According to tradition, January 6th (a.k.a. The Twelfth Day of Christmas) is when you’re supposed to take down your Christmas tree. Sadly, many folks, as they wrap up precious ornaments until next holiday season may find themselves a few keepsakes short.
Ornaments are fragile things. All it takes is curious cat, a running toddler, or even the misguided sweep of a vacuum cleaner sucking up stray needles to destroy a cherished family memento.
And that’s just what inspired a pair of 12-year-old entrepreneurs to take action.
Brothers Ayaan and Mickey Naqvi, who live in Shelton, Connecticut, were decorating their family Christmas tree last year when one of their favorite ornaments succumbed to the forces of gravity. (The beloved family dog, Zara, whose tail Ayaan describes as an “ornament missile,” may have played a part as well.)
While the tree decoration in question was beyond repair, from its broken shards sprung a bright idea: What if there was a better way to hang ornaments so they’d be truly secure?
From that epiphany, the Ornament Anchor was born.
Using a loop and toggle system, Ayaan created the prototype and presented it for a school project. The reception was overwhelmingly favorable—so favorable in fact, the boys quickly decided to turn their invention into a potential money-making proposition.
“My brother and I worked together to design the product, patent it, create an awesome website, calculate profit margins and did our own market analysis,” Ayaan told CNN. “We did everything to the point where every month was Christmas.”
This wasn’t the boys’ first commercial invention rodeo: A previous gadget landed the pair and their family on an episode of Shark Tank. While they didn’t cut a deal, it was a true learning experience.
From $1,000 in sales in six hours at a local Christmas trade show, the Ornament anchor went on to be showcased on Good Morning America and featured on QVC. In one year, the brothers’ brainchild has raked in more than $250,000.
Flush with success, Ayaan and Mickey are determined to pay their good fortune forward by donating 10% of their profits to local animal shelters. “Ever since I was super young, I’ve had a fascination with all of life’s creatures,” Ayaan explained. “My goal is to help as many animals in need as I can.”
The boys admit that starting a new business in 2020 has had its challenges. While they’re enjoying their well-earned windfall, adjusting to distance learning and other constraints of the coronavirus lockdown wasn’t easy.
Through the turbulent times, they say they’ve just tried to take things one step at a time and keep a positive attitude because that—along with the love and support of their family—are what keeps them anchored.