Greyson: When I was nine I came up with the idea for BrickStix. I was playing with my LEGO bricks wishing I could add decals to my build, and take them off when I was finished. The stickers that come with the brick sets are permanent. I never put them on, because you can’t change your mind later. My frustration led to a conversation with my mother about what I thought should exist. That’s when I came up with the idea for BrickStix. BrickStix are reusable, removable, restickable cling decals for LEGO, MEGA BLOKS and other plastic bricks. I have a blog on the BrickStix website (www.brickstix.com). You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook!
Sarah: When did you start thinking about starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur and why did you want to start?
Greyson: I really never thought about starting my own business. I have sold lemonade in the driveway, babysat for my sisters and earned money doing chores, but I never thought about doing anything like BrickStix. I really just wanted a product that didn’t exist. So, we made it happen.
Sarah: What investigation did you do to help you know that this would be a great business?
Greyson: First I did research to see if my idea already existed. Then my family and I started looking into different material that would work. I figured, I couldn’t be the only person that wanted something like BrickStix. We decided to give it a try and believed in my idea. Turns out, lots of people like it!
Sarah: What do you think are the most important skills you have that help you in business and that other kids starting a business would need?
Greyson: For my business, creativity is my most important skill. There would be no BrickStix, if I hadn’t dreamt them up to make my builds better. I also learned to be patient. It takes a long time to develop a product and get it in to stores. I wanted them right away, but I had to wait. We had to make sure they were just what I wanted.
Sarah: What were the biggest obstacles, problems you had in getting started as a kid in business?
Greyson: I’m in school all day. The team does the day to day work. I like to learn about the manufacturing process, and like to see where they are made. A lot of the manufacturing checks are when I am in school, but I have had the opportunity to approve proofs, check samples, and see the places they are made.
Sarah: How old were you when you started and how old are you now? How does age age affect kids starting a business or how does your age affect your business success?
Greyson: I was nine when I first thought how cool it would be to have decals for my LEGO bricks that I could put on and take off. Since other people handle the day to day business, being a kid hasn’t affected the business negatively. If anything, it has worked out great! Kids know what kids like best! I think the fact BrickStix were invented by a kid, is a plus!
Sarah: What about college? Are you planning on going? Do you think that college is necessary for kids in business?
Greyson: I definitely will be going to college. I have taken a few classes at Marquette University School of Engineering on Robotics and Stop Motion Video. It’s so fun being there. I can’t wait to go when I am older. I don’t know if college is necessary to be in business, but it is important to me. I like school and I like learning.
Sarah: What kind of expenses or start-up costs did you have when you started your business and where did you find the money or capital to start? Have you found that there are places to help kids starting a business to find funding?
Greyson: There are lots of different expenses when you start a company. Lucky for BrickStix, everyone involved offered something special. My uncle is the BEST at designing the Stix, my aunt does all of our Web, Facebook and Twitter stuff, my dad handles the business and patent end, and my mom keeps everything running. I do research and development, as well as okay all new designs. We even have a toy consultant, she went to school with my mom. With all of that expertise, we were off to a great start! We funded the initial run in-house, the rest has been funded through sales.
Sarah: What have been the best surprises that you found in starting a business?
Greyson: The best thing about BrickStix has been all of the cool opportunities that have come my way. I have met really amazing people that I admire. I have had chances to do things like be interviewed for articles, radio, I’m a nominee for a young inventor award, and so much more.
Sarah: What ideas and approaches do you use to market your business and what do you find works best for you in getting the word out about who you are and what you are doing?
Greyson: Our website gets BrickStix around the world. People all over the planet have written about us in blogs, magazines and newspapers. I love learning that people like BrickStix in places I’ve never even been!
Sarah: How do you balance it all? Do you find that you still have time to be a kid or is it all about business?
Greyson: Rule number one in my house…school comes first. Everything else second. I have lots of time to be a kid. My invention is a toy, even when I am working, it’s fun!
Sarah: What is the best business advice or tips you would like to share with kids who want to be CEO kids?
Greyson: My advice would be to believe in yourself and your idea. If you can’t do that, you can’t expect anyone else to.