MOUNT AIRY, N.C. — Starting a business at 8 years old is quite the accomplishment.
Lily Arispe founded Lilypad Prints after watching her dad use a 3D printer for his gaming hobby.
“I actually thought the 3D printer can do pretty much anything. Why can’t it do earrings? I love wearing like big earrings, and I couldn't wear them because they stretch out my holes, so I thought 3D stuff is light,” she said.
In just 3 months, she has made and sold roughly 1,000 earrings. She's even managed to land her earrings in a few stores.
“At some of our retail places, we have these and some espresso cups at Keep Smiling A’ Latte,” Arispe said.
With her own website up and running and partnerships with local retail stores in downtown Mount Airy, it's not uncommon for Lily to spot her own designs out and about.
“I actually scream out to them like ‘hey, you’re wearing my earrings’ or something like that. It makes me feel happy that they’re enjoying them,” she said.
Before they make it onto people's ears, Arispe starts with the very basics. She draws her designs with pencil and paper. She then makes a digital file of her drawing to prepare for 3D printing.
“Thirty is our usual size for earrings, but sometimes we need them a little smaller or a little bit bigger,” she said.
Each pair of earrings can take anywhere from 30 minutes to seven hours to print. The one printer her dad had wouldn't suffice.
“I got enough money and was like, we need to stop using yours so I got another. Then, I was like I need to stop using my dad’s because he got a little frustrated so then I got another. Then, I was like that’s not enough so then I got another,” she said.
Not only did she make enough for three printers, she also treated her family to a little vacation at the beach.
While Arispe has a bright creative side, interacting with customers is where she really shines.
“They’re very lightweight due to the plastic. It’s called PLaIR (polylactic acid),” Arispe said to customers.
It's her personality that really makes a difference in sales.