The name Allie Senior will be one to watch, with the Oamaru teen crafting a bright future for herself.
The 15-year-old Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil runs her own online business, May Threads, and has sold 200 face masks and counting.
The idea for the business came to Allie after one of her mother, Deidre’s, friends posted on Facebook that she wanted to buy handmade masks.
‘‘I kind of had been thinking about making some, so it started from, like, a post on Mum’s Facebook, and then I started my own page, and then it’s kind of just gone from there.’’
The year 10 pupil estimated she now spent about 20 hours a week mask making.
‘‘So, I basically just come home [from school] and make masks, and in the weekend that’s what I do too,’’ she said.
‘‘Luckily it’s summer, so I don’t have netball.’’
Allie started using leftover fabric of her mother’s, but now materials mostly came from Spotlight, and her parents occasionally helped with the cost.
‘‘They say it’s an investment for the future, and I have to buy them a house,’’ she said.
This is not Allie’s first foray into the world of business. She began A-May Crafts when she was 12, and last year A-May scrunchies accessorised the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team, and were shared by former Silver Fern Storm Purvis on her Instagram page.
‘‘I think I just like making stuff that other people want to buy.’’
To help foster her business acumen, Allie had taken part in an online 10-day accelerator programme during the last school holidays, called GirlBoss Edge.
GirlBoss was set up by entrepreneur Alexia Hilberditou, to empower women in leadership, entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The course was recommended to her by one of her school teachers.
‘‘Applications closed a few days after my birthday, and you had to be 15 or older to enter, so she sent it to me on my birthday, and I just had to submit my form and got in.’’
The first five days of the programme involved live Facebook sessions with successful businesswomen, including ANZ New Zealand chief executive Antonia Watson and author and podcaster Frances Cook.
The next five days, the 150 participants had to ‘‘choose a challenge’’.
‘‘I chose to do it around inspiring a small group of women to get into finance and technology,’’ Allie said.
What she found most inspirational was hearing women who had gone through life, ‘‘probably being underrated’’ and then become successful, she said.
Allie’s short-term goal was to save enough money to study commerce at Melbourne University.
‘‘It’s not as easy to get a student loan, so it’s just easier to start saving now. I like Melbourne, and it’s also a really good university for what I want to do.’’
When the mask-making business started taking off, Allie had to make a decision where she wanted to take it.
‘‘It all happened pretty quickly, especially with the start of it.
‘‘The day we got out of lockdown, the day before I went to school, I was expecting to go and meet up with my friends, but I had to stay home and make all these masks.’’
To help her business run more smoothly, she created and launched her website three weeks ago, which meant coordinating a photo shoot, and enlisting the help of family friends as models. She described it as a learning process.
‘‘I thought the website would be easier — there was a lot of messaging I had to do with people and it took up a lot of time.’’
She had been involved in website building over the years ‘‘just for fun’’, and it had been part of her schooling this year.
‘‘So I kind of had the skills already.’’
Mask orders had come in from Auckland through to Dunedin, she said.
Despite giving her a kick start in the business world, Allie was hopeful masks would not be around forever, and was already planning what would come next for May Threads.
‘‘I want to start just making some clothes. That’s kind of my goal in the next few months or so, and also making scrunchies and stuff like that, so when masks aren’t such a big thing, I can still make it sustainable.’’
In the future she hoped to work in a marketing agency.
‘‘And then maybe set up my own business properly, and have clothing shops . . . and be a designer more than a maker,’’ she said.
If May Threads continued to thrive, she did not rule out continuing with it while studying in Melbourne.
‘‘I could hire some people to run it while I’m away.’’