When Mackenzie and Payton Brundage are not in school, you won't find them chilling on the sofa with a bag of chips while watching cartoons or playing video games. In fact, a lot of adults could not keep up with these two.
At 12 and 10 years of age, McKenzie and Payton run their own business and most of their spare time is devoted to its development and success.
The sisters created the Peace. Passion. Positivity. inspirational bracelets for young girls to have simple, wearable reminders to take pride in themselves, spread positivity and display their own uniqueness.
The bracelets came about after Mackenzie won a county-wide speech contest about two years ago when she was in the fourth grade.
The subject matter for the contest was "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself — The Power of Positive Thinking."
In writing her speech, Mackenzie learned about the power of thinking positively and that thoughts can become things and reality.
She wanted to share what she learned with her friends and classmates in a tangible way and made some woven bracelets on which she hung charms to remind her friends to think positive thoughts.
Her first bracelet bore a charm that read “Be Yourself.”
With her younger sister joining her, the girls began selling their handmade bracelets at Mermaids Boutique at Baytowne Wharf, where their mom was a co-owner.
The bracelets, which now bear charms depicting a variety of positive messages, hobbies or passions, caught on and the store began selling more than 100 per week.
To keep up, help was needed; so mom sold her interest in the shop to help her daughters full time.
The bracelets are still growing in diversity and are now carried in more than 160 stores locally and regionally.
The girls are totally involved in selecting each color combination of the woven material and which charm will go on each.
The charms advocate faith, following your dreams, following your heart, and peace, passion, and positivity, hence the name the girls chose for their company.
In addition to the 160 stores that now carry their products, they have gone wholesale; they go to market nationally twice a year, and they have a booth at the Seaside yard sale twice a year.
Somehow they find time to travel, promoting their bracelets and message, and visit stores that carry them.
"They have done really well," said mom, Kim.
Their mother says her daughters have a bubbly energy and personalities that help in promoting their product.
However, she attributes their mature and outgoing personalities to being exposed to business ownership at such a young age and what it takes to succeed in that arena.
"Owning a business costs money and all its expenses; and being an entrepreneur takes sacrifice, and they are learning that," said Kim. "They are also learning through this that if you have an idea, don't be afraid to take it to the next level. Keep positive and learn lessons along the way. They are willing to double up on their school work to do this and have become role models for their peers."
And if the young entrepreneurs did not have enough to keep them busy, they also baby sit, help stuff backpacks for the Food For Thought project, and last year, Mackenzie taught herself to play guitar and she and her sister occasionally sing and perform at Baytowne as the Sisters of Soul. They also take their performances into the local nursing homes.
"Volunteering teaches compassion and exposes them to people in need," said Kim. "A lot of kids don't have to work, especially around here. College is paid for and cars paid for ... my girls have never gone hungry, but it may not always be that way. I need to know they can stand on their own. I always had to work and didn't have an allowance, and I always wanted to work for myself. I have cleaned houses. It makes you a stronger person and you can survive in any economy. I pass that on to them as no one gets paid at our house for doing chores."
And the children are grateful for that life lesson.
"If you learn this while you're young, you'll know what to do when you're older," agreed Payton.
"Being in the store prepared me," added Mackenzie.
The girls created a charm for the Food For Thought organization and donated 125 bracelets to the organization that it can sell and keep the proceeds. They have also donated to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation and the Children's Advocacy Center.
"We think it's important to give back and what you give will return to you," said Payton.
The inspirational bracelets sell for $10 and since the jewelry line’s inception, the sisters have sold more than 20,000 nationwide in both retail and wholesales stores, travel and resort locations mostly in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana.
Proceeds from the sale of their bracelets are set aside for college and cars. They both want to attend Old Miss.
"We sat down at the computer and tallied the cost of going to Old Miss, and tallied how much for the cars they want," said Kim. "This teaches them how to set goals and the value of a dollar. Putting away money for college is a great goal."
After college, Mackenzie is still giving some thought to what she wants to do. But Payton has set her sights on being surgical doctor and developing her own software.
Mom has no doubt they will achieve whatever goals they set through hard work and following their dreams and their hearts.
"This has opened their eyes to not just having an idea but following through," she said. “Foster an idea, and thoughts become things."
Another goal the girls do have in common is to some day be on the Ellen Degeneres Show. No doubt they will make it, as last week they were featured on WEAR-TV out of Pensacola, and "Girls Life" magazine has called and asked to feature them.
Peace.Passion.Positivity bracelets can be purchased at local stores and online at www.myfunbracelets.com.
For more information on the bracelets see their Facebook page, email info@myfunbracelets, watch the sister’s YouTube video http://youtu.be/pce-Xa2PfZI or phone 217-0534.