Inspiration comes from where one finds it, and for Carlisle student Drew Sanders it was from his little sister enjoying a bath. Sanders was among 16 entries from throughout the state selected in the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (YES), to present his business plan and product — Drew’s Awesome Soap — at Park Plaza Mall on Friday.
YES is a project of the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF), an affiliate of The Arkansas Capital Corporation.
Unfortunately, Sanders was not among those chosen through customer comments as a top finisher, but the reception by customers was favorable, with brisk sales and many prospective customers stopping to consider his product.
Sponsor Jennifer Park, gifted and talented coordinator, said this is the second year Carlisle students have entered YES, but Sanders is the first to be selected to go to the next level. “It’s exciting,” Park said.
She would be offering the YES program again next school year, she said. “We have had a lot of support from businesses,” she said.
While the product has a role, the actual lessons are in business planning, Park said. Entries are judged on the business plan and marketing, Park said.
Sanders said he was not certain of exactly what led him to consider soap for his business offering. “I thought of a lot of things, but decided to try to make soap,” he said.
His little sister, though, is what confirmed the choice. “She doesn’t like to take baths. But she tried some of my soap and she wouldn’t stop,” Sanders recalled.
Besides the cosmetic side of the soap, Sanders added a bonus. “It’s the only soap with a surprise inside,” he said, pointing to small toys that are cast inside each bar.
Mom, Stephanie Sanders, said that the soap business has been self-supporting. “We gave the money to start, but it has all been paid back,” she said.
“Drew keeps the records; I have him show all the expenses and the money for it comes from the soap that he sells,” she said.
Whether or not this is a start in a career is not certain, but the lessons learned are good, Sanders said. “I don’t know,” he replied about continuing making soap. “I am still thinking of other things, too.”