Being an entrepreneur is not easy. You have to be disciplined enough to be your own boss. You also need to be good at getting your business visibility. I’m fascinated by anyone who has started their own business, and especially those with Down syndrome. There are quite a few people with Down syndrome that are selling their art, merchandise, and baked goods and doing it successfully. This year I’m going to consider making purchases from some of these enterprisers for holiday and thank-you gifts for Gigi’s teachers and therapists. Below are a few intriguing businesses by people with Down syndrome.
Megology (Megan Bomgaars)
Megan has a line of t-shirts with inspirational phrases and has recently partnered with Sanrio from Hello Kitty fame. I actually purchased a onsie from her a few years ago for a new baby with Down syndrome and then I purchased a pair of tie-dyed socks for a friend. Both were of very good quality. I love this toddler t-shirt as a birthday gift for a little friend. Most items in her shop are currently around $25.
Collettey’s Cookies (Collette Divitto)
We met Collette in New York City and she was as sweet as her cookies. Collette grew up in Connecticut and completed a 3-year life program at Clemson University. She now lives in Boston and sells her cookies online, employing 13 people (several with disabilities). She also sells gift packages (ranging around $35) that include her cookies for events such as birthdays and thank yous. I think a gift package like this will be great for any teacher this Christmas.
John’s Crazy Socks (John Lee Cronin)
John sells all types of fun socks for kids and adults with the mission of spreading
happiness. The business donates 5 percent of their earnings to the Special Olympics. Most of their socks come from manufacturers all over but they do design and manufacture their awareness socks such as their Autism Awareness Socks and Down Syndrome Awareness Socks. Most pairs of socks are between $6 and $15.
Sweet Heat Jam Company (Nolan Stilwell)
The website says that Nolan, the creator of Sweet Heat Jams, is a culinary artist, young entrepreneur, avid gardener, and native Texan who happens to have Down syndrome.
The business of handcrafted all-natural jams was founded in 2011. Their gift sets contain 3 of their 4 oz jams boxed with a jam spoon and an insert card that shares the story behind Sweet Heat Jams and how your purchase is making a difference in the lives of those with special needs. Who wouldn’t like to receive that as a gift? Jams range between $5.75 and $7.50.
River Bend Galleries (Geoffrey Mikol)
Geoffrey sells his photography prints on paper, metal, or slate. His website also sells coasters, calendars, puzzles and note cards that all display his beautiful nature photography. He has garnered numerous awards for his work; and has developed a following of collectors and enthusiasts. Note cards, like the one that Geoffrey sells below for $20, make a great gift for a teacher or therapist.
Seanese (Sean McElwee)
Sean sells t-shirts and hoodies with messages for babies to adults. This is what Sean says about Seanese,
“When I was little my parents had to translate my speech because nobody could understand me. They said I spoke “Seanese.” Now I am putting my thoughts and sayings on shirts so you can speak Seanese too!”
Da Bombs (Morgan Tibbins)
As an 18 year old Morgan decided she wanted to make her own money to go to concerts, so she started a bath bomb business. She sells online and through at least two dozen stores that are local to her. Bombs are between $3-$6 and some have a surprise charm inside.
Now I know which shops I’m going to check out next time I’m looking for a teacher gift. Are there any other shop owners with Down syndrome that you know of that I missed? Let me know in the comments.