We always get excited when we get stories about real life kidpreneurs that are making waves in the business world. Today we’re featuring an interview with kidpreneur and eco fashion purse designer Mackenzie Gass. Mackenzie got the idea to recycle existing material, in this case jeans, into an unexpected new product: purses! We spoke with Mackenzie about how she got the idea, when she started doing it and how she sells her fun, fashionable purses.
Kidpreneurs.org: Mackenzie, how old were you when you started making your first purse?
I was 12 years old when I began making the More Than Jeans purses.
Kidpreneurs.org: Wow! That’s great to start so young. What gave you the idea to create your designs for More Than Jeans and turn it into a business?
My mom was looking at a craft magazine and found the basis of the idea. The two of us found a way that we could add to the idea by putting different colorful designs and straps on the purses. After we made a few, a couple of my family members said I should be selling them and the idea was born!
Kidpreneurs.org: What has been your biggest challenge in getting started with More Than Jeans and how have you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been staying with the idea, because I’ve questioned whether or not people would actually purchase them. I’d often wonder if the idea could actually be successful. I overcame the challenge when a lot of people came up to me when walking around the mall and say how cute they were. Also I tested the idea by selling them at a Craft Fair. I had good success and several sales at the fair, which built my belief in the idea and led to starting the Etsy store.
Kidpreneurs.org: Have your parents helped you with your business and if so, what have they taught you?
My parents have helped me out a lot of the way. My mom taught me that we have to keep the idea of the purses interesting and new. My dad would often help me on certain ways to present my product to different people. Both of my parents taught me that when opportunity comes you seize the moment right away and not later.
Kidpreneurs.org: What are your plans for the future; will you keep designing and creating?
I am planning on keeping up with the store holding my purses currently, and I hope to keep my products there for a while. I will definitely keep designing new purses and creating new purses whether it will be to sell them or just to make them as a fun craft.
Kidpreneurs.org: What advice would you give other young kidpreneurs who want to start their own business like you did?
The advice I would like to give to other Kidpreneurs is that they should not give up on their ideas. If someone says “no”, just keep looking for different ways to improve your product, but do not give up on it!