in 2011, when she was just 14 years old. She never meant to start a company, only wanted to save up enough for her to buy a car (before her 16th birthday) which her parents refused to buy. Instead, they asked her to “earn it”. With a determination of making enough money to buy a car for herself, she started babysitting and a bit of something she loved doing – handcrafting locket necklaces and other jewelries.
Bella started by selling her handcrafted jewelry to her relatives and friends at family parties and boutiques. Her mother, Chrissy Weems ( currently the company President), helped her out a little bit, but mostly she was on her own. By the time she was 14 she opened up the company, Origami Owls. She believed that every jewelry carried a story in a girl’s life and that’s what she did with Origami Owls- created story out of jewelry and named them as ‘Living Lockets’. By the age of 16, Bella Weems was in a prestigious position – founder of Origami Owls, a custom jewelry company witha revenue of over $250 million.
Origami Owl’s flagship product, the “Living Locket,” allows customers to build their own jewelry by mixing and matching the chains, charms and lockets themselves, some of which come adorned with Swarovski crystals. The lockets are transparent and showcase tiny metal charms that represent the wearer’s personality and hobbies. Apart from Living Lockets, the company also sells earrings, bracelets and other accessories.
In 2013, Origami Owls co-sponsored a huge event – Big Machine Label Group’s star-studded CMA Awards after party in Nashville, Tenn. Here, biggest stars from the music industry of the country were invited to make two ‘Living Lockets’ – one for their personal keepsake, the other for autistic children in Vanderbilt hospital. The stars were given to choose amongst a thousands of charms to tell their story. The stars included Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Lucy Hale, Rascal Flatts and many others.
Today, alongside her mom, Bella leads a team of hundreds of employees and thousands of independent jewelry designers the world over. Through her inspiring Owlettes initiative, Bella personally mentors aspiring young entrepreneurs like herself(ages 12 through 17). She shares some of the practical business and leadership skills she picked up on her entrepreneurial journey.
Bella’s advice for aspiring kidpreneurs: “Take a leap of faith, surround yourself with people who believe in you, follow your heart and always remember you are never too young to achieve a big dream. Also, a positive attitude is a must. Remember things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay, but, no matter what, keep on smiling and enjoy the journey.”