Maddie Givens and her lavender linen spray

Maddie Givens hasn’t started the eighth grade yet, but already she’s an accomplished entrepreneur. Her lavender linen spray was featured at the Dallas Arboretum’s East Dallas Neighborhood Market in June, and she sold to satisfied customers at Vector Brewing’s Small Business Artisan Market in April.

Lavender linen spray isn’t Maddie’s only product idea. Heck, the 13-year-old has been designing, manufacturing and marketing merchandise for ages – all the way back to sixth grade. When her confirmation class at Highland Park UMC held a competition to see which small group could raise the most money for a class offering and she learned the winners could select the nonprofit recipient, Maddie got to work designing handmade friendship bracelets.

“Most of the orders were from moms in our neighborhood who were ordering in time for Valentine’s Day,” says Maddie, who added names and other personalization. “I had more than one hundred orders – some for dance and gymnastics teams. It was so cool. I still see kids in the neighborhood wearing them, and it makes me smile.”

Mom, Ashley, promoted the bracelets on Facebook, and $250 was raised for the church offering.

Maddie’s dad, Tripp, encouraged her to enter a scholarship contest for dyslexic entrepreneurs based on her bracelet designs. She didn’t win, but her video outlining everything from materials cost to time management to marketing plan to delivery impressed the judges, who sent her a small award.

“It was only $10,” says Maddie, “but I was really proud of myself for doing something that took a lot of hard work and for being recognized by someone else. My parents put the $10 in my college savings account. The money really encouraged me to keep going with my business ideas.”

Maddie’s linen spray was designed to help her little brother, Baxter. His medication makes falling asleep difficult, and she learned that lavender helps folks fall asleep faster.

“I made the first batch for Baxter to spray on his sheets and pillow at night, and it really helped him,” recalls Maddie. “Then a friend of my mom wanted to try some for her child, and I made her some. Then another and then more started asking. I thought this could be a really good idea for a business.”

Ashley helps track new orders and assists with the kitchen assembly line – mixing the liquid, filling the bottles and labeling the spray. Delivery is free to customers in Lake Highlands, and Maddie pays Baxter 25 cents per house to deliver the spray door-to-door. Tripp helps order supplies and paid for the original setup, but Maddie pays for resupplies out of her earnings.

Maddie, who’s been invited to return to the Arboretum for their autumn vendor market, says she was proud to be the only young person there with a business in June. She didn’t make a large number of sales, but, like many entrepreneurs, she learned making connections can be just as valuable.

“I met really nice people and a lot of other small business owners who gave me some great advice. A beekeeper in Little Forest Hills encouraged me to start an Etsy account so I can sell my linen spray online. I would also like to participate in one of our local farmers market sales, and there is a really neat store in Richardson called Beaucoup that has invited me to come for a show soon. I’ve also sold some bottles to a gentleman who is placing them in the bedrooms of his VRBOs, which made me think it would be cool to sell bottles of my spray to a local hotel for them to give as gifts to guests staying in their best rooms.”

You may purchase Maddie’s lavender spray on Etsy here.

Maddie Givens