A View From the Starting Line – A Conversation with Teenpreneur Tierney Schmidt
On Founder Shares, we usually explore the stories of seasoned entrepreneurs and their business ventures. However, the latest episode offers a unique twist as we turn our focus to a young, budding entrepreneur who is on the cusp of her entrepreneurial journey: my own daughter, Tierney Schmidt, a 15-year-old entrepreneur with a passion for crocheting. In the episode, Tierney shares her journey from early bake sales to her current business, Crochetalotta.
From a young age, Tierney exhibited a natural entrepreneurial spirit.
“When I was little, and my sister was in preschool, like me and my mom would do these craft fairs at my sister's preschool,” Tierney said, “and I would always sell these baked goods and all these things. So, it's like, I've been just in a business mindset since a young age and like, I don’t know, making money has always been kind of fun for me to do.”
While making money was definitely part of the appeal, it was also the joy of creating something and seeing others appreciate her products that motivated her.
“It's always fun to see people excited about a product that you're selling,” she said, “Like, ‘Oh, I wanted this!’ And then they're just so happy when they see the thing that you've given them that.”
So, Tierney used the skills she learned as a Girl Scout and set goals. She managed her expectations and strove for success. Setting realistic targets and working towards them has been a crucial aspect of her entrepreneurial journey—even when she wanted to test her new restaurant idea out with a date night for her parents when she was 7 or 8 years old.
“I saved up my money, and I went to the store, and I bought all the groceries for all the dishes,” she said. “And then, with a little bit of help from my Dad, I cooked up things and I made all these menus out of paper, and spent an hour in my room hand drawing all these menus with prices. I think it was like $20 for all the groceries and then I think I made $36 at the restaurant, so yeah, definitely made a profit.”
One of Tierney's greatest strengths as an entrepreneur is her outgoing and confident personality. She says that customers are more likely to engage with and support a business when they sense the owner's passion and confidence.
“If you're not going to be brave enough or confident enough to talk about your business or explain what your product is and why you're doing this, then people are going to be as interested in supporting the business,” Tierney said.
Tierney's early entrepreneurial endeavors, which also include selling Rainbow Loom creations and organizing lemonade stands, provided valuable lessons. She learned about the importance of product selection, the value of hard work, and the satisfaction of achieving her financial goals.
Tierney recounted her first experience selling at with an established business at the Artisan's Market, which helped her expand beyond her neighborhood. The opportunity to sell her products to strangers inspired her to continue growing her business.
“I bought all the supplies myself, then I had to make it all,” she said “It would take hours and hours and hours on the sewing machine making scrunchies, but yeah, it was super fun and I really enjoyed having that entrepreneur in brick and mortar store.”
Her latest endeavor is Crochetalotta. Tierney started crocheting at the age of seven and learned from a combination of sources, including a knitting group at her church and YouTube tutorials.
“I have always wanted to do a craft fair and start an Etsy shop and all that stuff,” she said. “I researched for months and months and months and applied to so many different craft shows and got so many no's and then like... I finally got a yes for a craft show and yeah, then I did my first craft show. And it's kind of story that sits from there.”
Tierney's journey from bake sales and craft fairs to her current crochet business, Crochetalotta, is a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance. Her story highlights the importance of setting goals, developing salesmanship skills, and leveraging online resources to learn and grow. With her outgoing personality and dedication to her craft, Tierney's was born to be an entrepreneur, and future looks bright.
Follow Crochetalotta on Instagram and Etsy to explore Tierney's unique crochet creations and get inspired to start your own entrepreneurial journey. To hear the full conversation, tune in to the latest episode of Founder Shares, available wherever you listen to podcasts.
The blog content should not be construed as legal advice.