Meet three young entrepreneurs taking care of Business in the Midlands
By Whitney Sullivan
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The United States is at a 40-year low in new business startups, according to the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.
It is one of the reasons the non-profit organization says the community needs to encourage kids and teens who want to start their own business.
“They’re going to be beefing up the economy in the future,” said Frank Knapp, the president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce.
“We need to make it easier on them to start businesses because they are the ones who are going to be growing those businesses,” said Knapp. “If they’re online, they’re going to grow them into a store, they’re going to brick and mortar, they’re going be hiring people.”
He says the road to entrepreneurship is not always easy explaining, “But running a business takes time, it takes effort, and you have to be willing to invest your time and whatever resources you might have into making that business a success.”
The Midlands is full of kids and teens who have invested their time, talents and money to start businesses.
News 19 interviewed three young Midlands entrepreneurs who are running successful small businesses.
Braylin King: 9-years-old
Braylin King is creating all-natural treats for man’s best friend through his business Bray Bites Natural Animal Treats.
King started making dog treats to diversify his pet dog Rocky’s diet. “I saw my dog Rocky…he was on the ground hungry for something different than his regular dog food,” King explained.
They were a hit with Rocky and his neighbor’s dog, so he decided to sell them to make a little extra money.
King says he uses the money from the business to buy ingredients and things like Pokemon cards as well as gifts for his family and pets.
The fourth-grader says he has big plans for his business. He plans to open his own shop by the time he is 15-years-old. Looking toward the future he said, “I’ll have loyal customers and clients.”
King hopes to follow in his parents footsteps. “My dad is a boss and I really want to be a boss like him.”
King’s mom is also a business owner and helps him bake treats. “She has her own shop and I want to have a shop like her,” he said.
Moving forward, he is looking at expanding his business by offering treats for other animals.
Tyra Jefferson: 16-years-old
Tyra Jefferson is spicing up dishes around the state with her business, Tyra’s Big World of Flavor.
“I’ve had my business for about six years now,” said Jefferson. “I started when I was 11 after I was on Food Network Star Kids and Kids Barbecue Championship,” she explained. “But I didn’t want to just stop at Food Network.”
Jefferson is a caterer, personal chef, cooking demonstrator, seasoning developer, motivational speaker, author and she makes logo.
Even with a stacked resume, she still feels like she has just scratched the surface of what she is capable of. “There’s still more I can do, it’s only up from here,” Jefferson said.
Her mom, who is her sous chef and accountant, also serves as a source of inspiration. “I can definitely say that my mom is the reason that I keep going with my business,” said Jefferson.
“I also just want to become successful to the point where I could, you know, help my mom get her own house, so she won’t have to worry about scraping anything together to help me achieve my goals,” Jefferson said.
Her goals include expanding her business and eventually hiring employees. “As my business gets bigger, I’m probably going to think about hiring some teens,” she said. Jefferson said it will also give her the opportunity to help teens who want to learn more about cooking.
Currently, Jefferson is preparing for a trip to Florida. She was selected to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy. “I’m really excited to learn more about leadership and it’s a good marketing opportunity.”
Ava Beyer: 16-years-old
For 16-year-old Ava Beyer, the mission of her business is clear: spread joy and make meaningful connections.
“I like seeing people’s smile on their face when they get to open their package and wear their earrings,” Beyer said. It’s one of the reason she is so intentional about the packaging of her products.
Beyer started her business, Joyful Creations, during the height of the pandemic to stay busy.
It quickly grew in popularity and now she is shipping her products around the globe.
Beyers sells everything from jewelry to cups and stickers.
She says she spends at least two hours a day on her business. Beyer balances the responsibilities of being a business owner with school, serving with her church’s children’s ministry, attending her small group and maintaining a social life.
Regardless of her busy schedule, she makes it a priority to build genuine relationships with her customers. “I like to make friendships and relationships out of it and get to know people as I’m selling earrings,” she said. “So one of the reasons I do pop-ups or markets is because I get to meet people.”
Beyer also invests her money in the community. Earlier this month, she donated 30% of the money made from orders to help fund some high school students’ trip to Young Life Camp. “Partnering with people is a really fun thing I love to do,” she said.
Ava credits her dad and sister for showing her the ropes when it comes to running a successful business.” My dad is an entrepreneur, when he was about my age, he started a lawn care business,” Beyer explained. “And that has continued to grow. He does Yellow Dog Lawn Care. And then my older sister Emma Grace has carried on our family coffee shop.”
When asked about the future of her Joyful Creations, Beyer says she wants to continue to spread joy and take this business as far as it will go.