2014-05-01 | By Madeline Nedry
View Original Article »
Friendlybands was inspired by my daughter, Jessica. It all started when she was 8 years old (she's now 11) and began creating bracelets from rubber bands. Youth throughout South Florida have been making these colorful bracelets and they can be seen wearing them in the halls of Coral Springs Elementary, Parkside Elementary, Country Hills Elementary and many other area elementary schools. Jessica had a different idea, though.
It was June 2011 when her hobby turned into a business after a family friend was diagnosed with cancer. Jessica made 100 bracelets and sold every one of them to raise money and hope for this woman. I decided to embrace my daughter's vision and we came up with our company name, FriendlyBands.
She has been featured on several local news stations and in several local newspapers over the past three years. It was a unique idea and now we have created a FriendlyBands SunshineLoomkit that launched in December. Never did we dream that this would become a crase.
We had a vision to create the perfect FriendlyBands making kit. We didn't realize that all these rectangular looms were coming into the market. However, her circular-designed SunshineLoom (made from wood and nails) makes it easier to create bracelets and more.
Each peg has its own numbers and is able to make a complete bracelet, which goes all around in half the time of other rectangular and square looms out there. You would need to purchase two or even three of the other looms to create what the SunshineLoom can do. It also uses latex-free rubber bands for its craft items.
The three-year journey has been a stressful joy for us as parents. We have watched Jessica work hard and maintain her eagerness and self-motivation to do the best that se can. She is a sixth grader and maintains an A average at Westminister Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Jessica plays on her school's soccer and volleyball teams and also plays for a traveling soccer team. She even has time to play the cello.
For us, it's not just that Jessica created an educational craft kit, which is we looked at it from day one. The kit keeps kids off iPads, computer and TV. It's also an excellent opportunity for her to learn how to run a business. In addition, she has organized fundraising programs for schools and kids in need through the business.
We have partnered with Seagull Services, an agency that provides employment and life skills training for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental challenges. Seagull Services is the fulfillment house located in Florida. In February, a truck pulled up to Seagull with a container that held 10,000 kits to fill orders.
She is a young entrepreneur with a popular product that's sold on its own site, FriendlyBands.com, Walmart.com, ToysRUS.com, Amazon.com and Target.com for $19.99.
Jessica's dad, Doug Nedry, is an American Airlines pilot who supports Jessica in everything she does. As her mom, how can I not embrace, help and teach her all that I can as a business person. She has been an incredible girl from the moment she was born, and is turning into an amazing young lady.
I couldn't be more proud. She does everything from the heart. Her compassion for others is why my husband and I believe so much in her product.