Spotlight On Success
Entrepreneur: Yen Nguyen, president and editor, Magical Rainbow Books. Student at Alternative for Parenting Teens in Arlington, Va., and mother of Christina, 3, and Alex, 8 months.
The business: Magical Rainbow Books, a company that produces a bilingual series of coloring books in Spanish and English.
Founded: In 1993 with classmates at herhigh school.
Description: The company, based at a public alternative school for teenage mothers, sold more than 900 coloring books last year at $2.50 each. It has published two books: one on animals, the other on numbers. This year, Yen hopes to add others to the series, including a Vietnamese edition.
Last year, Magical Rainbow Books netted more than $2,000, after production expenses. Most of the company's earnings go to support field trips, special programs, and other school activities. But its 18 students also share in the profits at the end of the year.
Business philosophy: "I think it's good if we can have a chance to go outside to the world and meet people and talk about our business, and maybe even persuade them to buy the book."
Contact: Alternative for Parenting Teens, 3205 South Second St., Arlington, Va. 22204; (703) 486-9403 or (703) 486-9526.
Entrepreneur: Cathryn Michael Murray, founder, Global Teen Club. First-year student at Diablo Valley College, a two-year college in Pleasant Hill, Calif., who also works part-time at a Safeway grocery store, provides in-home care to the disabled, and cleans houses.
The business: Global Teen Club, an international network of about 500 "ethnically diverse and socially aware" young people between the ages of 13 and 21.
Description: Members receive a nine-page monthly newsletter on topics of interest to teenagers around the world, including violence, racism, and aids. Membership costs $8 for six months.
As a high school freshman, Cathryn bought a typewriter with profits from selling candy. Now--with help from a staff of volunteer reporters, artists, and foreign correspondents--she publishes the newsletter with a donated computer. Cathryn recently filed for federal tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization.
Business philosophy: "There was a need, so I wanted to fill it. I realized I could make $20 a day in profit just lugging candy around. So I said, 'Hey, if I can sell candy, I can do this."'
Contact: Cathryn Murray, Global Teen Club, 3120 Oak Rd., Suite 309, Walnut Creek, Calif. 94596-2076; (510) 935-5015.
Entrepreneur: Margaret Kowalsky, co-founder, Fundamentals soccer camp. Sophomore biology major at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. One of six winners of An Income of Her Own's 1993 business-plan competition.
Business: Fundamentals, a summer soccer camp for girls.
Description: As high school juniors, Margaret and her classmate Rachel Rief decided to start a soccer camp for girls in their hometown of Yakima, Wash. Each August since then, they've run at least two one-week sessions for local girls in kindergarten through 6th grade.
Camp registration costs $22, and attendance has risen from 50 to 70 over the past three summers.
Since they started attending colleges on opposite coasts (Rachel goes to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.), the entrepreneurial duo keep in touch via phone and e-mail. Still, they do most of their planning when they're home for winter break.
Business philosophy: "When we were young, there were a couple of camps in our town that were coached by all men. We decided if they weren't going to have any women coaches, we were going to start our own camp." Margaret finds "working with a partner and setting our own goals" the most fulfilling aspect of running her own business.
Vol. 14, Issue 12