Since the age of seven, La Pietra 9th grader Madison Lee also known as Maddie, has always thought of herself as an entrepreneur.
"I really liked selling things and have always been interested in having a business. I used to make things at home and sell them to my friends and family," said Maddie.
Her home crafts started with making small clay models, crocheting, creating 'Shrinky Dink' items (an activity that consists of large plastic pieces that can be colored and then baked to shrink in the oven), and finally finding her true passion through her hobby of making jewelry.
After discovering her passion for jewelry, her entrepreneurial mindset took over.
"Now that I am older and I have a lot more experience, I thought to myself that I really want to go bigger and do more than just selling my jewelry to my friends," said Maddie.
In October of 2016, she approached multiple retailers to inquire about selling her jewelry in their stores. At the same time she was also developing her business name and acquiring her business license. She officially registered her business as 'E Nani' by the end of the 2016.
Maddie explains, "I approached, contacted, e-mailed, called, contacted their buyers, and did whatever I could to get in contact with multiple stores. I probably reached out to over 20 retail stores and finally got one response from the co-owner of SOHA Living, Brooke Watson, who coincidentally is a 1997 La Pietra alumna."
Brooke explained to Maddie that she loved her jewelry and ended up referring her to the owners of Kahala Mall retail shops, Up and Riding and Honolulu Surf Room, as she thought that Maddie's jewelry would be a perfect fit for that market. Maddie was able to get in contact with the business owners and solidify a deal to sell her jewelry on consignment for the past two years.
She most recently added her jewelry on consignment with a boutique in Kailua called Betty X Joe. She was once again surprised to find out that the owner, Lynn Germain, was also a La Pietra alumna from the class of 1987.
Maddie continues to work on expanding her jewelry line and her business. She is currently breaking even with her expenses and sales, and hopes to give back to charity.
"I am hoping to see a larger profit margin towards the end of the year and my goal is to donate to local charities," said Maddie.
She explains that the leadership opportunities offered at La Pietra have helped build her confidence, to continue and expand her business.
After graduating from high school, her dream is to attend Stanford and have a career in Business.