You’re in your second semester of your senior year of high school, and you know where you’re going to school next fall. If you’re like most kids your age, especially during the pandemic era, you spend the semester watching Netflix or otherwise goofing off.
Not Walter Levin.
Levin, 17, decided he wanted to be an entrepreneur. So he watched a bunch of videos about sourcing products online from China, found a distributor, launched three websites, offering products that give respite from COVID-19, and made his first 50 sales.
(Full disclosure: Walter is my son.)
“I always wanted to start a business,” Levin’s says, “and now that I’m finishing high school, I have the time.”
Levin’s first offerings: a neck massager, a scarf that doubles as a mask, and a UV sterilizer lamp.
“I figured people are home more right now, and sitting more,” Levin explains. “So I thought a neck massager would be a good idea because people have to be developing stiff necks. And the UV sterilizer is basically a germicidal lamp that kills germs on cellphones. That’s timely. The scarf-mask is obviously useful.”
Levin says he reached out to multiple suppliers in China before he settled on the one he’s working with.
“I was looking for overall transparency,” Levin says, “along with lower minimum orders, since I’m just starting out, and also someone who was easy to understand, because of the language barrier. I found my guy and placed my first order, which was for 25 of each item. And I was off and running.”
The supplier is not aware that his new American business partner is three months shy of his 18th birthday.
“I didn’t think it was relevant to bring up,” Levin laughs. “I pay on time, and that’s what matters.”
Levin has found his audience with hyper-specific, targeted marketing on Facebook.
He says he’s looking for “impulse buyers, who can see the value in these items and just buy them without spending a ton of time comparison shopping. I plug in words like ‘relax’ and ‘spa,’ and then I target them with appropriate messaging. It’s fun.”
Levin’s goal – to make the business something that will pay for college without being overly time-intensive.
“I want to make a career out of it,” he says. “I figured, why wait?”
You can view one of his websites at www.Scarf-Shield.com.