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Innovation & Job News

10-year-old D.C. entrepreneur to showcase ties on catwalk at H Street Festival

10-year-old Brett Burch designs his own ties--like this "Whoa!" design--and sells them online

You're never too young to be an entrepreneur. 10-year-old D.C. native Brett Burch has been selling ties and T-shirts of his own design since 2011, through his site Brett's Trove. His products will be featured during the H Street Festival in Northeast on Saturday. He and local kids will wear his ties, sharing the catwalk with DC Fashion Week representatives, among others.

Brett got the idea for his online store in 2011, inspired by T-shirts his mother, Melody Burch, made for a family reunion.

"I had a lot of artwork in my house," Brett explains. "I didn't know what to do with it, so I put it on T-shirts, ties and other stuff. I started making money, so I started making more artwork to make more merchandise."

Of all the merchandise on his site, Brett says that "the ties are the best-sellers. But I like the T-shirts the best."

Ties on Brett's Trove retail for about $35 each. According to Melody Burch, Brett's mother, Brett nets 10 percent from each sale. The Burches are using Zazzle to create and ship the merchandise to customers. "Zazzle does everything," Melody says. Still, she would like to find another way to create and ship Brett's wares that might allow him to net a little more money.

"I'm saving the money to go to college," the younger Burch says. "I want to go to an Ivy League school, like Harvard." He knows tuition isn't cheap. "I don't spend any of the money because college costs a lot of money."

In addition to teaching her son about business, mom Melody is also teaching Brett the value of giving back. "We're raising money for charity," he says. That charity would be the Stephen Joel Tractenberg scholarship program at George Washington University, of which Burch herself is a graduate.

Brett's ties are only available online. "I'd like to [sell them] in stores, too," he says.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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