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Young entrepreneur puts skills to work for students

Young entrepreneur puts skills to work for students

July 18th, 2014 in News

Hanna Taylor of Auxvasse stands in her storage facility filled with items for her to repurpose and sell - including a dirt bike which she said someone donated to her.

Photo by Brittany Ruess

Hanna Taylor's competitive streak wouldn't let her give up when a judge dismissed her aspiring business as a "nice hobby."

A little more than a year later, Taylor has turned that hobby into a successful small business - and won second place in the social entrepreneurship category of the #BOOM Bounce Pitch Competition in Columbia in April.

With Re-do Designs, the North Callaway native creates pageant props and decorations for special events out of recycled and repurposed materials. Some of her projects have included a tiger carousel made out of old cable spools and an umbrella, a Lego table made out of an old end table and a mermaid's shell made with a kiddie pool.

"Every single day I'm working on something different," Taylor said. "It's a good creative outlet."

More recent creations include a Dr. Seuss-themed dresser for a friend's new baby and an archway and cupcake stand for another friend's wedding.

"It's literally been non-stop actually," she said. "Recently I've been having people message me about a Christmas in July pageant for a Grinch prop or a "Frozen' prop."

Taylor does not have a website right now, but Designs can be found on Facebook - with pictures of her work.

After earning her business degree from Columbia College in May, Taylor already is putting her hard-earned entrepreneurial skills to use training the next generation of small business owners.

She recently helped mentor North Callaway FFA students to a win in the high school division of the #BOOM Bounce Pitch Competition; she works with the Show Me 4-H Wares program, which helps 4-H youth members display and sell items at the Missouri State Fair; and this week she helped organize the University of Missouri Extension's 4-H Build-a-Business Camp.

Camp included local businesses giving the students business problems and having them pitch back solutions - Taylor received a new slogan, "It's not done until you re-do it," from camper Ron Franklin. There also were one-on-one interactions with business owners and marketing exercises to help campers develop their promotional skills.

"Something I really pushed for them was to just take a step out of their comfort zone," Taylor said. "... You're going to benefit from that. Put your pride aside and put yourself out there."

She said watching the campers learn those lessons over the past several days "made me so proud. It was so rewarding."

Asked Thursday why she thought helping younger students develop their business skills was important, Taylor responded that she had that conversation with two of her campers earlier that afternoon.

"I told them, you're the future, and if we can't educate you on how to own a business or operate within a company, how's the world going to end up?" Taylor said. "If people aren't taught to be innovative thinkers, nothing will change, things will only deteriorate."