Band of Brothers: Buttons mean business for these kidtrepreneurs

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Left to Right Nolan (11), Jonah (12) and August (8) are the creative trio behind Sheen Boys’ Buttons. (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UVBizQ)

August, Nolan and Jonah Sheen are the boys and the brains behind Sheen Boys’ Buttons. Their business began when their mother Amelia told them how she made pinback buttons in her middle school art class. They wanted to try it for themselves. After designing the buttons on the computer, they printed them, cut with a heavy duty circle punch and employed a hand-operated button maker to finish it off.

The brothers decided to take things a step further and start selling them around town. They are strategic in their design as they appeal to trends and customer requests.

“We have a large variety of designs involving sports, animals, holidays and characters,” Jonah says.

The brothers love kitschy, silly designs like a shark with a squirrel dancing in its mouth or a bacon heart that says “Bacon Love.”

One of the most popular button designs came from their dad, Jordan.

“All it says is ‘FREE DAD JOKES’ and we have sold 20 of them!” August says. “Good ideas come from lots of places.”

Confidence is King 

The brothers sell their custom creations at local children’s farmers market, like the Thanksgiving Point Maker Faire, and through word of mouth. At a young age they have already learned one of the most important parts of entrepreneurship — confidence is key.

“Being confident and having fun makes it easier when no one is coming to your booth,” Nolan says. “It can be hard to be a salesman, but there is a reward in the end.”

The boys bring their button making machine on site and can take customer requests on the spot.

“We love seeing customers enjoy the magic of metal pieces disappearing and transforming into a button,” Nolan says.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The Sheen brothers are homeschooled by their mother and use the My Tech High program, headquartered in Provo.

“In our entrepreneurship class, our mom taught us about working together as a team and supporting each other even when it is hard,” Jonah says. “Businesses can fall apart when people stop working together. We also learned about marketing research, knowing your customer, displays and booth security.”

The boys are looking into selling their buttons on social media and through an online store, as well as expanding their merchandise. They usually make one button a time but would like to do bigger orders in the future.

LEGO Lovers For Life

Aside from button making, the Sheen boys love hanging out with their family, which includes another brother named David, and two sisters, Reta and Rose. They love woodworking and riding bikes.

All three precocious brothers say their dream job someday would be to design Legos. One thing’s for sure. This band of brothers? Entrepreneurs to a tee. #FREEDADJOKE

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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