Flipoutz, a line of interactive and customizable bracelets, isn’t just a product for kids – it was also invented by kids. Created by siblings Erin, Lachlan, and Jake Johnson of Charlotte, North Carolina, the young entrepreneurs came up with the idea for Flipoutz in an unusual situation – a long car ride home from the beach.
“We were all bickering in the back seat, and in an attempt for some peace, my parents asked us to come up with a toy we’d like to have,” Lachlan says.
The result was a toy that represented a part of each of the three siblings’ personality. Jake explains that Erin liked self-expression, so they designed coins with positive messages. Lachlan was into fashion; hence, the product was something that could be worn. Jake enjoyed online games, and as a result, they incorporated trading and online tracking features.
Each brightly-colored wristband can hold five expressive coins, which can be traded among friends and then tracked on the Flipoutz website via a unique serial number. Kids can also set up an online profile and tell others about themselves and their coins. The Johnsons say the coins have already made their way to five continents.
It’s not all fun and games for the young entrepreneurs, though. Jake recalls that one of the challenges they faced is getting the word out about Flipoutz at the beginning. However, their participation in the reality show Shark Tank in 2010 helped their business tremendously, both in terms of finances and popularity. The Johnsons walked away from the show with a $100,000 prize, and Lachlan says that their appearance led to an increased website traffic of 14,500 percent.
Despite running a growing business, the siblings still find time to enjoy their youth. According to Erin, “It’s all about figuring out your priorities and having fun being a kid and doing cool things with the business all at once.”