(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)
As the partial federal government shutdown ends its second week, many workers without paychecks, as well as their families, are becoming increasingly worried about their personal finances.
That problem was on the mind of one fifth-grader in Gaithersburg, Maryland (a DC suburb), whose mother was furloughed from her job at the Food and Drug Administration back on 28 December. But instead of complaining, she, like any good entrepreneur, took action: she opened up a business.
The business is called Bella’s Sweet Scrubs and it’s owned by 11-year old capitalist and marketing whiz Bella Berrellez.
Bella’s company sells sugar scrubs, which is something I’ve never heard of. But please don’t take my ignorance as criticism. I’ve learned that a “scrub” is kind of a paste that you use in the shower and it’s a very popular thing.
The products sold by Bella’s Sweet Scrubs are made of organic sugar, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic dye and organic essential oils. They’re handmade by Bella herself and she sells them on her Etsy site for only seven bucks a jar.
Bella claims in a report by local television station WJLA that by scrubbing your body with her product just two or three times a week, your skin will be “nice and soft” and smell like lavender, eucalyptus or even purple rain, whatever that is. If you live in Montgomery county, Maryland, she’ll even personally deliver your purchase for an additional 50 cents (a price that I – with all due respect – would recommend revisiting). Another nice touch is that she includes a handwritten letter with each order. Not bad.
Also not bad is Bella’s marketing acumen. Ask anyone who’s succeeded in business and they’ll tell you that timing is important – and Bella’s timing couldn’t be better. She not only launched the business to solve a potential financial problem but she chose to sell something cool and trendy: a natural, organic, homemade, healthy product.
But more importantly, she used her age and her story – which ties directly into a leading national news story – to get lots of media coverage, including a four-minute segment this week on a local television morning show. Oh, and I’m writing about her too. There’s nothing like free PR to help promote a new startup and I personally know a few entrepreneurs – decades older than Bella – who would kill for the same kind of exposure.
But with all her media success, Bella’s still humble about the operation. “I was just thinking of creative and fun ways to contribute to the family,” she told local TV station Fox 5.
So here’s your chance to help out a furloughed worker and support a young entrepreneur. Oh, and smell a little bit better too. Who can argue with that business proposition?