In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at 16-year-old entrepreneur Brandon Iverson. Iverson launched his first company at the age of 10, when he and his childhood friend Jordan Williams started up Kids Toys, Inc.
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“I wanted to start the business because at that age because I was tired of depending on my parents for money,” said Iverson. “It’s a company where we sold our old toys and games we didn’t use anymore online, to our friends, community… anywhere we could. It was a great way for us to get our feet wet in entrepreneurship at a young age.”
In 2011, at age 13, Iverson and Williams created their second business, Making Money for Teens, selling a three-part CD/DVD series.
“We started this business to create a teen financial education company that’s simple for teens to understand how we were able to start our own company,” said Iverson. “We talked about how to start your own business, how to invest in the stock market and taught how to be a leader in a company.”
A year later, they authored their first book, and in 2014 created a clothing line for teens called Young Moguls Brand. The brand features tee-shirts, hoodies and other clothing items. In order to get the business off the ground, Iverson and Williams used Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website, to raise money for shipping costs. Iverson said around $1,000 was raised to start the initial shipment of tee-shirts and since then they have been able to invest funds back into the company. Currently, Young Moguls Brand is only available online.
“We’ve learned that Twitter is a great outlet for being able to sell our products online,” said Iverson. “It helps us relate to our customers and know what they want, and to be able to create products that are appealing to our target market.”
While their clothing line continues to grow, Iverson and Williams remain hard at work. Despite hearing stories about the potential difficulties of starting a company with another person, Iverson was not discouraged from choosing his childhood friend as a business partner.
“It makes life a lot easier,” said Iverson. “Jordan and I grew up together and have similar interests, including business. It’s very relaxed when we work on business… It’s natural because we’re friends first, business partners second.”
Like most friends and business partners, opposing opinions sometimes lead to disagreements. However, Iverson said he doesn’t let that interfere with the daily operations of the company.
“When we have an argument, we try to write down the different ideas and look them over. We step away, then come back when we’re more level-headed and tell each other what we think of each idea,” he said.
Besides being successful entrepreneurs, both Iverson and Williams play varsity basketball at their school and have 4.0 GPAs. So how do they have time to work, play and study?
“We try to work on business 10-plus hours a week, hopefully more,” said Iverson. “We have to set a schedule in order to have time to study and time for hanging out with friends.”
After graduating high school, Iverson wants to further his education at a four-year university, pursuing a business-related degree, hoping to continue in entrepreneurship.
“I want to continue to expand Young Moguls Brand, eventually making it a national and international brand,” said Iverson. “Down the road, in my early 20s, I want to potentially create a technology-based company, too.”
The 16-year-old business owner’s advice to entrepreneur hopefuls is to do what you love.
“You want to create something that is your passion, so it doesn’t feel like a job. At the same time, you want something that is unique, that hasn’t been seen before. The greatest gift you have is creativity. A whacky idea could potentially be a million dollar idea,” he said.