When kids get asked what they want to be when they grow up, it’s likely none of them say “entrepreneur.” While they may be unfamiliar with the word, we know those little bosses are out there selling friendship bracelets and lemonade. You may have been one of them! At 10 years old, Sailor Leslie is a great example of hustle that some of us are still working to achieve. Her business, Sailor’s Hook, utilizes her talent as a seamstress to make a variety of items for the home. Sailor’s parents run A Little Detour, a mobile vintage photo booth, so she has some pretty good examples in the business arena, but you can tell that this girl is going places all on her own. We can’t wait to see what this entrepreneur in training will do next!
Give us a brief description of your business.
My business is called Sailor's Hook and I am a seamstress. I sew different kinds of pillows, quilts, dog beds, and during the holidays, I make Christmas ornaments. I create my own pillow designs, but I also create custom pillows. For custom pillows, I set out a selection of fabrics that customers can choose from right at my booth. While they wait or walk around the Bazaar,
I sew and stuff their pillows.
How did you get started?
I started my business because I love to sew! I had already worked on a few projects for fun. When my parents are at the Asbury Park Bazaar I like to help them, and I decided it would be fun to start my own business and try it out.
What gets you in the mood to create? (ie. Do you like to listen to music or do you get inspired by a certain fabric? Etc.)
One thing that gets me in the mood to create is a book that my parents got me, Amy Butler's Piece Keeping. I like to look at all the creations in the book and try to create them with my own twist. Another thing that gets me in the mood to create is my fabric. I have so much fabric and when I go through it, it inspires me. The last thing that inspires me is thinking about the upcoming Bazaar. I know that I make people happy with the pillows I create. Whatever holiday is coming up, I always find something new to create that goes along with that holiday.
You donate some of your sales to charity. That’s fantastic! Why is that important to you? How did you choose what charity to support?
It is important to me to donate some of my sales to charity because it makes me happy to know that I am helping people by doing so. In the past, I have donated to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, which I love. Recently I learned about the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission. I like that they are a local charity and help so many people in need.
What’s it like working with your family? How do they help to support your business?
When I work with my family, they help me with many things. They helped review my design for the business cards I wanted to print. They pitch ideas for me to sew and critique my work to help me make it better.
The Asbury Park Bazaar can get really busy. How do you stay calm and focused when you’re at your booth?
I stay calm and focused by arranging my pillows to make them look nice and I sew more pillows while I am waiting for customers. When it's busy, I keep a list of customers that are waiting for pillows to be made. I keep track of their name, the size of the pillow, estimated return time, and if they pre-paid or not. It helps me stay organized.
What’s your favorite part about having a business?
My favorite part about having a business is knowing that it is my own and I have the power to do things that mostly, only adults get to do. Some people might think that kids can't run businesses, but, it is that power that helps me through the hard parts. It doesn't matter how old or young you are, it matters how you feel when you do it.
What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs?
Some advice I have for other young entrepreneurs is to never give up. Sometimes many things can go wrong and you might feel like giving up, but you can't. You have to learn from your mistakes to help your business grow.
Who inspires you?
The person who inspires me most is my dad. He is always coming up with new designs for me to try. He helps to critique my work to make it better. One famous person that inspires me is Simone Biles. She inspires me when I do one of my favorite things, gymnastics.
What’s your dream job?
My dream job would be to open up my own shop as a seamstress. I would also think about becoming a teacher.