This is the first post in a series I’m doing on The World or Bust called, “Young Entrepreneurs Making Moves”. I will have interviews with young people who have started successful businesses with information like how they got started, what they’re doing to make it happen, tips for other young people avoiding the rat race and much more. I think reading about these inspiring individuals will help motivate other young people to be creative, think outside the box and design their own lifestyles (hopefully with lots of traveling included!). Our first young entrepreneur is a good friend, Chelsea Kaplan, who created a pretty unique and awesome businesses called Buffettes Shoe Shine.
So Chelsea thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! If you could describe your business in a few sentences for the readers, how would you do so?
My Pleasure! Buffettes Shoe shine is a totally mobile shoe shine company. We go anywhere from office buildings, trade shows, conventions, restaurants, charities & fundraisers, even weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs! We travel all over South Florida and outside of the state for big conventions.
As a young person, what motivated you to start a business right out of college instead of entering the corporate rat race from the get go?
Well from the age of 14 (when you are legally allowed to start working), I got a job. Growing up I was always about making my own money and always juggled a few jobs at a time. From working in so many different fields there was one thing I always noticed, I hated working for people!
I went off to college not knowing what I wanted to do so I frequently changed my major. One day, I just decided to major in something pretty broad out of frustration of not knowing which path I would choose as a career. Getting closer to my graduation date my frustration was skyrocketing! Venting to a best friend of mine, now business partner Marla Comora; we threw ideas back and forth until we thought of Buffettes Shoe Shine! Knowing I was graduating in a few weeks and knowing Marla was almost done as well, I thought to myself, it’s now or never! I graduated with a double major from Florida Atlantic University in Cultural communications and health administration in August 2012 and filed for an LLC the day after graduation. Buffettes LLC was now in business!
Why do you think people our age are starting more businesses in their 20’s instead of later on when they have the “experience”?
I believe when the juices are flowing, and the ideas are booming, act on them! My mentality now at 24 is “I have nothing to lose”. The worst thing that can happen is something doesn’t become successful, but at least you tried. It’s a lot easier to start things younger when you don’t have a ton of commitments such as family, mortgages, and all that jazz to worry about.
I’ve seen your business grow exponentially in the past half-year, what do you think the most important factor affecting your success has been?
Team work! This company would not be as successful as it is without my business partner Marla Comora. All business partners have their differences, but at the end of the day, when it comes down to making decisions and dividing the work , I wouldn’t want to be in business with anyone else.
Who has been your strongest influence/mentor in the process of starting your own business and what is the most important thing they’ve taught you?
My dad! My dad is the one who encouraged me to go my own way and start my own business. I have always admired him for being such a powerful business man and now I know exactly where I get it from. I am so lucky because not many parents will encourage their children to take such a big leap and start a company but my dad has supported me 110%. One thing I have learned from my dad is that no matter what he will always be proud of me because at least I tried.
Where do you see yourself in two years?
In two years you will see Buffettes Shoe shine franchised all over the globe! If business has been so successful thus far, I am putting boundaries on nothing.
What is the most important thing you would tell someone in their 20’s starting a business to do?
“Just do it!”.
And finally, if you could shine one person’s shoes, who would it be and why?
An old authentic shoe shiner from the airport! I just want them to teach me how to snap the rag!