ENCINITAS — Savanah, Mikayla and Jillian Stuart of Rancho Santa Fe, have become successful young entrepreneurs before they even leave high school.
The sisters are talented equestrians, successfully competing across the country an average of two weekends a month. They also excel academically at The Grauer School in Encinitas. These three budding entrepreneurs make up the staff of Ballerina Bows, a company which creates handcrafted hair bows for sports such as cheer, soccer and equestrian sports; the company is named after their beloved pony, Prima Ballerina.
“We were at a horse show searching for bows as a gift for someone and found that there was not a big selection,” Savanah said. “We had wanted to start a business of our own, so we all decided to try making a pair. We made enough to sell and began marketing our products on Instagram.” This handcrafted attention to detail sets Ballerina Bows’ products apart: as competitors on the show circuit where they sell their bows, the Stuarts are aware of what types of bows equestrians want to wear, and they will also make custom bows on request.
The sisters split up the day-to-day activities of running their business evenly. Jillian, the youngest, has connections with many of the young riders who wear the bows when competing, and she handles marketing their products. Mikayla creates the girls’ business cards and packaging for the bows and runs the Web site. Savanah has tackled the finances, inventory and packaging of the bows. Their system works: they currently sell their bows in 13 retail stores across nine different states as well as online and via four local sales representatives and one in New Jersey.
“Riders across country have begun recognizing our products at the different horse shows. We have about 3,600 followers on Instagram. It has been challenging to keep up with the demand,” Savanah said. “We want to maintain the craftsmanship of our bows. Each bow is handmade and personalized.”
The girls aren’t taking their success for granted. They regularly donate their products to charity auctions, have created special breast cancer awareness bows with 25 percent of profits being donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and are planning on participating in an upcoming fundraiser at The Grauer School Nov. 8 for global girls’ education charities through the Girl Rising Fund.
“The Grauer School has taught us to give back to the community. We each have to be accountable and self-advocate so that we can each keep up with our workload and specific jobs. Intellectual curiosity has led us to explore the business world and find new ways to expand. We have persevered as we learned to deal with rejection from retailers who chose not to carry our bows.”
Visit Ballerina Bows online at ballerina-bows.myshopify.com.