Starting a business to earn extra money or even earn a full time living is an amazing thing to do as a teenager, but Emily Miller didn’t stop there, she’s determined to help as many teens as possible along the way. Emily has started an amazing company that is also a teen business opportunity.
Emily is 16 years old and started Laine Avenue along with her mom. Her company produces super cute backpacks in 24 different styles.
Emily shared that it all got started when she couldn’t find a backpack that she liked or that would hold all of her stuff. She and her mom started working together to design a backpack. Eventually, they came up with a prototype after going through a lot of patterns.
When she wore it to school her friends were interested in getting one of their own. They wanted to know how they could get one and how much it would cost. It was then Emily knew she could make a business out of her backpack idea.
They started conducting focus groups of her classmates to find out what they wanted in a backpack and talking to as many people as possible to make sure they didn’t miss any detail. Once the business really got started her friends were also interested in helping sell the bags.
Helping Teens Earn
When we spoke Emily made a great point about how hard it is to find a part time job. This is especially true in middle school. You have to be at least 16 to work at most places and even then you might not find anything. Emily saw her chance to help others within the framework of her business.
She developed a program that allowed others to sell the backpacks directly from the website. This allows them to focus on academics and other extra curricular activities and still be able to earn some much needed funds.
“I wanted other teens to have the same opportunities I did.” Emily
Becoming a ‘backer’ is a simple process on the Laine Avenue website. Teens purchase a backer kit that includes a backpack, an extra flap, and all the info they need to get started. Once signed up you get a Backer ID. When a customer uses your ID you get a 20% commission on the purchase and a check is mailed to you.
Laine Avenue Life Academy
At first, Emily wanted to create videos to help Backers know how to best build their business and be able to maximize their earnings. She quickly realized that she wanted it to be so much more. She learned so much going through the process of starting Laine Avenue and she wanted other teens to gain some of those same life skills as they worked with the company.
The Academy is an online portal with videos and worksheets designed to help teens learn skills centered around:
Financial Management (like budgeting, managing bank accounts, etc.)
Personal Development (like goal setting, time management, etc.)
Family and Relationships (like making small talk, navigating conflict, etc.)
It’s available to all Backers. And I have to say that I LOVE that she included financial management!
Lessons Emily Has Learned
Being a business partner with her mom in the company has been a learning experience for Emily. It isn’t something every teen experiences and it’s been a great opportunity for her. Being business partners is a totally different relationship than the normal mother/daughter thing. Emily loves what they have built together and how their relationship has grown.
She’s also learned how to take risks in a way she hasn’t before. Having a passion for something means that you have to do things you wouldn’t normally do and feel like you are risking everything. She says that it’s totally worth it!
“You can’t compare yourself to people who are already successful. I think that as a teen you’re always comparing yourself to others and when that became a problem for me it took a while to realize that everyone’s on a different path. I had to focus on my path.” Emily
Her biggest lesson is all about comparison though. And as teenagers we are experts at comparing ourselves aren’t we?!? Emily learned quickly that she had to stop comparing herself to other teenpreneurs that were super successful after years of hard work. She had to focus on what she was doing and work hard and not obsess about success or popularity.