Coffee Break

Young Entrepeneurs Spill The Beans On How They Turned A Profit

Have you ever wondered how people get the money together to finance their businesses? Here are some stories from those that did it.

Henry Patterson, Sweet Seller

Henry Patterson is the founder of a company called Not Before Tea, a deliberate play on the parental dictum. It’s no surprise that Henry went with this particular name: he’s in the business of filling children’s stomachs with sugary sweets on their way home from school.


Patterson says that he has always been interested in business, even from a very early age. He got started when he realized that if he kept his old toys in good condition, he could sell them on for a price once he got bored with them.

His first real business opportunity came, however, when he started selling items out of the back of his parent’s car. He found that simply buying in stock and then selling it on for a higher price at certain events could net him a handsome profit.

Ed Hardy, Edge Ski App

Ed Hardy is the young entrepreneurs behind a ski companion app that provides skiers with things like need, like weather updates and maps of the piste. He never had any formal training in app design. Instead, he decided that he was just going to dive right in and make his business a passion project.


Over time, however, he learned that if his app was going to be the best that it could be, he’d need the help of other people with expertise. He says that he was lucky to get investors on board early on in his career, providing essential advice to him and his colleagues.

Hardy, however, says that he would have done better, had he contacted firms like Colbeck Capital MGMT, who had more experience with dealing investment issues. During his first year of business, he ended up paying over the odds for his tax returns, and he says that the authorities themselves sent very unhelpful responses to his email queries.

Madison Robinson, Shoe Designer

Lots of young people are interested in shoes, but one young woman took her interest a step further, deciding to create her own shoe line based on her original designs. Madison Robinson, only 16 years old when she started, first came into contact with the business world through her parents. They were always budgeting and doing sales forecasts, she says, and so she picked up a lot from them.

However, she wasn’t interested in their line of work, and so she came up with her own business idea: becoming a shoe designer.


Now that she’s in charge of a successful business, she makes decisions about where to invest her company’s limited resources. Often it’s a decision between going to a trade show or investing in a salesperson. She also has to think about how much money she wants to spend on marketing and advertising in magazines and the local paper.

Robinson has learned the hard way that every dollar she spends has to count and provide the biggest bang for the buck. The biggest lesson she’s learned is the prioritizing is important.