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Hannah Reyes, the 13-year-old owner of HER Designs, has operated her business for five years now. Her best-selling product is a fabric rosette hair clip, but she also creates mini-personal safety alarms that use the same signature flower.
In the wake of COVID-19, Hannah expanded her product line to include masks. “I realized that I have the resources, materials and skills to make masks,” said Hannah. “I want to be able to look back years from now and say that I have used this time wisely, and I did my small part to help.” Not only has this development has helped HER Designs grow, but it has also allowed Hannah to support her community, donating about 400 masks to local organizations and nonprofits.
Working with her mentor Alice Jackson, President of Xcel Energy Colorado, provided a huge source of inspiration for Hannah over the year. Hannah noted that Alice helped her improve her marketing efforts by suggesting website updates and ideas for broadening the reach of her business. “More importantly,” she added, my mentor gave me advice on how to focus and manage my time to accomplish my goals.”
Alice found the experience similarly rewarding, recalling the time they spent together as an honor. “We spoke a lot about how to prioritize,” Alice said in reference to Hannah’s request for help balancing school, her business, and her dedication to ballet. “It was insightful to be able to speak to Hannah about a topic that, as executives, we all think about—our struggles at times to find ways to meet the needs of work, family, and personal well-being.”
Owning a business is difficult, and the uncertainties of the past year haven’t helped. Yet, Hannah and Alice both remain optimistic about the future and continue to encourage other youth entrepreneurs. When asked what advice she would give to this year’s mentors and winners, Alice answered, “The world around us can change in an instant. Be flexible and keep an open mind about how to adapt your business and you will succeed!” Hannah echoed this sentiment: “Always believe in yourself. You are your best asset.”