Story by Kristen Cox

Some kids dream of being a doctor, a writer, or an engineer, but a select few aspire to be a entrepreneur.

Junior Charles Jones is very passionate about sneakers. He independently runs his company “Swavy Customs.”

Jones got an early start into the business world.“I came up with the idea for my business because of my love for art and love for sneakers. I saw a video of some shoes that were painted so I figured I could do it myself. I mixed the two and turned it into a moneymaker,” he said.

Something to offer for everyone, Jones creates brightly colored shoes and artwork. “I sell customized footwear and artwork on my website and through social media. Also people give me their shoes or cleats and I’ll customize them however they like.”

It is meticulous work and takes a chunk of time, but Jones makes it work. “My business is ongoing, I always have shoes to work on. I probably get shoes from people once a week and sell two pairs a week,” said Jones.

Jones has high hopes for himself, as well as his business. “My end goal is to be the best customizer out there, and to turn my business into a full brand for myself. Including fashion designs and painting services of many types,” he said.

Junior Connor Blackham also has aspirations of one day running his own business. Fortunately for him, his mentor is also his father.

According to Blackham there are numerous benefits to being the child of a business owner. “There’s perks that come with such as free food and business opportunities. I meet lots of people in business and have good relationships that I can build on in the future.”

Blackham gets the opportunity to see how a business is run on a daily basis. “I get very unique perspectives on how businesses are run and also get to see first hand how the business world operates. Also I get information and advice to get me prepared for entrepreneurship later on,” he said.

Later on in life, Blackham hopes to one day follow in his father’s footsteps. “I would consider having ownership in either a restaurant or in sales, because customers come back which is a product of renewable income,” Blackham said.

Blackham’s father, Rick Blackham, knew since the age of twelve he wanted to grow up and do what he does today. He currently owns restaurant Costa Vida and Mantis Pest Solutions.

Running a business is an around the clock job, having to make sure everything runs smoothly. “I am responsible to grow the business, meet payroll, help hire and fire. I have to make sure were compliant with laws and regulations, and our taxes are paid on time,” said Rick.

Rick’s first work experience was doing yard work for a friend of his father’s. But where he learned the true meaning of hard work was on a LDS mission trip to Brazil.

Being an entrepreneur takes risk in order to get reward. “Not every business succeeds. You have to be able to work your tail off, make good decisions, and hope things work out. You get to pick your own hours, make money but you can lose and you’re the only one that’s accountable for it,” said Rick.  

Seeing his employees succeed is the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur according to Rick. “I get to help build people and help build jobs that provide for other families as well as my own,” he said.