Watch 10-year-old Becca Salmins at work at Knots & Arrows in the first episode of the Moneyish original series “Small Business,” about children and teens who run their own companies.
Becca Salmins splits her time between her business and the fourth grade.
Her life — which includes designing bracelets, doing schoolwork and playing with her sisters and dog at home in Wyckoff, N.J. — is a world away from her struggle a few years back, when she was undergoing treatment for cancer.
Salmins was 6 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She donated her long hair, and after what was left fell out, she “loved feeling the little spikes” when it grew back in.
As she slogged through treatments and hospital stays, she and her parents, Sherry and Gerhard Salmins, launched Knots & Arrows, a bracelet company that gives part of its proceeds to cancer research.
“I feel proud that I can make a company where someone gives, yet they get at the same time,” says Salmins, who is 10 now, in remission, and usually has her arms stacked with Knots & Arrows bracelets.
She designs the bracelets, which retail for $10-$35, sometimes sketching through her lunch period at school, often leaning toward what she calls childish, playful designs. Themes are often inspired by what’s around her: Seeing a tree might lead her to sketch palm trees, and palm trees could lead to pineapples.
The bracelets each include a gold “Knots & Arrows” charm and are made of soft, flexible swimsuit material “to remind people to just keep swimming,” she says — in other words, to just keep on fighting.
The company’s name comes from two quotes that helped the family get through that difficult time. “Knots, when you’ve reached the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on; and arrows, when life seems to be pulling you back with difficulties, it just means it’s going to launch you into something great,” Salmins says.
In addition to design duties, Salmins helps package and ship orders from Etsy. Sherry and Gerhard, who is himself a cancer survivor, handle the money. Sherry says Knots & Arrows has donated more than $30,000 to pediatric cancer research and families in need since it launched in February 2016. The family has run two successful Kickstarter campaigns to help cover production costs.
These days, Salmins’ goals include going skydiving and someday working as an anesthesiologist. She also wants the company to expand. “My big dream for the business,” she says, “is to fill my basement up with aisles of bracelets.”
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved