Nana Sarfo is a 16 year old CEO from Las Vegas, Nevada. Her business is called LPSCon, an annual convention for people who collect toys called Littlest Pet Shops. At this event, collectors can have a safe place to share their LPS interests and hobbies with others.
Nana Sarfo held her first convention in 2016, she has been running the event single handedly for more than two years. Earlier this year, she secured a business investment through a competition at school where she won $20,000, she invested all of that money into LPSCon. Her board of investors will be advising her on how to be a successful CEO. So far, all her events have been successful, and has garnered over 800 attendees till date.
She has also been invited to be a key speaker at a Young Leaders Conference by the LVCVA. She was the youngest one there! When she is not heading to business meetings, she enjoys riding horses, playing piano and trumpet, art and photography.
You can follow her on Instagram at @Nnanasfo. She spoke to La Femme Exec about her journey as an entreprenuer?
What inspired you to be an entrepreneur at such a young age? I’ve always been an entrepreneur by heart, really! In the 3rd grade, I started my own “mudpie” business. People would come to me at the sandbox, and say “we are having a party in the ball closet! Could you make us a mudcake?” and I would receive payment through rocks. I would make cakes, chocolate bars, and even cupcakes out of mud. Business was pretty good. I didn’t even realize my calling for business until I reflected on that moment… I’ve been a CEO since birth really! This is what I was made to do.
High School can be rough! How do you balance your school work and being a teenager with running your own company? It gets extremely tough! I go to a college prep school as well, so that doesn’t make it any easier. Usually, I do my homework in study hall, then I come home and work on my business. It does get to be a lot sometimes but it is ALL worth it in the end!
Pitching your business and securing funding is not easy! How did you get investors to invest $20,000 in your business? At the time, I really didn’t even need the money. My business was doing so well. But my board consists of millionaires and billionaires (Eric Kurtzman, Todd Spector, Brad Howard, B.C LeDoux, Mike Boredon), all running successful businesses. I needed their mentorship and expertise. So, I entered this “shark tank like” competition at my school. The competition was to attend 6 classes, and then come up with a business plan. Already having a business, I just stayed pretty silent and listened. The day of the pitch, I blew away the investors with a long speech! The original amount they planned to invest was $25,000, but I decided that in order to keep more ownership over my business, to take $20,000.
How do you stay motivated? The smiling faces of the kids motivates me. As well as the many vlogs that my attendees make after the convention. When I need to work, I often put those videos on in the background, hearing their reviews, criticisms, and cheers, and that sets me right to work!
What advice do you have for other teen-preeurs? Do what you love, and go for it! If you have a business and you’re afraid that you will be judged, just dive right in. I promise you, it will be completely worth it, even if you slip. LPSCon has changed my life, and if I let my fear get to me about what others would think of me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Everyone is super supportive of this event and my toy obsession! I promise you have more allies than you think. Don’t ever ever let fear get in the way of your dreams.
This event has been extremely successful. for 2019, the convention, there will be 800 attendees. I’m am very excited to be putting it on for two days on June 22nd and June 23rd! Tickets sold out in 2 weeks.
On October 14th, I was invited to be a key speaker at a Young Leaders conference by the LVCVA (of course, I was the youngest there, all were in their 20-30s) at the Luxor. What an amazing experience!
When I’m not heading to business meetings, I enjoy riding horses, playing piano and trumpet, art, and photography.
You can follow my progress on my instagram at @Nnanasfo.”