Teens In Business: Tessa - Piggy Makes Bank

Teens In Business: Tessa

In honor of the upcoming Youth Day Carnival, we thought it would be appropriate to interview a teen business owner. We choose to interview Tessa, one of the two teen sisters behind Pre-Wrap.com about their success as teen entrepreneurs. If you have a young teen looking to earn a little money and be their own boss, check out Kids Business Ideas, a great eBook written by Tessa's mother.

Can you start off by telling us a little about yourself?

I'm Tessa and I live in a small New England town. I'll be a junior in high school this year and I LOVE playing volleyball. I also play flute in the wind ensemble, enjoy hanging around with my Special Olympic buddies, and am crazy about animals. If I'm not at volleyball, you should check the local pond 'cause I might be catching frogs.

Can you tell us a little about what you do and how you started?

It all started when I tried pre-wrap from my friend at a soccer game. I absolutely loved it and begged my mom to get me a roll. The rest is history. She couldn't find it anywhere and ended up buying it in bulk on eBay. She told me to get rid of the extras by selling it to my friends and teammates. She told me that if I sold it to them, I could keep the money. Surprise! I sold it all and took orders for a bunch more.

How have your parents influenced your decision to start a business?

Both of my parents have their own business and life in our house is different than most. No one works any set hours or has to commute to an office, although I know my parents work hard at what they do. My mother was so excited when I came home with so many new orders, she sat me down and suggested that it might be a good side business for me and a way to make some extra cash for fun things.

How have your friends influenced your decision to start a business?

They didn't really influence me to start, but they definitely help me to keep it going and build it. My teammates were excited when I brought ppre-wrap to the field and also helped me decide on new colors. I know if my friends love something, then I will be able to sell it to other teens. They are very supportive and even pack pre-wrap when they come to my house.

Do you find that your friends treat you differently when they find out about your business?

I get a little more attention and maybe respect when the story comes out. Sometimes people don't believe me, but when I tell them the website they are surprised. They always come to me when they need pre-wrap. Some call me pre-wrap OCD. I guess it's a little weird to have a business at my age, but it's fun and I like the attention.

Do you find it more difficult to be taken seriously or does the internet take away most prejudices?

People ask me if it's really my business. Mostly I find that people love our story – they love the fact that I am a teen and want to support us. Most of our customers are teens or parents of teens, so they think it's cool.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding time to do everything on top of schoolwork and sports is the biggest challenge. Second would probably be maintaining a good amount of inventory.

What has been your biggest success?

Starting new colors has been our biggest success. We were the first to have hot pink pre-wrap, and now we have an exclusive color – lime green, which has been a huge hit.

How do you balance work and school?

It's hard – there is so much work to be done. I have to hire help – usually family members.

To what do you attribute your success as a youth entrepreneur?

Kids know what their peers like and don't like. I'm lucky that we have such a fun product that people really want – it practically sells itself.

Is there anything else that you want to share with the readers?

Believe in yourself! Selling doesn't have to be hard. Find a product that people are hungry for and have fun with it. Make it your own. Put your own spin on things, and let your personality take over.

What is one thing you can’t do without in your business?

Pre-wrap! Haha! If the internet goes down, we're in big trouble. Same goes for our shipping companies. And of course, our customers. Sounds basic, but it really is all true.

What advice would you give other youth wanting to start their own business?

You really need to start small and have fun with it. I started out with just my teammates and a small amount of product. I moved on to local tournaments, eBay, and my summer camps. When we added a one-page website, business began to boom. It's really helpful to have a supportive family that can help out, especially with credit cards and other things that require you to be at least 18 years old. When I first started, I wasn't even old enough to sign my own checks.

If you have a young teen looking to earn a little money and be their own boss, check out Kids Business Ideas, a great eBook written by Tessa's mother.