all started in October 1997 when my mom and I were making hair clips
for me to wear to gymnastics. They were so pretty that I thought
I could sell them.
I wanted to use the money I earned so that I could buy teddy bears that I would give away to sick children fighting cancer.
I began to sell my hair clips at my school. Since the teachers liked my clips, I decided to try to sell to even more people. So I went to a local store and was able to sell enough hairclips to buy 5 TayBears.
I knew my business was very small. But I still needed to organize just like the big businesses. I had to know exactly where my money was being spent. So I learned some Quicken to keep better control of my money and went to the bank to get a business account. I learned that it is hard to start a business with very little money. I started to look at my expenses in a way that I could understand. For every $5 spent… that would be one child without a bear. So I am very careful with the money.
I started I didn't know anything about business. In school I was
learning to add small numbers and stuff. That worked fine in the
beginning. There were only small numbers to add. $2.50 per hair
clip times 2 makes $5, and I could add by 5's pretty well. Then
the numbers started getting bigger and I learned to add bigger numbers.
It happened just like that.
I just learned what I needed to know to be able to do what I needed to do when I needed to do it. I really have learned a lot about business since I started. I am always asking questions of my parents (and some very special grown-up mentors) about the best way to do stuff. I know I don't really know all that much stuff, I'm just learning. But I always try to do things the right way from the beginning. I think that's why I have been able to have TayBear grow to help so many kids.
Pretty soon I found out that I couldn't keep up with the inventory. I knew that people wanted to buy my hair clips but I was selling them faster than I could make them. I needed help fast! So I asked my friends to help and I set up several "painting parties" at my house. Once word got out, I began setting up art classes in my school and in the community. I now have had over 1,600 kids that have helped me. Everybody has different skills… some paint, some stamp the cards and some help with folding fabric. I've even had some help me to sell the clips. I've sold over thousands and thousands of hair clips!
My parents say that they want to make sure that my life is balanced. They always tell me that it is important to have a "good head" and a "good heart." I don't really think what I do with TayBear is all that special, it's just what I do with the help of lots of other kids (and a few grown-ups).