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Pandemic prompts preteen to start her own business

Annie Whited went from bored to business owner

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — During the coronavirus quarantine,11-year-old Annie Whited was bored.

"And so, me and my mom decided to make earrings, out of this clay called polymer clay," she said. 

Mom is Julie Whited, who teaches art at A.L. Lotts Elementary School in Knoxville.

"I look at being quarantined kind of as a blessing in a way because I felt like that caused us to get creative at home," Julie Whited said. 

Annie buys the clay, comes up with designs, cuts patterns, bakes her creations, then forms them in to earrings.

Credit: Julie Whited
Annie Whited makes earrings from polymer clay

She made a lot of earrings, too many to wear. 

What to do with them...

Well, Julie is an art teacher and artist who was involved with a lot of art festivals so Annie knew the drill.

"She said, hey, I want to do my own business and we're like, okay, you tell us what you want and we will support you. I mean she is using her money to purchase her supplies so we talk about expense. We talk about profit. We talk about investment," Julie said. 

Credit: WBIR
11-year-old Annie Whited started a business she calls Iconic by Annabella

Annie calls her business 'Iconic by Annabella.'

Here's why.

"Well, iconic means unique and these earrings are really unique. And also I'm 11 so it's unique for a young girl to start her own business at 11 years old."

The 11-year-old is busy back in class in sixth grade at West Valley Middle School. But after school, she makes more earrings. 

Credit: Julie Whited
She sells the earrings at art festivals and on social media

She sells her earring at art festivals for 5 to 10 dollars a pair.

She also sells them through social media. Because the minimum age for your own Facebook page is 13, Julie made a Facebook page called Iconic by Annabella to promote Annie's jewelry. 

"She's got people from all over the country, she's selling in New York, she's selling in Ohio, she's got Miss Ohio International coming up that she's done some custom earrings for. So she's like everywhere and we are so proud of her," she said. 

Credit: Julie Whited
Annie Whited models one of her designs

Annie is confident about her future.

"I think one day I can have like a little shop like a boutique and create all kinds of earrings with designs and all that," she said.

Julie said,"If she has the mindset of I'm going to have my own shop one day then she'll have her own shop one day."