Trep Corner: Matt Henderson

matt h

Meet Teen ‘Trep: Matt Henderson
Age: 17
Company: Amour Fraternal Apparel
Twitter: @Mattie215

I founded an urban clothing company called Amour Fraternal Apparel as a sixteen year old in Great Falls, Montana. I designed the garments inspired by my hometown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was ultimately unhappy with the design limitations that third party garment manufacturing entails, so now I am in the process of developing a complete design firm.  As a result, I also ended up starting another company called Juhász Design Firm. With help from my new business partner/mentor, renowned speaker, and dress for success advocate, Elaine Pouliot, I am developing my new design firm that will hold design subsidiaries in many major industries from fashion to graphics to advertising. The first subsidiary is my luxury fashion brand, which will release in early 2015, headquartered in New York City. We are employing students at the Fashion Institute of Technology to hand make all of the pieces.

What is your one business tip for teens?
Start as soon as possible, start now and never let anyone or anything get in the way of your dreams and goals. You will taste a little success and then the next day you will be faced with the biggest obstacle yet. Never let your guard down, be ready, focused, and willing to do whatever you can for your business at any given time. Also, prioritize your time properly. Don’t worry about popularity or someone talking about you behind your back. Instead, use your energy to pursue your dreams, don’t give those who aren’t on your side any attention.

What is the best part of being a teen entrepreneur?
The best part is the feeling that you get when you see something in real life that you created. It is absolutely surreal to see people physically interacting with something that was once just a thought in your head. Especially if you don’t know the person, randomly seeing someone that you have never seen or talked to before with your product is an extraordinary experience, you will never forget it.








Trep Corner: Nora Brooks


Meet Teen ‘Trep: Nora Brooks

Company: NB3 Personalized Gifts

Age: 17 years old

Website: NB3 Website 

In January of 2014 Nora started NB3 Personalized Gifts. Nora plays basketball and soccer and is very active with extra-curricular activities at her school. She needed an after school job but was unable to find one that worked with her busy schedule. She decided to make hours that worked with her schedule so she started NB3 Personalized Gifts. Nora loves creating special gifts for others, so she used that to her advantage and started creating cute personalized gifts, such as keychains, tumblers, and tote bags. Within two months Nora started turning a profit.

In June of 2014 she was declared co-champion of SLU Tank and attended the Allsup Business Academy in July. Her business has grown tremendously with the help of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Nora is also a high school ambassador for Prosper, an organization supporting female entrepreneurship in St. Louis.


What lessons have you learned as a teen entrepreneur?
I have learned the importance of time management and prioritizing.


What is your one business tips for teens?
Dream big and then go after those dreams!


What is the best part of being a teen entrepreneur?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom of creativity and choosing my own hours.








Trep Corner: Madison & Katie

Ursuline Girls

The ‘Trep Corner is a place where Independent Youth recognizes young entrepreneurs across the country that have started businesses.  These teen entrepreneurs share their entrepreneurial thoughts and experiences through an interview.


Meet Teen ‘Treps: Madison Arteaga & Katie Nations

Company: MK Paintings

Age: 16 years old

Facebook Page: MK Paintings


Our names are Madison Arteaga and Katie Nations.  We are 16 years old, and attend Ursuline Academy in Saint Louis, MO. We started our own business last year during the summer of 2014; it all started when we were bored one day and had some free time. Katie remembered that she had two extra blank canvases in her house, so we decided to try a fun, small project.  That night, Katie’s dad took us to a local Walmart to get paints, we started off purchasing a couple basic colors. The next morning, we thought it would be a cute idea to post a picture of the paintings on Instagram.  Almost instantly, many people commented saying how amazing the paintings are, and asking for prices!  From that day forward, we called our painting business “MK Paintings.”


We thought it would be a good idea to expand our business.  Although we had social media accounts, an extra kick was needed.  The Green Goose is a local resale shop in south St. Louis.  Katie and I briefly described our small business and asked if we could sell our paintings at the unique shop.  She happily agreed, and said we could start small with 2-3 to experiment.  The paintings sold very quickly; so we now sell paintings at The Green Goose, and to our friends and other students at Ursuline Academy.  Mothers purchase our paintings for presents, or for their children.  Monogramming paintings is an uncommon business, this is where we come into play.  We take orders from the customers and they get to choose their own colors, quotes, or monogram, and the size of the canvas they want to buy.  The larger ones sell for $22, and the smaller sell for $15.  The biggest way we get our customers, is through social media and word of mouth.


What lessons have you learned as a teen entrepreneur?

