Sylvania teen runs booming button business There’s a Badge for ThatWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Chase Will
When she’s not doing homework for honors classes or participating in extracurricular activities at Sylvania Southview High School, 17-year-old Claire Coder is running a successful national business called There’s a Badge for That.
As a young business owner, Coder said she attributes her success to the Three P’s: “Passion, poise and professionalism.”
“I love what I do, and I do what I love. It’s what my mom always instilled in me,” Coder said. “I’m always listening to my customers and looking for new ways to meet their needs. I want my customers to have exactly what they want.”
Coder’s entrepreneurial adventure began when her grandmother gave her a badge maker for Christmas two years ago. Coder created several artistic designs, and after receiving positive reviews from friends and family, she decided to use the gift as a starting point for something even bigger.
She began cold-calling businesses throughout town, looking for someone to carry her product. Although she was told “No” during the first few calls, she soon gave a successful presentation to Mary Anne Strayer at Schramm’s Flowers and Gifts and found her first distributor.
“Her presentation, her enthusiasm, the way she presented herself during the call — she just won us over right away,” Strayer said.
Coder has more than 200 designs ranging from inspirational to humorous.
“It’s great to see my product out and about,” Coder said. “I’ve had a lot of large company orders. I go to the Toledo Museum of Art and they’re all wearing my badges, and it’s like, ‘Wow, I made that!’ That’s very rewarding for me.”
Coder’s mantra is “The possibilities are endless,” and she’s constantly looking for new ways to deliver her product to customers. Recently, she began teaching one- to two-hour workshops where groups create their own designs to take home. Attendees have included Girl Scout troops and Red Hat Society Clubs.
“This summer I’m hoping to launch something on my website where people can go online and design their own badges,” Coder said.
Coder’s business has provided paying jobs for five friends, who help the business grow by reaching out to new markets. Through her online store, BadgeThat on etsy.com, Coder is able to sell nationwide.
“I’d say it’s tough to balance, but there comes a point where you find this great equilibrium,” Coder said. “After school I usually attend a business meeting, then I fill some button orders, meet with my distributors and hopefully get to go for a run to ease my stress. And, of course, I do homework. Sometimes I even go to school in business attire.”
Like-minded friends have played a large part in Coder’s success. She shares tips with other young entrepreneurs and looks for ways to implement their advice.
“When you have a network of people you can always count on, you encourage each other and help each other strive toward your dreams,” Coder said. “The possibilities are endless.”