With a little help from their entrepreneurial mother, Jaclyn, budding entrepreneurs Bryson (age 12) and Justin (age 7)* set out to share positivity by launching a company they call We Shine Apparel & Accessories.
MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with the family to learn more about the kidpreneurs’ entrepreneurial journey.
NAN PRICE: How did this business begin?
BRYSON: We were shopping and we saw that there weren’t too many T-shirts that had positive messages. So, we decided, why don’t we make our own and try and spread positivity?
JACLYN: For years, the boys had been building a list of all these phrases they wanted to share with the world to help people feel better about themselves. They came to us one morning in the fall of 2019 and said, we want to start a company and we want to be We Shine. I said, okay!
Soon after, I stumbled across an invite for a pop-up market for kid entrepreneurs in West Hartford that was planned for February 2020. I asked if they wanted to fast track their business idea and be ready for that.
BRYSON: We said yes!
JACLYN: They rose to that challenge and worked super hard to get a lot of stuff done. We filed their LLC in winter 2019 and We Shine Apparel & Accessories launched in February 2020—and then the world shut down in March. But the pop-up experience was phenomenal. They did such a wonderful job and they had the best time. It was apparent that they had something significant.
NAN: What’s your inspiration? Who’s coming up with the sayings?
JUSTIN: Me and Bryson come up with the ideas. We talk about positivity that we can see and know in our brains.
BRYSON: Mainly, we just do it as a family. A lot of ideas we come up with are things we say in our home, in our daily lives, like “Be great today!”
JUSTIN: One of our next designs is called, “I can do hard things.”
NAN: Love it. I just said that to myself recently when I was biking in a rainstorm! In terms of business operations, Mom has some experience running a business. Does she provide a lot of input?
JACLYN: I serve in the Chief Operating Officer capacity to help the boys get things done and articulate their thoughts. I own a product-based business, A Spirit Of Joy Organic Skincare and I have an HR and career consulting firm. So, I have some experience, but I’m definitely not an expert. I’ve never sold apparel. I’ve never sold anything like what they’re selling. And I’ve never tried to start a business in a pandemic.
NAN: So, it’s a learning process for the entire family. How are you having apparel made?
JACLYN: We’ve learned a lot on the journey of printing shirts. We work with local companies as much as we possibly can, including Budget Printers & Embroiders, Found Apparel, and IdleWilde Printing Company. Admittedly, sometimes working with them has been at the detriment of profit, but it’s important to us to support the community because that’s a part of the positivity. It’s a part of making the world go round. We appreciate all the local support we’ve received and it’s important to us to return that back into the community.
We don’t yet own any of the equipment necessary to print anything for ourselves. The journals are printed by another business and then the bracelets we source from a company in California.
NAN: Let’s talk about the future. What are you plans?
JACLYN: I hear nothing but ideas about the future from either one of them. Justin recently drew a blueprint of sorts for what he sees their future facility looking like, where they print their own shirts and journals and other small businesses can come and set up shop. So, they’re not only growing their own business, but helping other small business owners grow theirs as well.
JUSTIN: We’re just trying to help others.
BRYSON: Our short-term goal for this year is to get our products into stores so people can have easy accessibility. If that doesn’t happen this year, then maybe next year. And our long-term goal is to have our products nationwide and all over the world because the whole world needs positivity.
JUSTIN: We want to continue making our designs by using our brains and our positivity.
BRYSON: We’re going to try and expand as much as we can and we’re going to keep on doing what we do until we accomplish our goal. And who knows? We might continue doing it even after the world has more positivity because the world needs positivity all the time.
NAN: That’s definitely true. We’ll be keeping an eye on you!
*The family’s last name is purposely not included in the story to protect the underaged.
Photos courtesy Corey Lynn Tucker