While working together in this business, we have learned how to work with not only just each other, but other people as well. We already knew that the two of us got along great, so that wasn’t a problem. We learned to listen to what people were requesting and do our best to give them what they envisioned for their paintings. We became great at managing our money and dividing it equally between ourselves.  The biggest lesson is being patient and not giving up.  Our paintings took 1 month to sell at the shop, and we were anxious; we stayed patient and the paintings sold.  Persistence is key, if you want something, go after it.  We wanted to achieve our goal by running our own business and it happened.

What is your one business tips for teens?

If we had one business tip for other teens who are getting started with a business, it would be to stick with your goal and don’t give up if it does not hit the ground running from the start. Don’t give up, just remember what you had in mind when you started, and that will keep you motivated.


What is the best part of being a teen entrepreneur?

We would say that the best part about being a young entrepreneur is that we have so many options of things that we want to make and create. We can change our style and techniques and not have that be an issue. It is exciting to learn about how business works and how well you work with other people, and working with others is something we both enjoy.







Trep Corner: Logan E. Mauldin

logan pic

The ‘Trep Corner is a place where Independent Youth recognizes young entrepreneurs across the country that have started businesses.  These teen entrepreneurs share their entrepreneurial thoughts and experiences through an interview.

Meet Teen ‘Trep: Logan E. Mauldin

Company: If You Can Write You Can Read

Age: 12 years old

At 8 years old, I wrote a book because of the lack of reading amongst boys. In my spare time, I wrote “Step Up Your Game to Win the Game” and focused on how I could inspire others thereby establishing, If You Can Write You Can Read (

When I was in the 5th grade, I was a book buddy, played the Ukulele and Chess. I have begun my journey learning how to speak Chinese and play the trumpet and baritone. I am very active with sports. I love basketball, wrestling football and swimming.

I have won several Team Captain Badges for football and was named MVP. In 2010, my football team and I were undefeated. I was honored by the NCYFL as one of the top players in the region. In 2011, with one loss, my basketball team and I won the championship. The win encouraged the title of my book which is about striving for excellence and succeeding if you work hard.

In April 2013, I participated on a panel discussing my book and entrepreneur journey at a national event called “For Sister’s Only.” Also, I was a guest on Mayor Patrick Cannon’s radio show, “Aiming with Cannon” and was a special guest at the “Youth Entrepreneur Fair.”

In June 2013, I was a special guest at the “Trayvon Martin Prayer Service” speaking to young boys and girls at Neely’s Grove AMEZ Church and was interviewed by the Charlotte Post discussing the importance of writing and reading and featured in WISE Magazine.

In 2014, I continue to move forward with my journey. I met the Mayor of Salisbury and Salisbury’s Mayor Pro Tem. With that being said, a partnership with The City of Salisbury and If You Can Write You Can Read was developed. Also, If You Can Write You Can Read has partnered with Communities In Schools by facilitating “Write a Book” contests. I most recently spoke to over 100 elementary students at Reid Park Academy and was featured in The Charlotte Observer highlighting the engagement. Lastly, my book is at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Main, Rowan County and Cuthbertson Middle School libraries.

Because I am aware of my destiny to be great, this is just the beginning.



What lessons have you learned as a teen entrepreneur?

The most important lessons that I have learned are:
•    The importance of helping others.
•    No matter what you are doing, you should always do your best because you never know who is watching.
•    Always stay humble.

What is your one business tip for teens?

Do what you love and have a spirit of excellence while you are doing it.

What is the best part of being an entrepreneur?

Having the power to help others every day and meeting new people. Also, it is awesome to have my own money that I earned myself!

Trep Corner: Zandra Azariah

Zandra Azariah


The ‘Trep Corner is a place where Independent Youth recognizes young entrepreneurs across the country that have started businesses.  These teen entrepreneurs share their entrepreneurial thoughts and experiences through an interview.

Meet Teen ‘Trep: Zandra Azariah Cunningham

Company: Azariah’s Innocence

Age: 14 years old

At nine, Zandra joined the Kids Biz Small Business program at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, NY. She credits the Kids Biz program for teaching her some of the basic principles of business; such as, business development, marketing and finance.

Motivated and focused, she with the some assistance from family founded Azariah’s Innocence, a natural bath & body product line.

Three years later, Azariah’s Innocence has become an inspiration to many other young people. Azariah’s Innocence now has its own distribution site within The Foundry, a local artisan maker space and can be purchased locally at area boutiques or on her website: Azariah’s Innocence has raised hundreds of dollars for local and global philanthropic  campaigns.

