COLUMBIA, Mo. – Twin sisters looking for fashionable all-weather boots turned their search into a global market.
Bailye and Brynne Stansberry, 22, of Columbia will tell 4-H members how they started their e-commerce business during the 4-H Build-a-Business Camp, July 14-18 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.
Their company, TwoAlity, offers all-purpose boots with brightly colored interchangeable liners. They had patented the transparent boot upper with interchangeable liners by the time they were 19.
The Stansberrys began their project in high school as part of DECA, an organization to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, and developed it as they attended Columbia College. Both received bachelor’s degrees in business administration.
The company launched in May 2013. Committed to a product made in the U.S.A., the twins found a California manufacturer to make the boots, but couldn’t find a domestic fabric finisher that was flexible or affordable. Jim Gann, director of technology business development for MU Extension’s Small Business and Technology Development Centers, helped the sisters find a fabric finisher in Glasgow, Mo.
Distribution is through Premier Paper & Packaging of Columbia, a firm founded in 1994 by their father and his brother.
The twins have distributed their product in 11 states since launching their website in May. Since graduating from college they have remained in Columbia, committing themselves to creating and keeping as many jobs as possible here while they mentor other young entrepreneurs.
“Being able to pay it forward is really important,” says Brynne. They want to share their story and advise others “not to take no for an answer,” and not to be shrugged off by those who discount the dreams of young entrepreneurs simply because of age. “Ground yourselves with positive people,” Brynne said, because that is the foundation of success.
Other presenters include brothers Dustin and Austin Stanton of Centralia, who began a poultry operation that supplies eggs for MU dining halls, local grocery stores, restaurants, nursing homes and farmers markets. Dustin is a student at MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and Austin plans to attend MU after high school.
Randy and Corbin Umstattd of Innovat’d will speak to campers about their entrepreneurship experiences. Randy Minchew of Innovat’d and Golfso.com will be at the CoMO Incubator on Tuesday to talk about his experiences.
Another presenter is John Atkinson, CEO and CFO of CLIMB, a student organization funded by MU with an initial grant from Kauffman Foundation. Group members help promote entrepreneurial ideas and create a place for people with ideas to meet people with the experience and resources to realize those ideas.
At the end of the workshop, camp participants will pitch their ideas for launching a microbusiness to campus representatives, sponsors and community partners.
Summers @ Mizzou Build-a-Business Camp is sponsored by the MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development with support from community sponsors, including Commerce Bank, Miller’s Professional Imaging, the MU Trulaske College of Business, Sam’s Club, CLIMB Mizzou, Innovat’d, the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and the Missouri 4-H Foundation.
Youth scholarship sponsors are Greater Montgomery County Economic Development Council, Greater Warren County Economic Development Council, LRP Charities/Project Development, and MU Extension Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED).