Entrepreneurs come in all ages. Case in point: Dara Dember of Austin, Texas. Dara launched her own fashion accessories business at age 9. Today Dara juggles being a straight-A student, running an Etsy store, has two successful Kickstarter projects under her belt, and aims to wholesale her popular designs.
It started in 2008. Dara’s dad received a box of small, polished wood slats, surplus from a business contact, sparking her entrepreneurial spirit. Dara decided to make bracelets.
Producing stuff is one thing, but you also have to sell it. Dara needed a sales channel, one that fit with a 9-year-old’s marketing experience. As a result, she set up a display table on a street corner near her home, where she’d sold lemonade. Dara quickly began making more money than with soft drinks. Fashion was the way to go!
Dara also did what major companies do: she picked a charity partner. A lifelong vegetarian and animal lover, she chose Friends for Life, a no-kill animal shelter. A portion of every dollar earned at her sales table went to Friends for Life.
From her earnings Dara also paid for parts, materials and displays. Her dad showed her how to track costs and value her time, so she could tell if the business was earning enough money at a given price point. She learned to make her own adjustments.
Occasionally being a kid can open doors. With a nod from a kindly manager, Dara was sometimes able to set up her table in a local retail store. She also sold at a downtown farmer’s market.
As Dara grew, so did her vision. By 2012, she was ready for the Web. Dara chose a business name, Goes With Everything (goeswitheverything.com) and launched her Etsy store. She also launched her first Kickstarter project, Bracelets by Dara. Inspired by this success, Dara spent nearly a year designing matching necklaces and ponytail cuffs. She had to learn how to work with jewelry findings and an unusual silver-plated, multi-strand wire to make her necklaces. Her second successful Kickstarter project, Necklaces by Dara, completed December 2013.
What’s next for this veteran entrepreneur? Dara’s now looking for fashion boutiques to carry her Goes With Everything line — currently necklaces, bracelets and ponytail cuffs. And she’s thinking about studying fashion in college. You know, as a career.
As if she didn’t already have one.
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