Zandra, is the youngest business owner to graduate from the all adult class of the Minority and Women Entrepreneurial Program at the University At Buffalo, the proud junior ambassador of The Women in the Spotlight Goinglobal movement, local 10x 10  Girl Rising ambassador and a Day of the Girl Issues Expert, She teaches classes on teenpreneurship and natural body product creation/education. Zandra believes all young ladies should be confident with just being themselves and learn what beauty is from the inside out. Her hope is to inspire youth to take action and make things happen for themselves and their communities. Her motto: ” When you know better, you can do better” -Maya Angelou.

Currently undergoing a major company rebrand, she aspires to make products that promote relaxation, wellness and self-love, while providing customers with the peace of mind that all products are made using the finest natural and many locally acquired ingredients.

What lessons have you learned as a teen entrepreneur?

I have learned that as a teen entrepreneur, one must always surround themselves with like minded  people so you have someone to relate to, who will understand the things happening in and around your world. Those people are valuable to your journey and will be able to assist when needed because they will have a better understanding of a entrepreneur lifestyle.  Its important to be around people who know more than you so you can learn from them as well. My mom always says ” If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”.

What is your one business tip for teens?

Always stay true to who you are as a person and as a business owner and remember you’re the boss!

What is the best part of being an entrepreneur?

I would say that the best part of being an entrepreneur is meeting new and famous people, being featured in articles and hearing people say they are proud of me or that I am an inspiration to not only just teen but for adults as well. I also love being able to stand out and not just be a regular kid without vision or purpose. I love that I am in the position to
create real change in the world, one teen girl at a time.

Making the Sacrifice for Success

Jordan Williams

by Jordan William, co-founder of Making Money for Teens

As a teen entrepreneur, I know how important time management is. For teens that run businesses, it is hard to balance academics, athletics, extra curricular activities, and at the same time spend time cultivating a company. I can fully relate to this problem. It is difficult to successfully manage a business while playing basketball all year-long, spending time with family, and trying to maintain all A’s in school. In my few years of running Making Money For Teens, I’ve learned that in order to manage the time in your life you have to prioritize, keep a positive mindset, and make sacrifices.


With many tasks to get done and only 24 hours in a day, it’s important to keep a positive attitude. Our modern society is very negative. Studies show that more than 80% of our thoughts are negative! Instead of being persistent enough to find a way, we have tend to find an excuse and quit. I became much more successful in business and academics when I simply refused to complain. No matter how late I have to stay up to finish an assignment I’m going to find a way. When I get home from practice, no matter how much homework and business work I have determined in my mind that I will complete it. Everyday you must approach everything with a positive mindset and know that it can be accomplished!


It’s always important to prioritize what currently has the most importance in your life. During the summer, I was not able to spend as much time hanging with my friends or going on vacation because at this time I was traveling and speaking in different places trying to expand my company. I knew that I that time I had to really zone in and focus on making my business as successful as it can be. Of course I would have like to hang with friends and relax over the summer, but the sacrifice was worth it when I saw my business starting to go to another level. When fall came around, I could not spend as much time on my business as I did in the summer. My main priority moved to keeping my grades at a high level and working out for my high school basketball team. I was working out almost everyday and making sure I was getting enough time to study for my classes. The business wasn’t as successful during this time, but the sacrifice paid off because our team won the State Championship and I was able to raise my GPA to a 4.2 for the first semester. I know that I can only focus on so many things at one time. My goal is to reach my full potential in everything I do. In order to do this, I have to focus on what is important at the time and find a good daily balance of time.


In order to be successful, you have to sacrifice the things that make you “comfortable”. I’ve found that in order to reach success, sometime you will be required to sacrifice sleep, free time, and relaxation. Are you willing to stay up all night to finish all your assignments? Are you willing to miss a party with your friends to go to a business meeting? It all comes down to how bad you want to be successful. Many people come short of being successful because they are not willing to get out of their comfort zone. Everyone wants to be successful, but everyone is not willing to do the things that make him or her uncomfortable. At the end of a struggle, there is success. I want to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite motivational speakers, Eric Thomas. “The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you will become.”










Disney Dreamers Experience

Jaylen Bledsoe

by Jaylen Bledsoe, founder of Bledsoe Technologies

I’ve been back home from Disney Dreamers Academy for two weeks now, and I have just been thinking about how awesome of an experience it was.

First off, here’s a little background information on this event. Disney selects 100 “Dreamers” out 10,000 applicants from an essay competition for the Academy. They then fly the 100 Dreamers plus one guardian to Walt Disney World for the 4-Day Academy free of charge. The students go through rigorous courses where they learn more about Dreams, success, and experiences in their “dream” career path.

