Vanessa Perdomo was gripped by the entrepreneurial spirit since she was six-years-old. Now 12, she’s finally living out her dream.
For nearly a year, Vanessa has been running ‘love your world creations’ with her 10-year-old sister, Melissa. Together, they sew and sell things like scrunchies, dog collars, bandanas and bow ties.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s what she’s always wanted to do.
“I wanted to start a business because my parents are business owners, and I wanted to be just like them,” Vanessa said. She had been asking to start her own business since she was six, but her mom, Alexandra, said no – until she thought she was ready.
“As she got older, she was a little more serious,” she said.
“I was forcing them to do stuff I wanted to do, that they just didn’t have a passion for,” she said, like soccer and karate. “I just think parents (should) encourage the kids to do what they want to do and advance them somehow. It’s important for us as parents to listen to the kids."
Vanessa learned to sew from her grandmother at a young age, and taught Melissa to sew just before they opened up shop. Alexandra doesn’t know how to sew, but helps run their social media.
They started with scrunchies, which have been a hit for children’s birthday parties since they make them with prints from popular movies and shows like Encanto or Stranger Things.
But when she and Melissa grew tired of the bandanas their mom would buy their two dogs, Phoenix and Pumpkin, they branched out to dog accessories.
“She used to buy bandanas for the dogs and they were very bland, they were basic,” Vanessa said. ”We were like, how about let’s make bandanas with new patterns? Because those are boring.”
It’s essentially a full-time job: They go to school, come home to do homework, and then get to work sewing. On the weekends, they shop for fabric.
But it’s starting to pay off.
The once pretend store in Vanessa’s bedroom turned into an online Shopify store, where they get new orders at least every two weeks. They’ve also been selling at markets around southern Ontario. At one of their last markets, they made $500, and are using that money to invest back into the business, buying more fabric and purchasing spots in other markets.
Their Halloween-themed bandanas were even stocked in Pet Valu on Stone Road.
Now they’re dreaming of opening up their own storefront in Downtown Guelph down the line.
But it’s not just them. The entrepreneurial mindset seems to be striking a chord with adolescents these days.
“A new era of entrepreneurs is about to emerge,” Alexandra said. “These kids, they’re not the only ones.”
For instance, the girls attended a Mini Maker Market at the Refill Bar downtown a few weeks ago with two other young entrepreneurs: Sidney Oritz Pedersen of Polite Pineapple and Oksana Parol-Perkins of Oksana Bananas Sweets.
Oritz Pedersen started her business in 2019 at just eight-years-old, selling a variety of things, from slime kits to banana bread.
“I think so many kids are starting their own businesses because there are so many unique and creative things you can do for home,” Oritz Pedersen said. “It’s also nice to feel responsible for your own business.”
Melissa and Vanessa said they hope other children see their creations at a market or on social media, they’re inspired to follow their dreams, like they are.
Their products are available through their online Shopify store, but they will also be at several Christmas markets this season.
You can find out where they’ll be next by visiting their Instagram page.