Over a year ago this tween entrepreneur decided to turn a hobby into a business and a business into a give-back movement.
Meet Ariela Leff, a tween entrepreneur from Southern California who decided at 11 years old that the bracelets she was making “for fun” were also going to make a difference in her community.
What made you decide to launch Lulu’s Bracelets?
At first I was making beaded bracelets because I saw people online making them and I thought it looked cool. So I started making them and it was really fun and I did it throughout the summer. Then I got involved with WIT - Whatever It Takes (through my sister) and realized I could turn it into a business and help a good cause.
How did you decide what cause you wanted to support?
First I started thinking about the causes that mean the most to me like taking care of animals and helping children in the hospital. Then I just kept it really simple and started googling organizations to see if there was anything out there that did this work and was close to where I live. That’s when I found the Helen Woodward Animal Center and their PET program. I loved the PET program because it funds pet visits to the hospital. I decided to donate 50% of my Lulu’s Bracelets sales to PET.
That’s awesome! How much money have you raised for PET?
Thanks to everyone who has been buying the bracelets we have donated over $1,000. It feels really good to accomplish that goal and to help the animals and those in the hospital.
It must be hard juggling school, hobbies, homework, extracurriculars, and Lulu’s Bracelets. How do you balance it all?
Sometimes it’s hard to juggle it all. I don’t always have time, but I do try to make time. It means that I can’t always just go on my phone and that I need to work on making bracelets instead. Thinking about the animals and the goals I’ve set for myself helps me make that choice.
Have you experienced any setbacks? How did you handle them?
Learning about money and budgets was difficult at first. I had to make sure I didn’t spend all the money purchasing new supplies for the bracelet designs. I needed to learn to make new designs with the supplies I had so that more money could go to PET.
At first I was really nervous to do interviews on TV and for magazines and newspapers but I kept practicing and working with a mentor and that helped me so much. Now I feel less nervous and more excited about the opportunities.
What advice would you give to a tween who is thinking about starting a business?
Don’t do it because someone else wants you to do it. Do it because YOU want to do it. Also, just try your best. And, if you don’t have a reason or a motivation for your business it might not work. For me, helping the animals and making those hospital visits possible really motivates me.
How did it feel to see your bracelets in a store?
I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited to see something I made on display at a store that I
know and visit - Color Counter. It meant so much to me to have an in-person location for Lulu’s Bracelets instead of just online.
It’s so fun to create different themes connected to holidays or seasons and then see people buying and wearing the designs. It’s so special.
Anything else you want to share?
I’m so grateful for the people at the Helen Woodward Animal Center who help all the animals and also let me come visit and spend time with the animals. I always leave wanting to make more bracelets!
Learn more about Lulu's Bracelets - https://www.instagram.com/lulu...