What a Way to Start College.

What a Way to Start College.

Kelsey Knigin’s first business was collecting trash.  It was a short commute, stable customers, recurring income, and the hours fit her demanding school schedule.  Collections became a bit of an issue, though - Mom and Dad paid regularly, but her three siblings were always delinquent and complained about price.  

Her next business had a bigger market - New Jersey shore beachgoers.  Who doesn’t want a colorful threaded bracelet during the summer?  She had manufacturing problems, though - she only had one Rainbow Loom and her little brothers kept getting sand on it at the beach.

With these experiences, Kelsey knew exactly the headaches she wanted to avoid when she found Original Nations.  Given her experiences, Kelsey had a clear idea of what she wanted to create - something that people would love to show off!  

Kelsey was headed off to business school at the University of Texas in the fall, but felt like going back to her roots with her product.  After a long pandemic senior year, she wanted to spread some positive vibes with her Our Voices brand.  

She curated charm bracelets with inspirational, fashionable, and positive messages to support Addi’s Faith Foundation to end childhood cancers.  Some emails and texting, some IG posts, Dad and Mom posting on LinkedIn and Facebook, and Kelsey sold out her Campaign!  

When she arrives at UT Kelsey will already be a successful entrepreneur with her own brand, have her own money for social events, and be a philanthropist.  Not a bad way to start off freshman year!

So. Many. Ideas.

So. Many. Ideas.

Aiden Cunningham submitted his first idea with a CAD drawing.  CAD (computer-aided design) software allows engineers and architects to render 3-D pictures of complex objects.  Aiden was a 13 year old in 9th grade.   

The CAD design was accurate down to fractions of a millimeter and rotated on our computer screens.  Our jaws were on the ground as we scrolled through it and his list of 20 other ideas.  He had *clearly* given his product ideas a lot of thought.  

Aiden had heard about Original Nations at school and wanted to make products.  He talked about it with his Minecraft community - for whom he of course ran the server - and they were supportive.

Aiden’s energy and creativity were contagious.  Original Nations’ brand, creative, manufacturing, and design teams LOVED his enthusiasm.  We discussed Aiden’s ideas with him, and we all decided not go with that first idea.  Or the next one.  Or any of the first 20 ideas.  

Eventually, though, we landed on a brand and product that he loved and that supported his passion around environmental sensitivity.  

During the pandemic, Aiden’s small Montessori school stopped using reusable utensils for lunch, and went to disposable plasticware.  Everyone WANTED to not use plasticware, but they didn’t have an option.  

And that is how the Portable Planet brand was born.  Its first product was a modern-looking, portable, reusable utensil set (including chopsticks!) - easy to wipe down, can be taken anywhere, and won’t end up in landfills.  

For his next product launch, Aiden already has his brand, and we’re pretty sure he’ll have plenty of ideas.

We All Start Somewhere

We All Start Somewhere

When did you open your first bank account?

As a kid I remember putting my Christmas and birthday cash into a sock in the back of my underwear drawer.  You had to be 16 to get a job in Ohio - my first job was as a bell boy at the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road in Independence, Ohio. I had to cash the checks, so that’s when I got my first bank account.

I thought of this the other day when Anderson Walsh wrapped up his Campaign for the Lone Peak Supply Co. knife.  He more than doubled his minimum order, and had raised plenty of money for his Eagle Scout project.  

We confirmed the final tally with Anderson, and he was very excited.  The amount was more than enough to pay for his Eagle project - building a bench outside of his school - and the remainder would be donated to the school!

At our next meeting, we met Anderson’s hero, his dad Marc.  Anderson asked his dad to join because this was his first income - he wasn’t 16 yet and had never had an official job.  It was enough money to be taxed (“what’s a W9?”), and required a bank account to receive payment (“what’s a routing number?”).

These were all firsts for Anderson.  He got to learn about marketing, products, profits, and also bank accounts, taxes, and charities.  Now.  In high school.  

