After Zandra Cunningham’s dad refused to buy her lip gloss when she was nine years old, the now 16-year-old decided to make her own. Though she started making lip balms in her home kitchen, she now has a production and distribution studio where she creates natural beauty and bath products with inspiring packaging (one label says “You’re Perfect Just as You Are”). The accomplished young entrepreneur is a TEDx speaker and has been featured in various news outlets.
To buy: Lemon Tea Tree Hand and Body Lotion, $14; zandrabeauty.etsy.com.
Miss Maddy Makes
Maddy started making and selling homemade cat toys and treats locally in 2012, and in 2016 decided to open her Etsy shop to share her items with the rest of the world. The 15-year-old sells toys and hats for dogs, cats, and guinea pigs, plus cat and horse costumes, pillows, and T-shirts.
To buy: Hand Drawn Cat Pillow, $20; missmaddymakes.etsy.com.
Toil and Trouble Bath
After falling on tough times, Donovan Smith’s mom taught him how to create his own soaps. Donovan enjoyed the craft and began selling his handmade creations on Etsy and in local farmers’ markets in his home state of New Mexico. The soaps don’t contain parabens, phthalates, or detergents, and are made “in small batches with care, hope, and lots of love.” And even better news: Donovan donates 20 percent of each sale to local organizations that fight homelessness.
To buy: Ice Cream Sandwich Soap, $8; toilandtroublebath.etsy.com.
The Art of Nan
After making creations with Play-Doh, 10-year-old Alana received polymer clay from her mother as a birthday present to take her sculptures to the next level. She decided to open an Etsy shop when she needed to earn money to go on a field trip to the Kennedy Space Center—she sold more products than she thought she would and made enough to fund the trip... and then some. One day she hopes to open an actual store.
To buy: Pizza Ornament/Magnet, From $7; theartofnan.etsy.com.
Sassy Sparrow Boutique
Five young sisters started their business in 2011, selling handcrafted bags, headbands, gloves, and scarves. The sisters have help from their parents, two brothers, and sister-in-law in running the day-to-day operations of the business. The family is based in a small farming community in central Illinois, where they design their products with style, functionality, and durability in mind.
To buy: Everyday Shoulder Purse, $89; sassysparrowboutique.com.