Here is a great article written by Sarah Cook for her website Raising CEO Kids...You can read the entire article and visit their awesome website here:
You are here: Home » Spotlight on Young Entrepreneur – Hayleigh Scott of Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms
Get ready for an amazing story of a young entrepreneur who had to wait a few years just to describe the invention she had created in her head!
Sarah: Hayleigh please tell me how you got started and where CEO Kids and parents can find out more info about you.
Hayleigh: When I was five I was drawing pictures at my grandmothers kitchen table in Texas. My parents walked in and asked what I was drawing. I told them I was drawing charms for hearing aids. My mom didn’t understand the drawings so she couldn’t understand how you could make them until a few years later. Finally, I was able to interpret the drawings to her and we immediately started the process of getting a patent for my hearing aid charms, tube twists, and hearing aid scrunchies. I opened an online store called Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms and you can also friend me on Facebook. I have been interviewed in books and magazines, spoken and presented at hearing impaired conferences. In October 2010 I won the Oticon Focus on People Student Award for helping to eliminate the negative stereotypes for being hearing impaired.
Sarah: What an amazing story Hayleigh! Where did you come up with your idea and what investigation did you do to help you know that this would be a great business?
Hayleigh: I didn’t want to hide my hearing aids. I wanted to make them fancy. So I came up with the idea in my mind of a way to decorate your hearing aids. I did research online to make sure that nothing like this existed for kids and adults. This was an important part of applying for a patent from the US Patent Attorney Office.
Sarah: So true! It is really important to do all your research! We learned that the hard way! What do you think are the most important skills you have that help you in business?
Hayleigh: One of the most important skills that I consider that I have is that most people can relate to me because I am hearing impaired. A lot of hearing impaired kids and adults can relate to my life story and they email me and we develop a friendship through email. It has been amazing hearing some of their stories and sharing their joy in finding a product that is perfect for them!
Sarah: What were the biggest obstacles, problems you had in getting started in business?
Hayleigh: Knowing where to get supplies was one of the biggest obstacles. Another obstacle was creating the product. This was very difficult. Also, getting people to my website was a challenge.
Sarah: How old were you when you started and how old are you now? How does your age affect your business success?
Hayleigh: I came up with the idea when I was 5 years old but I didn’t start until I was 8 years old. My online business, Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms began when I was 10 years old. Now, I am almost 12 and schoolwork is heavier. I am finding it challenging to do both but I still manage. It is important to me to respond to all of my emails personally, to write notes to each of my customers, and to ship all products within 48 hours.
Sarah: What an example you are of excellent customer service! What about college? Are you planning on going?
Hayleigh: Yes, I plan to go to college.
Sarah: What kind of expenses or start-up costs did you have when you started your business and where did you find the money or capital to start?
Hayleigh: In order to start my business, I needed money for product supplies, the domain name, the website services, and audiology displays. My parents offered to be my financial backers, but I had to pay them back.
Sarah: Awesome job to your parents for teaching you about money as well as supporting you in your business! What have been the best surprises that you found in starting your business?
Hayleigh: My sales began at craft sales, moved on to website sales, and now I have distribution companies supplying Hayleighs Cherished Charms to audiologists around the world. I did not think it was going to grow that fast. One of the reasons I started the business was that I saw a need that wasn’t just my own. So, I am happy to see how well people have responded to my products.
Sarah: Do you do EVERYTHING by yourself or do you have people on your team that work with you? If so – how did you find people to help you along the way?
Hayleigh: I do not do EVERYTHING by myself. My mom, dad, and my sisters help me get some things done. My twin sister Vienna makes necklaces and 8 year old sister Sarah makes bracelets so that we can make sister sets (charms, bracelets, and matching necklaces). My mom helps me paint the audiology displays and package things to be mailed and my dad often drives them to the Post Office. I am only 11, so I can’t drive yet. My baby brother helps by not eating the charms or the supplies!
Sarah: We know a thing or two about little brothers in our house. I am so thrilled to hear that your family has been so supportive of your business and that they help so much! What ideas and approaches do you use to market your business and what do you find works best for you in getting the word out about who you are and what you are doing?
Hayleigh: I often ask for links to my website and in return, I put a link from my website to theirs. I contact magazines for the Hearing Impaired and submit articles about Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms. I also attend conferences and workshops and share with audiologists and families about my business. I have developed audiology displays that I send for free to audiologists in the US and Canada. Currently I have product in Denmark and am looking to have my products available internationally. Also, contacting distribution companies has been a very successful way to market and distribute my charms and tube twists.
Sarah: Hayleigh, you are brilliant! It is so awesome to hear that you are doing such a fabulous job marketing your products! How do you balance it all? Do you find that you still have time to be a kid?
Hayleigh: I have to schedule my time well. I schedule in time to play with my sisters and friends and to be a kid! It is challenging to do that sometimes. I can’t predict when a distribution company is going to put in another order or when an article is going to be printed. So, I have to be flexible with my time. My parents also encourage me to be a kid too!
Sarah: So glad to hear that you take time out to enjoy life! What is the best advice or tips you would like to share with young entrepreneurs?
Hayleigh: When starting a business, it has to be something that you would like. It has to be something that if it existed you would want to go and get it or be a part of it. You have to feel passionate about your work because it is hard work to be successful. But it is worth it. One of the greatest rewards is receiving emails from customers about how much they enjoy their charms and tube twists and how they feel differently about their hearing aids because of them. That is a great feeling!