After coming home from a kids’ 3-D movie, Melia and Sophia Hosler decided to pop the lenses out of their special theater glasses and add stick-on jewels and tiny beads from a craft set to enrich the rather plain spectacles.
“We thought we made them beautiful and began to wear them everywhere we went, even school,” says Melia, 8, a third-grader at Way Elementary in Bloomfield Township. “Soon, everyone was asking us, ‘Where did you get those?’ and ‘Where can we get a pair?’ So we told our mom, and we decided we could make some money selling them to other children.”
The two sisters pulled in their older brother, Christian, 10, a fourth-grader who is “the family math whiz.” The enterprising trio even called up several theaters to solicit more glasses for their project. Armed with dozens of gem-adorned glasses, a “for sale” sign designed on the family computer, a company name — Nooloos (a combination of their nicknames), and a price of $5, calculated by Christian, they began selling the decorated eyeglasses, along with lemonade, in front of their home and at the Birmingham Farmers Market.
In short order, they recorded a profit of nearly $400. Eyeing bigger things, the trio shipped samples to several large retailers, sent an audition tape to the television show Shark Tank, and have set up a website (nooloos.com), a Facebook page, and a Pinterest account. For their efforts, the three siblings were named “Young CEOs of the Year” by DBusiness magazine.
The early success led 7-year-old Sophia to ask: “When do we get to sell at Target?”
Target has not committed to the venture, but in mid-May the children received their first order from Claire’s Stores Inc., a national specialty retailer of fashionable jewelry and accessories for young women, teens, tweens, and kids. With the help of a company in China, they plan to deliver more than 18,000 sets of the custom glasses to Claire’s store shelves in August. Sold in four colors, they will cost $10.50.
Although the original idea was to sell the glasses pre-decorated, the spectacles are sold packed with a sheet of stickers and beads in a neat carrying case, wrapped with a colorful label that highlights the faces of Christian, Melia, and Sophia donning the special glasses.
The sudden success — from prototype to production in seven months — has led to higher aspirations. “I hope this goes good and we’re in a lot of stores and we can be millionaires,” Melia says. “Then we can get a pool.” In response, Sophia nudges Melia and whispers, “Don’t forget (we also want a) hot tub — and another puppy.” db