1. Bella Weems, Founder of Origami Owl
Bella Weems’ goal of buying a car for her 16th birthday inspired her to start her own jewelry business: Origami Owl. Thousands of indie designers host jewelry parties with Bella’s creations: charm-filled lockets and necklaces. And the model is working: the company is now worth over $250 million. P.S. Wondering if Bella saved up for a car? She sure did – as a 17-year-old, she’s now the proud owner of a white Jeep named Alice.
2. Ashley Qualls, Founder of WhateverLife
Imagine asking your mother for an $8 loan at age 14 to create a website—and that web site ends up being worth $1 million by the time you’re 17. Ashley Qualls did just that after building WhateverLife.com, a content resource site (hello, Myspace layouts!) and online community for teen girls. Qualls, now 23, recently pulled the plug on WhateverLife and is working on other endeavors, but her legend of building an awesome site out of nothing lives on. And we’re guessing she’s paid her mom back…and then some.
3. Julianne Goldmark and Emily Matson, Co-Founders of Emi-Jay
Julianne Goldmark and Emily Matson aren’t just BFFs – they’re co-founders of Emi-Jay, a colorful, chic collection of handmade hair ties, headbands and other accessories that have been sported by stars like Michelle Williams and the Kardashians. (We even interviewed Julianne last year!) The high school seniors have been in business for five years, and their teamwork has paid off: Emi-Jay sold 6 million hair ties in 2012 at $5 to $20 per hair tie. Cha-ching!
4. Maddie Robinson, Founder of Fish Flops
In 2006, 8-year-old Maddie Robinson combined her loves of swimming, drawing and fishing to create FishFlops, a fun line of aquatic-themed flip flops. Now she’s has taken a dive into the entrepreneurial deep end in the best way possible: FishFlops has generated over $1 million in sales and are sold in Macy’s and Nordstrom.
5. Willa Doss, Co-founder and Chief Inspiration of Willa Cosmetics
When 8-year-old Willa Doss decided she didn’t want to use her younger sister’s “babyish” skincare products during a bath, she took matters into her own hands. She and her mother, Christy, worked to build a skincare brand for tweens. Five years later, Willa Skincare has grown to include 17 products used and is adored by “Willa Girls” (Willa’s affectionate nickname for their fans). Though revenues have been kept private so far, we think Willa Skincare likely has a spot on this list—thanks to high-profile partners like Target, Henri Bendel and J.Crew.
(Photo Credit: Willa Skincare Facebook Page)
–Compiled by Amanda Kennedy
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