Having just finished writing an article about a bright young man who started a business at the age of 17, I was surprised and delighted to find a similar story in my own backyard. A key element in both stories is the computer, which enabled both of them to sell their products online.
Justine Juliano got his idea for a business from the designs of beach tags used in Ocean City, NJ, where his family has a summer home (see Justin Juliano: A Successful Entrepreneur at Age 17).
Alec Levin, a senior at Lower Cape May Regional High School, took a business class project and turned it into a home-based apparel business, Actions Over Words, which sells T-shirts, tank tops, beanies and other clothing items online.
Levin says it all started in business classes at Lower Cape May Regional, where students were asked to create a business plan from the idea stage to implementation — everything needed to start a real business. As Alec put it, "It was really cool. It was definitely a class that prepared you for the real world."
He started the business on March 1, 2015, but it really took off about two weeks before Christmas when he launched a video on Facebook using beautiful images of Cape May County captured by a friend of his who used a drone with a camera. The video, posted with information about Family Promise of Cape May County, indicated that Alec would donate $6 of every sale to that organization, through which area congregations provide overnight shelter and meals for homeless families to "help them get back on their feet." As a result, he was able to present a check for $1,700 to the charity at its Christmas party on December 23.
Levin credits Lou Ginsberg, a graphic designer at United Uniforms in Rio Grande, NJ, with a major role in the company's success. He says Ginsberg is "my dad's best friend and very talented. I draw a design and he brings it to life." Since Action Over Words was launched on Facebook, it has reached 10,000 people and resulted in orders from as far away as South Carolina, Florida and Texas.
It boggles the mind when you think about what these two young men have accomplished — and the potential the computer and the internet provides not only for them, but for anyone who has the gumption to take a chance. It's a whole new world out there, and like those who ushered in the computer age at Apple and Microsoft, young people are leading the way.
Beau Weisman, Editor