Where are they now? CYE 2012 business competition winners

Latia Henderson Events, YouthBiz Leave a Comment

Where are they now?

11149688_10206412447012428_2977918214408672116_o-1024x678Recently, Young Americans got to catch up with our 2012 Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs winners, then Akaline, now Moore Collection. Moore Collection is a lifestyle brand that is dedicated to creating high-quality products centered around original, hand drawn designs. The two-person team, Tanner and Taylor design and hand print all items in their Denver based workshop. Both owners have always been inspired by numerous aspects of Colorado, which helped them to create products centered on the outdoors and adventure.

A few years ago, an art teacher handed Tanner and Taylor some supplies and said “here you go!” That was the moment it all began! The big break came when “Akaline” won the Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs business competition in 2012. They were paired with Presenting Mentor, Curt Richardson, Founder & Chairman of Otter Products LLC, and their adventure took off!

Watch this short clip of Moore Collection on their recent visit to Colorado & Company to see where they are now!

Question & answer session with Tanner and Taylor from Moore Collection.

How did it all begin?

A few years after we began dating, the idea struck us to start our own company. Tanner loved art, and I (Taylor) loved business and always wanted to run one, so what better time than the present? We were 16 & 17 years old when the idea hit to start our own clothing company. One of our art teachers grabbed some old supplies she had in a closet and said “here you go”! We didn’t know what much of it was, but, we were determined to find out. After messing around countless times, we figured out how to print our own shirts and set up a little work space in part of Tanner’s garage. After a few years, we were busting out of the garage and quickly had more business than we were equipped to handle. We knew we had to either get a space of our own to grow or scale back as we went to school. We decided to grow! We now operate out of a 1,200 square foot work shop in Denver and business has only continued to expand!

How did Young Americans support your business?

Starting a business while being young was hard — we had a lot of people who didn’t express their belief in us. It was really easy to get discouraged, but, there were a few people who encouraged our success and wanted to see us grow. Young Americans was one of those supporters. This was great for our sense of confidence, considering that we didn’t know anyone our age running a business, and often people would say we were too young. This made us wonder sometimes if we were too young. When we won the youth business competition, Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs, we were not only thrilled for the financial compensation to help us grow, but we were really excited to know that that many people believed in us and our business. We got paired with an incredible mentor, Curt Richardson of Otterbox, who provided us with great knowledge that made us really start to think about the direction of our business. Young Americans has also allowed us to network with members of the local business community, which has been incredibly valuable to our growth.

What are the most crucial skills you learned so far from starting a business and now being a business owner?

The best things we have learned have been from our hands-on experience, not what we have learned in a classroom. We have learned a great deal of technical skills on our own, but have also learned how to run and most importantly, grow a business. When we started and began to grow, we didn’t have anything to model it off of, or anyone to tell us how it was done. We decided to dive deep into business ownership on our own and we forced ourselves to figure it out. We have learned that running a business requires far more work than a 9-5 job, but is far more rewarding! We went from making a few products here and there to running a much larger functional business. Because of this, we’ve had to figure out how to keep our business growing properly. We continue to figure out how to keep our audience engaged, how to grow the way we want to, how to make our processes efficient, how to continue to make great products and so much more! There is so much involved in running a business and learning all of that has been an incredible journey.

What advice would you give to a young business owner who is just starting out?

The biggest advice we can share is… don’t give up! People can be discouraging, and so can failures. If you take failures as something to learn from, you are only going to grow and be successful later on. There have been times where we have been so mad at ourselves for mistakes but the best thing we could do was to not give up, learn from them, and become better at running our business. Now things feel like they come to us naturally, but it took years of mistakes to get here. Regardless of how old you are, you are going to have to be willing to put in a lot of work and research into what you want to start. Nobody said starting a business was easy and if you are really passionate about it, give it your all.

Applications for Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs, Colorado’s largest competition for youth business owners open on March 1, 2016. Finalist and winners receive CASH prizes ($250-$1,000), to use towards operating or improving their business. Plus, winners are paired with a MENTOR, a successful Denver business person, to help guide their business strategy. Learn more here.

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