BALTIMORE —A Baltimore City middle school student who became the CEO of a business she started has created a product that earns her thousands of dollars, and she only wants to build from there.
Eighth-grader Lily DeBell's knitting is helping her spin a huge amount of success, and it's all centered around legwarmers.
"In seventh grade, you do a unit where you learn about economics and entrepreneurship, and then you learn about those skills through creating a business model," Lily told 11 News reporter Jason Newton.
A year later, the Roland Park Elementary-Middle School student's business, called Lily's Legwarmers, offers products that are created with organic materials, such as wool and Alpaca fleece. That's her biggest selling point.
"Synthetic fibers aren't breathable and don't trap and release heat in an organic way, which is bad for dancers because they need heat to warm up their muscles and make them more flexible to lower their risk of injury," Lily explained.
Her class work included research, marketing and cost analyst, earning her a $25,000 prize in a nationwide challenge by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. She beat high school and college-aged challengers in that competition, which is an impressive feat to her teachers.
"We're dealing with a young lady who not only has an incredible sense of self, but possibility," said Lily's teacher, Karl Sanzenbacher.
Those possibilities are endless.
"I want to hire more labor. I want to get insured and find a wholesaler, and after that, I'd like to expand our products and just keep growing the business and make more sales," Lily said.
The middle-schooler said she is working to partner with about five area senior centers. Her hope is to hire residents to help her with the knitting.