For This Teenpreneur, Running a Jewelry Business is a "Snap"

by Susan Johnston on March 22, 2011
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Maddie Bradshaw came up with the idea for Snap Caps and M3 Girl Designs when she was 10 years old. Now 15, Maddie teamed up with her mom and 11-year-old sister Margot to turn her idea for cute, colorful bottle cap necklaces into a growing business that sells 50,000 units a month. She also wrote and illustrated a how-to book for young entrepreneurs called You Can Start a Business, Too!

We spoke to Maddie to learn her insights on starting a business, working with her family, and more.

ISBB: How did you translate your idea into a successful business?

Maddie: Originally I created Snap Caps as lockers magnets, but soon I wanted to have them outside of school, so I developed a necklace that would be magnetic and interchangeable. After my friends had such a positive reaction from the necklaces, I decided to take them into a local toy store, and they sold out of them in two hours.

What are the best and worst parts of having your own business at such a young age?

I think being able to spend time with my mom and sister would be the best part of having my business. The “M3,” my mom, sister Margot, and me, have been able to travel to fun places, and by spending time together, we’ve really grown closer as a family. This business has been such a great experience for me, but I would say the only downside is not always being able to attend trade shows. In the past, I haven’t been allowed to attend some shows because I’m not an adult. It wasn’t until recently that my ownership was taken into consideration.

Since you have a book with advice for other entrepreneurs, what’s your advice for those who want to start a business?

The single most important advice I can give to anyone who wants to start a business is to make sure you love what you do. I love to draw, so work for me doesn’t really feel like work because it’s my passion.

What are your plans for the future? Continuing to grow the business, starting another business, or tackling new challenges?

The company has grown so fast! We are at the start of our fifth year, and just launched a second jewelry line, Spark of Life. My sister Margot and I will soon start expanding our line and developing new looks. I see our company growing in many new directions in the future!

Susan Johnston is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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