Maile and Newmans Holding Check for Sewing with Smiles

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Maile and Newmans Holding Check for Sewing with Smiles. Maile McManis, the winner in the 12-15 age category, has beenCongratulations are in order for 13-year-old Maile McManis, the owner of Sewing with Smiles LLC  and winner of the 2020 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition in the 12-15 age category.

Sewing with Smiles began in 2018 when Maile discovered her mother’s old sewing machine, gifted by her grandmother. Since Maile’s mom had never picked up sewing, the machine sat unused until Maile mobilized both the machine and her newfound business inspiration.

In the two years since her discovery, Maile’s sewing skills have grown exponentially, along with her burgeoning business. Maile now has two product lines: fashion, including cosmetic bags and purses, and an eco-friendly line, including reusable produce bags. Judges loved Maile’s dedication to improving her business, and especially her timely response to COVID-19 by sewing and donating masks for essential workers.

Over the next year, Maile plans to explore new product offerings and sales opportunities with the help of her mentors, Bob and Judi Newman. Maile has, “learned so much from them already!”  equally busy during the last year.  Her business, Sewing with Smiles, sells a variety of hand-sewn cosmetic bags, produce bags, and gift bags.  Over the last year, Maile has expanded her line of products to include season-specific products for both spring and holiday seasons.  About her experience as a winner, Maile said, “Being recognized for my hard work was really nice, as was getting mentors to help talk through my business ideas.”  Maile adds that her mentors, Bob and Judi Newman, Denver business and philanthropy leaders, have counseled her to really focus on quality and not rush through her projects. She also notes that the prize money has allowed her to invest in new equipment that has improved her product quality.   Maile’s advice to potential applicants is, “…to not overthink it, and to go for it.  I didn’t win the competition the first year I applied but I still learned a lot and was inspired to work harder for the future.   Anytime you get to focus on your business and tell your story, it is a positive experience.”

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