Meet the four teenagers who set up a lockdown business from their youth club celebrating everything that’s great about Brum.
Charisma Meehan, 17, Decrae Simms, 17, Alex Yang, 16, and Ethan Widgery-Powell, 15, met at the [email protected] youth club in Nechells and decided to launch their own company selling tourist merchandise promoting their beloved city.
Creating a ‘Brum Ting’ logo, the group set about making their own T-shirts, jackets, caps, sweaters, wallets, umbrellas, jewellery, water bottles, stationery, mugs and chargers.
Originally the plan was to simply learn about business and make a bit of money but it’s already proving such a success, they now have big plans to turn the brand into a global franchise.
John Street, founder and director of [email protected], said: “I am incredibly proud of how hard they have all worked on this.
“The initial idea was that they would make a variety of products in our workshop, but as they were all still at school and lockdown had begun, we decided to teach them how to run a business and set up a supply chain.
“They would like to franchise the brand across the world so that young people in every city on Earth can have their own Ting business.”
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John said the idea for the business was born when he launched a project asking young people at the youth club to make jewellery which they then sold on a market stall in Sutton Coldfield.
The four students spotted a gap in the market for Birmingham-related tourism products, came up with the name Brum Ting and a brand was born.
John said: “Every step of the journey has been a challenge – from learning to Zoom and attending meetings through lockdown, to having enough money to buy products to sell, to finding the right suppliers who will help them on their journey.
“The biggest challenge now is finding the time to manage school, life, mental well being and business.”
Business mentors were brought in to help bring their vision to life and their creativity and enthusiasm has already made it a success so far, with around £800 worth of products sold through social media and word of mouth alone.
Ethan said: “I believe that with the correct input and effort that Brum Ting can become a worldwide brand name and more people will know our story and become inspired to thrive in their work, everyday lives and their passion for whatever it is they enjoy.”
Decrae added: “As long as we stay determined and put the work in, I’m more than sure Brum Ting will be successful.”
The group has been helped by the staff at Martin James Network, which provided an initial grant, and suppliers Sandeep Nandra at Dr Print, Helen Butler at Thread A Pixel and Steve Quance at Steven Charles Quance Jewellery.
Calum Sawford, programme director at the Martin James Network, a Birmingham-based organisation which aims to help families and vulnerable people, said: “We are delighted to see the growth of Brum Ting from a glimmer of an idea into a fantastic business through the engagement and enablement of young people under the stewardship of [email protected]
“This is a shining example of ‘Fearless Futures’ – inspiring others to be bold, kind and courageous in their ventures to be an entrepreneur.”
Elevate FM, a facilities management company, is also supporting [email protected] as its chosen charity. Director David Warren said: “We are based in Birmingham and this is our way of giving something back to the city. They do such good work and the Brum Ting business is a fantastic enterprise. We wish them every success.”