We started Original Nations imagining anyone with enthusiasm and energy could be an entrepreneur and make the world a better place.  

We imagined people like Anderson Walsh. 

Don't Stop Believin'

Don't Stop Believin'

Luke wanted to make a motorized electric couch.  Or a spray bottle for really thick hot sauce.

Luke was never afraid to try new things.  His dad was an incredible piano player, and as Luke got the musician bug, he decided to go a completely different direction and took on the drums.  He still played the piano, and the guitar, and the bass, but DRUMS... that became his passion.

This was all before he even got to high school.  That was when the inventing and entrepreneurial bug really kicked in.  Luke was in the first round of alpha testers for Original Nations, but he deferred for a year.  The motorized couch was an itch that he had to scratch.

As he started junior year of high school, he had built quite an audience for his online videos of epic drum licks and guitar riffs.  He wanted to learn how to combine his passion for music and entrepreneurship.  He wanted to make a music brand, a throwback to great concerts, rock and roll, but still modern.  

What about drumsticks, he asked?  We did some research and asked him “what about a GUITAR?”  And that is how Luke launched the Spectre music brand.  His first product would be the most expensive thing we’ve ever had on the platform.  Undaunted, with handwritten letters to his musical heroes, he sold out of his guitars in less than a week.  

We’re all excited to see what itch Luke wants to scratch next.

Gear Matters

Gear Matters

Hannah Garrou’s track career began on the soccer field.  She was always the fastest on the field, blowing by everyone to get to the ball first.  This was cute in youth rec soccer leagues, but became impossible to miss against older teens.  

Her school didn’t have a track team, so Hannah’s parents took her to a local club track coach for advice.  Hannah had never run a race before, so the coach had her run a few sprints. 

Then he asked her to run them again because he couldn’t believe the numbers on his stopwatch. 

Hannah is now a really fast high school sprinter.  She’s constantly training, going from school to practice to home, and traveling to competitions.  

She often dons athleisure wear over her training gear, and has worn a lot of track jackets.  They keep her warm between races and impacts how she feels.

When we talked with Hannah about products for her Campaign, she wanted to make something she would love, use, and represent who she was.  

She had already started the Hans & Murry brand with her friend Emory, so we created the “Hans & Murry Athletic” line for Hannah’s athleisure products.

Between school work, finals, track practice, competitions, and rolling around with her dogs, Hanna joined the short video calls required to launch her track jacket.  

After launch, she worked hard to use email, text, and social media to share her product with friends, teammates, classmates, relatives, and her parents’ friends to sell out her Campaign in just a few weeks!

Getting Revenge on the Dress Code

Getting Revenge on the Dress Code

Emory thought, “Why does dad get to wear sweatpants to work?”

She considered this as she painted fan art for her favorite movies, like How to Train Your Dragon, or anything Pixar.  She contemplated this as she pinned the older boys in her Brazilian jiu jitsu classes.  She reflected on this during volleyball practice, serving with a little extra oomph.  

Her dad would say, “Well, they’re not really sweatpants, they FEEL super comfortable like sweatpants, but they LOOK like business pants.”  That seemed unfair to Emory - why weren’t there options like that for girls?  She wanted something that passed the school dress code, but felt like pajamas.  

During sophomore year in high school, she spent time with a 2nd Cup, a non-profit in her hometown that helped prevent human trafficking, and she wanted to help.  

As luck would have it, she found a way to solve her pet peeve and make a difference.  She met with the Original Nations team and talked about her interests, brands, and product ideas.  In just a couple months she launched her Hans & Murry brand with a custom-designed t-shirt dress, with proceeds to support a 2nd Cup.  

As it turned out, lots of adults and kids wanted formal comfiness, just like Emory.  She sold out of all her dresses, and did her part to stop human trafficking.  By junior year, she moved onto her second product in the Hans & Murry brand - affordable, quirky, truly hypo-allergenic earrings, and this time she gets to protect endangered marine animals!