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business

A Bright Idea for a Business

A contest for entrepreneurial kids gave 10-year-old Aria Eppinger of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a chance to show off her business skills and meet Warren Buffett.

What’s your winning idea? It’s called Shine So Bright. We’re going to sell kits to make light-up clothing. The kits will contain LED lights, colored thread that conducts electricity, and switches and batteries. They’ll be sold online and through stores like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft.

How did you think of it? My family was making light-up sweatshirts, just for fun, by soldering wires and sewing them into sweatshirts, and it took forever for my dad to finish soldering my sweatshirt. I thought there should be a better way to do it. The new thing on the market is conductive thread. I came up with the idea of putting all the supplies in a kit.

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QUIZ: Test Your Start-up Know-how

What will you charge? We will have two products. One will be the basic kit, with LEDs, conductive thread, decorative pieces that snap over the lights to create different effects, a needle, two battery packs, one battery and a how-to guide. My cost for the basic kit is less than $5. The retail price for the kit will be $19.99. We'll also have a kit that will have supplies—but not the how-to guide—that you can buy for additional projects. That's $9.99.

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Have you patented the idea? Yes, I have a provisional patent. My dad had to fill out the form because I'm a minor. If you don't get your idea patented, someone can just swoop in and steal it away from you.

How did you learn about business? I like to watch Shark Tank, a TV show for entrepreneurs.

What was it like to meet Warren Buffett? Do you hope to run a company like his someday? He was very nice, very friendly and very generous. I don't know what I want to do yet. I'm still in grade school. I'm only halfway between kindergarten and high school. But I want to be someone who is kind like he is, no matter what I become.

What are you going to do with the $5,000 prize money? I'm going to donate one-third of the money to charity. The rest I'm going to use to work on Shine So Bright and maybe other business ideas.

Do you have other ideas? Some. But none of my new ideas are as unique as Shine So Bright.

This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more help with your personal finances and investments, please subscribe to the magazine. It might be the best investment you ever make.

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