These KC 12-year-olds run their own t-shirt business — and it all began on the playground

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A group of boys, who aren't even teenagers yet, are behind a new online clothing store that dares Kansas Citians to be “bold.”

The beginning of BOLD Apparel Company started on the playground between two friends, Dean and Charlie. They were 8 years old at the time, selling rocks and acorns to their peers.

“We kind of wanted to have a business, but we didn’t have actual money, so we used acorns,” Dean said.

A few years later, they recruited their friends Andrew, AJ, Coleson and Sam.

“When we first started this, I thought this is basically just a play date,” Andrew said.

They ultimately convinced their parents they were serious about starting an actual business and came up with BOLD Apparel Company, an online t-shirt business based out of Kansas City.

“After we sold our first t-shirt, we were like, 'We can do this,'” Andrew said.

Andrew is the floater of the group, meaning he helps wherever needed. Charlie and Dean, the original founders, head up inventory and finance, respectively. Coleson, AJ and Sam oversee social media, customer service and marketing, respectively.

“I think their energy to keep it going is a combination of encouragement and their own interest,” said Holly Mihalovich, Charlie’s mom and mentor to the group.

They meet every Friday to go over the logistics of their young business, including the branding, finances, inventory and filling customers orders.

“It’s so great to see them excel at something that’s their own, that they started and feel proud of,” Mihalovich said.

The 12-year-old boys work with a designer and screen-printing company to make their shirts, but they come up with all the concepts.

“We’ve gotten to know each other’s personalities and what they like and want, and so we can work around that and just think of a compromise,” Andrew explained.

They have big ideas for their company, too.

“We don’t want it to just be KC. We want to expand it to other states and maybe even other countries,” AJ said.

Six different kids, with their own set of talents, proving anyone can be an entrepreneur if you stay the course.

“It’s such a combination of kids, and they all love each other and work so well together,” Mihalovich said. “We hope we’re creating something that every kid can celebrate no matter what their situation is.”

The boys’ message to other entrepreneurs: “If you’re not selling anything, you’ve just got to keep going,” Andrew said.

“Just don’t give up and keep going, and it gets easier and easier as you go on,” Dean added.

To learn more about BOLD Apparel Company and to see their inventory, visit their website here.

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