I noticed 100 of America’s best high school students at the Academy, which Steve later reiterated at the closing ceremony by saying this was the top 1% of the 10,000 who applied. While speaking during the Entrepreneurship Career Deep Dive, I met some intelligent youth, all following their dreams rather it be wanting to be a non-profit executive or a stock broker.

One of the students I met, Anthony Davis, has been running a phenomenal non-profit since he was 10 Years Old! Isn’t that amazing? Often in society, we expect that our youth care more about making and spending a dollar on themselves, rather than helping someone else out. Breaking the stereotypes, over 90% of the students in that room wanted to start an organization just to help someone else out.

Oh, and before I forget, by the time I landed back in St. Louis, Anthony had already sent me an email asking for me to be a board member in his new non-profit. Without a pause or thought about it, I said YES. Because the duties of a board member may be time consuming, I have to think about it and analyze the organization thoroughly. The only reason that I didn’t do it for Anthony is because I saw great potential in what he can do for our society, and I want to invest my time in him.

After our career deep dive sessions, the students presented their new knowledge at this Science Fair styled event, called “Career Open Mouse.” These students spoke on topics ranging from Entrepreneurship to Culinary Arts to Disney Imagineering. This was amazing as each career deep dive was led by industry experts, so they walked out with tons of knowledge and next steps.

By the time the commencement ceremony ended, everyone left with greater motivation to follow their dreams. The dreamers heard from a dozen or so celebrities about dreaming, and a dozen or so celebrities heard from 100 dreamers about dreaming. Not only was this a motivational experience for the 100 dreamers, but it was an experience for anyone that walked through the doors.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who left Walt Disney World with even more reason to push for success and follow my dreams!

I can only hope that I’m invited to speak to the Disney Dreamers Class of 2015 next year!


Hard Work Makes the Dream Work!























Debate with the Devil


by Zachary Certner, co-founder of SNAP Inc. (Special Needs Athletic Programs)


The Devil’s Advocate, the person who takes an opposing position for the sake of debate and argument, is perhaps the most vital person to have alongside your board when starting or expanding a business. Over the past seven years with SNAP, we have grown from a local charity with a total of 20 members, to a national organization encompassing both sports and education.


This growth, however, would never have been so rapid and successful if not for the person in the meeting room whom I knew would disagree with whatever I presented. Although it may seem like a hassle, trouble, and even an annoyance, looking back on these meetings, I have an entirely new outlook on the situation.


By having this person highlight the negative aspects of the new idea or expansion program, it forces you to reconsider aspect of the new plans. The “devil”, as I like to call him, is very important because it lowers the chances for failure and struggle most new ideas can have. (This is especially important for the new ‘great’ ideas entrepreneurs have all the time!)


By figuring out the bad ideas, the negative aspects of the proposal, and the mistakes of the entire organization in preliminary meetings, you avoid failure and possible loss of public support.


To most people, the “Devil” is the seen as the bad person in the room. However, when it comes to business and entrepreneurship, he becomes your best friend; saving you time, money, and chances of failure.









The Power of Partnerships

Remmi Smith

by Remmi Smith, founder of Cook Time with Remmi

When I started my business I thought I understood the concept of a partnership. With my partner(my mother) we formed Cook Time with Remmi LLC. With my talent and dream and her money and hard work…we got the business off the ground. I didn’t think much about partnering with others as a means to get much closer to achieving my dreams and goals. After a year in business, I was getting requests for appearances versus me requesting to make appearances at events. It was at this point I realized I had something to offer and people and organizations were interested in me. It was at this point we realized we needed to hire a professional production company to help create a show that was worthy of getting on TV. Money was tight. After creating a “pilot/sizzle reel” with the production company, they became interested in me and approached us about doing a series. We could not afford their fees but ultimately worked out a deal where they became partners and a percentage of the business was given to them for a lower cost of production. With this partnership arrangement, I achieved what I dreamed of…a TV series. It was at this point we focused on partnering as a means to accomplish our goals. And, literally, everything we wanted to do going forward we looked for partners.


The other cool thing about this partnership(Blue House Media), they had a vested interest in my success. So now my dream was being boasted by another entity. People and businesses get involved in “partnerships” in a variety of ways……but, the common denominator is they see it as a opportunity for their business. So, the most important factor in a partnership is you need to bring something to the table that benefits the potential partner. Before we even started production of the series, I had brought on 5 additional partners. We partnered with Oklahoma State University Culinary Arts Program who gave us access to their curriculum-instant credibility for me…credibility for them as they were partnering with a child chef who promotes healthy eating. We partnered with a regional appliance company that gave me my TV set free of charge…..they in turn got credits and were promoted as a sponsor of the show. Beyond those, I had a financial sponsorship from a national appliance company, and trade sponsorships with a national grocery chain, and kitchenware company. Bingo….I had a show concept, credibility with a university, a free set, free food, free kitchenware, financial sponsorship, and a production company…my dream was coming true. Before I even started filming I had gained 6 partners… that had a vested interest in my success. I was no longer alone in accomplishing my dream and now had a strong support system that was going to ensure my dream came true. 


