SC entrepreneur, 8, named finalist for national business challenge

SC entrepreneur, 8, named finalist for national business challenge
GABBYBows (Source: Courtesy)
GABBYBows (Source: Courtesy)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gabrielle Goodwin is a second grader at Harbison West Elementary. She is eight years old and already the President and CEO of her business, GaBBY Bows.

"When I am not at school or working for my business, I like reading, dancing, dolls and crosswords puzzles," said Gabrielle.

Gabrielle's mom, Rozalynn said she's a normal 8-year-old who loves life.

"On the weekends, [she] works very hard doing meets and greets in stores, filling orders from online and writing thank you notes," Rozalynn who takes on the title of co-inventor. 

GaBBY Bows started as an idea four years ago because the mother-daughter team was getting fed up with barrettes falling out.

"My mom would spend a lot of time fixing my hair in the mornings and I would go outside and play outside and just lose all my barrettes then come back with no barrettes at all," said Gabrielle.

That was a common occurrence. Rozalynn said she would buy new bows nearly twice a month. 

"She really believed 'Mommy and I can make a bow' and we would sometimes walk through stores and she would say, 'Mommy are my bows going to be in Publix?" said Rozalynn. "So for her to dream to have her own barrette and it to be sold in stores is what pushed me and her persistence in telling me her dream pushed me into business."

The idea and the dreams were easy; making it a reality was a journey.

"It seems like 'Wow! Everything is happening for you,'" said Rozalynn. "But no one really knows all of the disappointing news that we've received from people who we thought could help us. We've heard so many 'No's' we've become numb to it."

The numbness allowed them to keep pushing toward their goal and to teach Gabrielle an important life lesson of hard work and perseverance.

As of April 29, Rozalynn said they've sold over 3,000 packs of bows in 32 states across the U.S. as well as in France, Canada, the Netherlands, Haiti.

"They're coming from all over the world," Rozalynn said. "So we're really excited and very grateful for the support we're received right here in the Midlands because it was all started here."

The concept is taking off and it's inspiring her classmates.

"She really has that spirit of perseverance and diligence to really figure it out and get it done and accomplish things," said Gabrielle's teacher, Sheila Shelby. "When she does share [with the class], I can see them thinking, 'Well, I could do that too. That could be me. So it really fosters a spirit of innovating and creating things because we would love for these children to be the one that make our lives better in the future."

Gabrielle and Rozalynn are taking their pitch to Washington, D.C. May 8 for the InnovateHER women's business challenge.

GaBBY Bows is one of 15 finalists nationwide. Top prize nets $15,000 for their business.

This competition adds to Gabrielle's accomplishments. This year she was named a SC Young Entrepreneur of the Year. She is one of five honorees and is the youngest to ever win this distinction.

To learn more about GaBBY Bows, visit gabbybows.com.

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