Business

Broadwater teen a bona fide entrepreneur

SAVVY STUDENT: Tahlia-Jae Cartwright is just 14 and already has a profitable business selling designs on iPhone cases.
SAVVY STUDENT: Tahlia-Jae Cartwright is just 14 and already has a profitable business selling designs on iPhone cases. Hamish Broome

ARMED with an iPad, an Instagram account, and a good idea, 14-year-old Tahlia-Jae Cartwright is already a bona fide entrepreneur.

A little over a year ago the Broadwater teen had a simple idea which, with a bit of business savvy, she has transformed into a profit-making business better than your average part-time job.

Bored with the background images available for her iPad, she created designs and uploaded them on the booming image-based social media site Instagram.

The simple designs, which use repeating motifs such as pieces of fruit, pink donuts, and smiling aliens, became incredibly popular.

In just a few months, her Instagram account amassed about 200,000 followers.

Then came the enterprising twist - from her own followers came the idea to print the designs on iPhone cases, and the business was born.

"Tahlia sourced them all and jumped online and found out where to get them made," dad Marc said.

It's an idea which appears to have captured the picky young teen market.

Tahlia-Jae has sold hundreds of cases on her website, backgroundstuff.net, and they're going all over the world for just $12 each plus postage.

Instagram serves as the perfect market research site with her followers telling her which new design they like the most via a simple poll.

"I'll ask them and whatever ones they like the most I'll make," she said.

Because Tahlia-Jae gives away the designs online as background images, her customers can have matching cases.

The covers are sent all over the world, including South America, Europe and the Middle East.

Marc joked: "In the same orders, she's filling out Egypt, the UK, Israel and ... Wollongbar."

The business website began in September, although her Instagram account had been going for about a year before that.

One side benefit is Tahlia-Jae has attracted the attention of other businesses wanting to sponsor her to give their products a "shout out", and she's being inundated with products in the mail for free.

Almost every day she's receiving items including chocolates, sunglasses, clothing, and candles.

She doesn't have a Facebook or Twitter account.

Tahlia hoped to find a marketing mentor to help expand her business, and planned to apply her images to a range of other products next year.

Mum Susan said: "She's done this all on her own."

"Her choice was to get a job at McDonalds or the BP... and she chose this," she said.

Topics:  business, instagram



Why this Lismore mum will no longer be forced to sell her home

MUCH NEEDED: Rotary Club of Summerland Sunrise donated almost $4500 to the Mitchell family for renovations to support mobility for their son Isaac, who has cerebral palsy. Pictured is Rose Mitchell and Isaac (foreground), with (from left) Past President Andrew Heap, Josephine Saunders, President Zell Bennett, and Graham Meineke (background).

A local club has made a huge difference for this family

Surfrider Foundation to give voice to Ballina surfers

BURIED: This steel anchor, a component of the planned Lighthouse Beach shark barrier, is now completely buried along with several others after two days of big swell and high tides.

A "positive outcome” from the shark barrier debacle.

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

Local Partners

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction