[CNBC] 17-year-old used $2,000 in savings to start an Amazon side hustle—now it brings in $34,000 a month

Nifty story, and NOT all easy success.
Some good lessons for early entrepreneurs.


" 17-year-old used $2,000 in savings to start an Amazon side hustle"

Not to rain (too hard) on a nice story, but how does a 17 year old sign any legal documents or agreements? I haven’t read the paperwork on Amazon in years, but don’t they require you to be of legal age to open an account?

Seems to be some unaddressed ‘issues’ here from what I see.


Thought you needed to be 18 to open an Amazon store? She’s done a nice job on all of this TBH.

Cool idea. She should branch out to other pets. People love their pets…


Now that it’s all out in public view, Amazon will probable shut it down. :rofl:

Amazon has a knack of turning dreams and success into literal nightmares

This stinks worse than the smell of a guinea pig in terms of fake reviews.

Written review / Rating only ratio of nearly 50% written… Amazon avg is ~12%.

Why am I not surprised?

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I had guinea pigs in the 1980’s in commercially available acrylic cages. Hers are a little prettier.

I have no idea whether anyone still makes them.

We had rabbits in acrylic cages too.

I do not see any value in plowing profits back into market research for her product.

I don’t know, when it comes to Pets people LOVE to talk. So I can imagine something like this that is cool and sweet and pet-friendly might invoke a higher percentage than, say, socks.


I hear you, and you’re right, but this seems way too high to be 100% legit.

This story kind of gets my appetite up for pursuing an idea I’ve been noodling with in my head for the last year or so in the pet space. Something that doesn’t appear to have been done before and basic patent searches show it doesn’t exist…

I need another business like I need a hole in the head but you never know…

I think she invested $2K of her money, but her dad invested lots more. She’d have had to make the cages and ship them and then wait to get paid while her money was in reserve. Her first batch of cages was 100. No way could she have done all that on $2K.


Pet owners buy into crap that’s meant for the owners and not the pets.

An animal doesn’t know or care about the difference between metal bars and a plastic wall. Metal bars only make people think of a prison because of TV/movies. Not all prisons have metal bars as a door. The backstory’s also kinda meh, it’s wasn’t the “prison bar” cage that was the problem, it sounded like she had a small cage. A bigger metal cage would’ve been fine. It’s a nice sell though and something people buy into.

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Damnit… :bangbang: Someone had the same great idea in Australia already. Nothing in the US though yet…

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While everything you say here is true, and not exactly brain surgery to figure out, maybe avoid posting how-to guides for scammers? Please?


That’s not a scam, that’s a legitimate business if they don’t have a patent.

The only thing that might be scammy is if the china factory actually lists it on dozens of accounts to manipulate the listings.

For something that like they should get SOME kind of patent, even if it may not be defensible because the existence of one might keep competitors away


Speaking of which, seems like there’s already 2 chinese competitors. One of them has a US Address but is likely just a shell co owned by a china company because no american would come up with such a stupid brand name

“Zinging life”

Both advertise the same acrylic walls and disposable paper bottom.

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Fair enough, I used the wrong word. This is not a scam and I shouldn’t have said that it is. I still don’t think this is the kind of business model SAS should facilitate.


I would heartily second that motion.


Well, either way, that business model is usually a long, hard, and not very profitable road, as if the original product had no protection, neither does yours, and if you’re copycatting it, someone else won’t be far behind you. And unless you have the power to drastically slash manufacturing costs (like Amazon Basics, or the chinese factories), you’ll be doing a lot of work for very little pay.

It’s also worth thinking about if your business is able to be targeted in that way. If nothing you have has any IP that can be protected, and it’s an easily duplicated product, the strategy either needs to be branding and brand loyalty, or some kind of value add that isn’t easily replicated.

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Too many holes in this story. Anyone for Swiss cheese?

Their rev is already far smaller than their '22 GMV which is a gaper if you ask me. Also the timeline shifts in the story. Launched in 2022 but refocused after 2019 Brand launch of TLeggings (unprofitable). So she started way back when and then re-launched Guinealoft?

Sounds like a PR piece towards being an influencer of some sort. It’s what I would do.


Definitely a weakness in the writing. But perhaps intentional because she’s still a minor? The timeline itself holds up, when laid out…

How it works (anything in parentheses, I inferred)

  • Now (2023 or 2024) - age 17/12th grader
  • November 2022 - launched GuineaLoft on Amazon (16ish)
  • Early 2022 - shuttered TLeggings (16ish)
  • (2020 - 14ish; 2021 - 15ish)
  • July 2019 “a year later” - launched TLeggings (13ish)
  • Age 12 (2018ish) - started prototyping better guinea pig cage

It has been known to happen that a parent will do business dealings using their child’s info to create a business that they are unsure of. These types of parents don’t care about the child’s future credit or the economic damage that may be done to the child in the event of the business collapsing. But if the business is a success, well then the parent will join in the success story.

It has also been known for parents to support their child’s dreams including guidance with upstart businesses and how to navigate the ups and downs.

Stories like this are words painting a picture that they want you to see and maybe believe in. Unless we can see the blank canvas and the work as it progressed, we tend to think it’s a nice painting telling a nice story.

How many kids 5 to 10 years old know how to set up a non profit? … yet we hear about these stories often.

Are we skeptic? … Yes …