Lael Larson is an inspiring 12-year-old business owner who is already leaving her mark on the world! Her business, Maple & Oak, sells wooden earrings which she designs and creates herself. Lael has sold projects at the YouthBiz Marketplace, an event held by Young Americans Center for Financial Education which showcases youth entrepreneurs, and she has her own shop on Etsy.
Watch Lael’s segment on Colorado & Company, and learn more about her below.
Question: Tell me a little bit about you – name, age, how long you’ve been an entrepreneur.
Answer: My name is Lael Larson. I’m 12 years old. I started Maple and Oak in 2017 but I’ve always been into selling things and making money.
Q: Do you have a website? If so, let us know what it is.
A: Yes, it’s http://www.mapleandoak.biz/ .
Q: What motivated or inspired you to start a business?
My Aunt really inspires me. She runs an Etsy business with her own designed books— like baby books and pregnancy journals. It’s called “Spunk and Love.” Also, my dad is an entrepreneur and runs a software design company and his hard work inspires me. I started a business because I thought it would be so fun to interact with people and I love working with my hands.
Q: Please share an overview about your business.
A: Well, I design and carve wooden earrings. I design the earrings on the computer with a program called Easel which interfaces to carve them with a special machine called the XCarve CNC. This machine uses a computer to follow the exact instructions I’ve programmed with my design. It’s really precise and pretty quiet. After I design and carve them, there are lots of things to be done. I sand, stain and polish them. And after all that, I put on the hardware and then I work on putting them on display. Right now I’m mostly doing the sales but I hope I can get into some boutiques soon.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: These earrings are so practical because they can be big, bold and beautiful but they are so light. Plus, they are made by a 12-year-old.
Q: Tell us about some of the challenges you face being a young business owner.
A: Well, this isn’t the only thing I do. I have my studies and I’m a dancer and a piano player so the biggest challenge is just making enough time to work on the product and the business.
Q: Why should other youth start a business?
A: It helps so much to get started early. You have a chance to learn about all the aspects of business like calculating taxes, convincing people to buy your product, getting boutiques to sell them and learning persistence and time management. Plus….it’s really fun, especially if you are an extrovert, like me!
Q: Please share your involvement with YouthBiz.
A: I’ve participated in both their Holiday Marketplace and Rocky Mountain Hospital Valentine’s Day sale. Plus, I’m signed up to work at the Spring YouthBiz Marketplace. I’ve also been several times to their Young AmeritTowne program where, actually, I got to be a news reporter!