Beyond reaching my initial goal….what these partners did for me allowed me to produce my show with a quality way beyond my imagination. The quality of the show has led me to more and bigger partnerships. Through these new partnerships, I am now an author of a cookbook, a national ambassador for a huge corporation, named “Top 20 to Watch” by The Century Council, I am getting involved in product development and currently have a product sold in grocery stores,  and I am under a selling contract for a potential national cooking show.  I am sure there is an element of me somewhere in all of this, but my partnerships are what has made me incredibly successful.

“There are three vital steps to partnering success: 

     1.     Determine what it is you need but don’t have: customers, capital, special expertise, products, production capacity, or distribution channels, 

     2.     Determine who has what you need,

     3.     Ask them for it, but, first make sure you have something they want or need. (this last point is the most important)” 

Curtis E. Sahakian, Managing Director of the Corporate Partnering Institute


It’s just like the Teen Entrepreneur Network…’s a great resource for me and I value it as a partnership…..I have gained huge opportunities by being part of this incredible network. Partnerships are powerful….make sure you look for some as you approach achieving your dreams.

<3 Remmi

Action Stops Stinky Mold!

Asya Gonzalez

by Asya Gonzalez, founder of She Is Worth It! and Stinky Feet Gurlz


We all know what mold is. It’s that destructive, nasty black stuff that lurks in dark spaces, spreading from one corner to the next until it has over taken that area. Mold is very difficult to get rid of. Once it is present in your home or building it causes many problems. Getting rid of mold is often expensive because you usually have to hire a professional to tear down the entire area that is infected and treat the surrounding areas until it is all gone. They have to check for the cause of mold and if you are exposed, it can cause lung damage, asthma and a whole host of other illnesses.


So what does mold have to do with entrepreneurism? Well, it’s simple. Success needs action and lack of action kills success. Lack of action is like mold. It overtakes your mind, it causes laziness, contentedness, it tricks your mind into thinking it’ll get to it tomorrow…are you following what I’m saying? The only way to eliminate the mold and all the damage it causes is through action.


I read a quote the other day from Conrad Hilton, the founder of the very successful Hilton Hotel chain. He said, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”


Successful people keep moving. Did you know that a sloth moves so slowly that he has mold and moss growing on its fur? A chimpanzee doesn’t have that problem and it is because he is always moving, swinging, tumbling, searching, playing and bouncing around. If they happen to fall while in mid jump or while horsing around you won’t see them cross their arms and pout…they get back up!


So how do you keep moving and moving your business and ideas forward? You work on it, whether big or small, every single day. Write everything that needs to be done down. Prioritize your day because whether you like it or not, you only get 24 hours in a day and not an ounce more. So write down what absolutely needs to get done and cross off each task off as you go. There’s a nice sense of satisfaction as you see item after item getting crossed off. You will always need to add to the list, but if you commit to action and continue to cross off, it makes it easier to add those new things to the list. I like to use the Google Task app. It’s a great tool!


When I don’t have anything to do on my business, meaning I don’t have a sale to fulfill or a pressing issue on the website or a media interview, I STILL look for things that can be done whether it’s me going through my emails, updating facebook, or pulling out my sketch pad to draw something that I’d like to make in the future.


One thing that is an action killer and a mold grower is distractions. So if you’re going on Facebook to update your fan or business page, that doesn’t mean you can take a break and play games or chit chat with your friends. My parents have always told me to treat your business like you have a boss standing behind you. Do you stop to play Candy Crush with him behind you? Do you take out your cell phone and call your best friend for weekend plans while he’s behind you? Do you surf the web for the latest fashion sales while he’s behind you? NO WAY! So don’t do any of those things on company time. YOUR company’s time.


Let me leave you with one last quote I read.


“A man who has to be convinced to act before he acts is NOT a man of action” — Georges Clemmanceau


If you have to be convinced to act, convinced to participate in your own ideas, convinced to WANT to succeed, then mold will grow all over your future. Remember, take action and build a list, prioritize which tasks are the most important, cross off your completed tasks, add to your list, get rid of distractions and blast away nasty, stinky mold!