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Entrepreneurs Owen and Liam Lennon, 11-year old twin brothers, will amaze you with their unique business! Owen makes all-natural bath products and candles which he displays in upcycled, vintage china or crystal dishes. Liam transforms pennies into keepsake necklaces, bracelets, or keychains to commemorate milestone events. Both savvy business owners were finalists in the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition last year.
Watch Liam and Owen’s segment on Colorado and Company, and learn more about them below!
Question: Owen & Liam, tell me a little bit about yourselves – name, age, how long you’ve been entrepreneurs?
Owen: Owen Lennon, 11. 6th Grade at West Middle School
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was eight, and made two other products before I hit on my current idea. I started The Scented Penguin in 2016 and want to see how successful I can be with this business.
Liam: Liam Lennon, 11. 6th Grade at West Middle School
I’ve also been an entrepreneur with the Young American Center since I was in third grade, and went through several ideas before I came up with the Lucky Penny. I started this business about two years ago and I’m committed to it.
Q: Do you each have a website? If so, let us know what it is.
Q: What motivated or inspired you to start a business?
Owen: I want to run my own business as an adult, and I loved that the Young Americans Center has programs for kids to get an early start. I love the YouthBiz Marketplaces, and how I’ve learned how to think about products not just from the angle of what’s cool or fun to make, but what will sell and how to look at pricing, and manage my costs. I also really like talking to people and hopefully having them buy something from me.
Liam: I thought it would be fun to be creative and exciting to earn money. My big goal is to be able to pay for Space Camp in Alabama. I like the challenge and imagination to keep coming up with new products.
Q: Please share an overview of your business, The Lucky Penny & The Scented Penguin.
Owen: I upcycle vintage china for candle holders or soap dishes, and I make the candles and soaps using all-natural ingredients. I have a great collection of quality tea cups or crystal – such as Limoges, English Bone China or Baccarat – that I use to hold soy wax candles. And I have cool things like vintage candy dishes or gravy boats, that I use to hold my all-natural soaps. I also make natural sugar scrubs that I sell in vintage sugar bowls. I love the combination of high-quality products in the beautiful pieces of china.
Liam: The idea behind the Lucky Penny is that everyone has years that are meaningful to them, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduation dates. I make items with pennies that have those specific dates. People select the years they want – I have pennies from every year from 1909 and even some earlier – and I make them into things like a keychain, bracelet, or necklace. They’re great gifts… you can put family members’ birthdates on a keychain for Father’s Day, or a bracelet for Mother’s Day, or give a keychain to a sports coach to remember a great season. I can also make pennies into good luck charms that you can put on a backpack, or use as a gift tag.
Q: Congratulations are in order to the both you! I heard you were finalists for the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition, how was that experience?
Owen: Amazing! The Young American Center does so much to support financial education in the state, and I really liked being a part of their fundraising dinner back in October. They made it a big deal for all of the finalists, and I loved being able to meet business leaders in the Denver area who have given me some valuable advice.
Liam: It was a special honor, because I know they had a lot of applications from other kids who run other great businesses. I really liked the chance to get to know the other finalists and winners, because I feel like we are all very supportive of and excited for each other, and I’ve had the chance to learn from them, too.
Q: Would you encourage other youth business owners to apply to the competition? If so, why?
Owen: Absolutely! Everyone at the Young American Center is so helpful to all of the young entrepreneurs. I have a feeling they would like to see everyone be a finalist if they could, but you’re going to get a lot of help for your business even if you aren’t a finalist. And you never know, you could win.
Liam: Yes, because the application process makes you sit down and analyze your business as well as articulate goals, plans and ideas. Things like “what have I done that didn’t work, and how can I do better moving forward?” I think it’s a very valuable exercise for any business owner, even if you don’t wind up winning.
Q: What are some goals you’ve been able to accomplish since being a finalist for the competition?
Owen: My biggest change was rebranding as “The Scented Penguin,” and designing my website. As a result of some of the feedback I received, I was also able to expand my products. I was only using china and mostly teacups, and I now added crystal. I’m also looking beyond just selling myself to customers, and seeing if I can be a supplier to a few gift shops.
Liam: I launched my website, and I have also really focused on adding all of the years to my pennies. I used to have all pennies from about 1940, but I now have all Lincoln head pennies from 1909 on, and some Indian Head pennies before that. I’m also looking at ways to broaden my sales, like partnering with a real estate company to sell keychains for when people buy a new home.
Q: What is the best part about having your own business?
Owen: Making money! I joke about that, but it’s nice to see that I can work hard and see it pay off. I have also liked learning about the china marks, and how they relate to different parts of history, like learning why some pieces are marked “Occupied Japan” or that the Czech Republic no longer exists. My mom jokes that my future wife will probably love that I know so much about china patterns, for when I get married.
Liam: The best part for me is setting new goals for myself, and figuring out how to achieve them. Of course, one goal is earning a certain amount of money, but I can also challenge myself in other ways, like figuring out a better way to make my product.