There have always been lemonade stands, CEO-ed by children who operated their business however they wanted, sometimes hiring “employees” in the form of a parent, a sibling, or a friend. So it shouldn’t be surprising that Fort Wayne native Jaynila “Tink” Allen, eight-year-old business owner, would have three folks who work for her, supplying her products: Katrina Tucker and Jamela Porter of Fort Wayne and Shirika Flowers, who lives in Mississippi.
Through her company, Tiinks Fashiions, Allen sells products primarily marketed for kids: tote ($15) and drawstring bags ($12), t-shirts ($20), and water bottles ($10). Allen and her mom, Renea Simmons, are set to receive an order of school bags to sell, school ready with crayons, markers, binders, papers, and tablets inside.
The $45 school bags, arriving before the school year, will be filled with grade-appropriate school supplies based off FWCS’ requirements.
The company name, Tiinks Fashiions, is intentionally spelled with additional i’s, to stand out and be different, according to Simmons. Tink is Allen’s nickname. “Jaynila is actually 13 years younger than her youngest sister but 20 years [younger] than her oldest sister,” Simmons said. So Allen’s next oldest sister nicknamed her Tink…“look at little Tink Tink”…when she was born because she was so small and her sisters were so grown.
Tiinks Fashiions adorns every one of their products but the plan does include incorporating more designs, along with different products. Diversity of ideas will yield multiple revenues streams. “I want to earn money,” Allen said, with a smile. “I don’t really like to play that much. I just like this other stuff.” Like business stuff. And fashion. Allen’s products came from the desire to wear her own stuff, to not wear clothes picked out for her by her mom, like the combo of shirts and shorts, she said. She loves wearing dresses and was wearing one for her interview. You’ll see a lot of pink and purple, her favorite colors, in her products.
Simmons and daughter Allen started the business initially to have some fun, but the two found themselves with a successful business. Tiinks Fashiions routinely sells out and this is without a dedicated website or even a Facebook page. It’s been word of mouth; Simmons sells products at her job at Advanced Assembly; one co-worker bought one product each. Mom is now looking ten years into the future, seeing how starting early can lead to money for college.
Allen is surprised that folks dig her products. “I didn’t think [anyone] would buy [my stuff], because some of the people live far,” she said. Yep. She gets out of town requests.
Allen wants to make her company big and successful. “I want to make it my whole life,” she said. She ended her interview with a short preview of her product wish list. She said she wants the Tiinks Fashiions logo on crayons, pencils, and erasers. Of course, she loves school; she gets A’s and B’s and will be attending art-focused Weisser Park Elementary School starting in August. Allen is a real scholar; only a real one wants to see her name on a pencil.
I run Scrambled Egg(s) Design and Productions, based out of Northeast Indiana. In addition to producing in-house company projects, I also create advertising materials for companies and organizations, with an emphasis on interactivity.