A few weeks back my mom noticed an article in the June edition of the Costco Connection. At the back of the magazine a teen entrpreneur was featured. Brenna and her mom, Linda started their own company, Imagiframes in 2009. I was able to contact Brenna and find out a little bit more about her, the company, and the partnership that she has with her mom. We spoke over Skype and it was great to talk with a seventeen year old who has a successful business!
Me: Hi Brenna! It is so nice to meet you. Thanks for emailing me and meeting with me today. I just want to say how that what you do is really cool and so creative!
Brenna: Thanks! I love this business so so much!
Me: Can you tell me more about your business and how it got started?
Brenna: It all started when I was in 6th grade. I was assigned by my teacher to represent all of the letters of the alphabet without writing them down. I chose to look at nature to find letters. On a car ride, I pointed out a lamp post to represent an ‘r’ and the letter ‘e’ in a tree. My mother started catching on and started to make little notecards from the many photos we captured of letters. People became interested, so my mom and I talked about it and we finally made the decision to start our business, Imagiframes.
Me: How did you get feature in the Costco Connection? Very impressive! Has being featured increased your business at all?
Brenna: My mother wrote to the magazine two years ago and asked them if they were interested in profiling us. They kept us on file and contacted us in February of 2013. And yes. We have gotten a lot of orders placed already since the magazine came out!
Me: What is it like working with your mom? (My mom is my business partner as well.) What are each of your responsibilities?
Brenna: It’s a lot of fun working with my mom! I first started out with the business by spreading the word about our work as well as looking for new letters. Now, I am helping my mom create and process the notecards as well as understand marketing and accounting. My mom does the photography and assembling of the products. She also is the one who contacts stores and works with them to carry our products.
Me: What have you learned so far about having a business partner?
Brenna: Even though I’m in school and school work can bog me down, I still try to do as equal amount of work in the business that I can. Having a business partner has helped me learn to work with other people and to do my part.
Me: The article says that you are in charge of all the social media. What exactly do you do to promote the business?
Brenna: I spread the word through my friends on Facebook as well as daily chatter through texts and emails. I’m considering creating a blog on Tumblr for the business as well. I don’t have a set schedule for posting things. My mom helps me plan out what we need to post especially since I am still in school taking a summer class. What we post varies in each month.
Me: How do people find Imagiframes? Word of mouth? Social media? Do you have a store? Where do you get most of your business from?
Brenna: There are several ways of finding information about Imagiframes. I always try to bring up the business with my friends and a couple of my friends and their families have ordered from Imagiframes. We also have anImagiframes account on Facebook where holiday specials, new letters, and other announcements are posted from time to time. We do not have a store, but we work through retail stores throughout the nation. Most of our business comes from the retail stores.
Me: Can you tell me more about how you established a business relationship with these stores?
Brenna: My mom usually does all of the business with the stores. She sent information around to different stores in the Albuquerque area. She was able to build a relationship with a man who owns a store in Arizona and he helped her get the word out to other businesses. Now Imagiframes is in stores across the country.
Me: What does your typical day look like? How many hours do you work each week?
Brenna: In the afternoon, I work at least two hours every day with my mom on the business. What I do varies every day. One day I may be creating and processing note cards, and the next I may be marketing.
Me: Do you see yourself doing this long term or do you hope to have another career?
Brenna: I hope to have a career in engineering but I will always work with my mom when I am available.
Me: What advice do you have for teens who would like to start their own business?
Brenna: The sky is the limit, take the plunge, but for certain do your research. It’ll save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Me: What do you mean when you say to ‘do your research’?
Brenna: It really depends on what your business it, I guess. If you have a product to sell though you need to do your research. My mom and I went together to the first store that we hoped would carry our frames. It did not go well. We only had basic things, just a few items, and we really didn’t have everything that a small business needs. The lady that we met with told us that we were missing a lot of the things that we needed to be successful. She told us that they did not want our product unless we got everything done correctly. It was a little awkward. But we did our research, got everything together that we needed like paperwork and such. Then we went back to her and now she is one of our best sellers! It’s really amazing because we had no idea what we were doing and didn’t know what we had to do to bloom as a small business. So. We didn’t give up and now we are successful.
Me: Thanks again Brenna. It’s so nice to meet you and I wish you and your mom even more success with your business!
Brenna and Linda of Imagiframes are giving away one set of customized notecards (gift-boxed set of 10 cards and 10 envelopes)! All you have to do is comment below and answer the following question:
What kind of business would you like to start with your mom?
The winner will be announced on Monday night, July 1st – one entry per person.