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Kids Go Buggy Over Pencil Bugs
Pencil Bugs, the colorful creation of 11-year-old entrepreneur, Jason O’Neill, are catching on with kids of all ages. When many businesses fail within the first year, the buzz about Pencil Bugs continues to grow as do the sales.
By: Nancy O'Neill / Pencil Bugs Plus
Topping a standard #2 pencil, Pencil Bugs are handmade pencil toppers, available in eight colors, and come with a Certificate of Authenticity which includes the date they were born, their given name, and care and training instructions.
Jason O’Neill, a southern California resident, didn’t set out to start his own business when he was only 10 years old. “My mom was making some things for a craft fair. I thought if I helped a little, she’d give me some of the money from her sales,” Jason remembers.
His mom suggested he come up with his own craft to sell, so Jason got right to work on several ideas. “It made sense to make something for kids by a kid,” Jason said. “I’ve always liked school but I know all kids don’t. Creating something fun to help with school and homework seemed like the perfect idea.”
In November 2005, the first family of Pencil Bugs was sold at a craft fair. Selling out his entire supply and making money was exciting to Jason, although the idea of making this into a real business still hadn’t materialized.
After holiday break, Jason decided to make more Pencil Bugs and take them to school. That’s all it took. He knew he had stumbled on the next kid craze. Jason had an offer from one classmate to buy his business for $100. He saw the long-term potential and held on to his idea.
Less than a month later, Jason expanded his product line to include Pencil Bugs laminated bookmarks, which seemed to be the right complement for school work and reading, and also created custom t-shirts with the same Pencil Bugs characters.
Pencil Bugs products have been shipped all over the country and even overseas, when a large order was sent to a school in Lesotho, Africa as part of a project for children sponsored by World Vision. Jason donates 5% of all sales to HUGS Foster Family Agency and has been awarded the Young Philanthropist Award by The Californian for his efforts.
Jason notes that teachers are some of his best customers and loves getting comments like this. ‘Wow!
Jason’s ideas don’t stop with just Pencil Bugs and bookmarks. He’s currently collaborating on a book series with his mom featuring each of the eight original Pencil Bugs characters and has designs for a video game. If all goes well, he envisions a cartoon series and maybe some day, “Pencil Bugs: the Movie”.
The buzz about Pencil Bugs has made it into many newspapers. Creator, Jason O'Neill, was NBC's kid mogul on their game show "1 vs 100", was interviewed on the radio talk show "Mind Your BIZness" and was the featured student entrepreneur in the April newsletter for the Young Entrepreneurs of America.
The pet rock? A talking yellow square sponge? Pencil Bugs? They just may be the next big buzz.
For additional information, visit http://www.pencilbugs.com. Pencil Bugs is a trademark of Pencil Bugs Plus.
Page Updated Last on: Oct 17, 2008