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Sharks and Shooting Hoops: Inside the Minds of Two School-Aged Founders

Portrait of Ethan and Merritt Perlyn, the young founders of Crepic. Surrounding them are illustrations that reflect their business, hobbies and dreams.

In our Homework series, we explore the lives of ordinary kids with not-so-ordinary hobbies. Between school work and swimming lessons, these youngsters are also running successful businesses—(sometimes) with a bit of grown-up help.

In the world of brothers, surfing is life. But in between catching waves and shooting hoops and keeping up with school work, the two are also seasoned entrepreneurs. Their surf-inspired company, Crepic, is now a year old, and their branded hats and accessories are carried in four or five stores (depending on which brother you ask). While Mom and Dad help out, Ethan says, he and Merritt are really the bosses.*

Here, the Perlyn brothers share some of their favorite things and tell us exactly what it’s like to be a kid entrepreneur.

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About Me

Illustration of two young children with name tags that are drawings of their own faces 

Names: Ethan and Merritt

Ages: 10 and 7

My business: Crepic

Where we live: Miami, Florida

What we do for fun:

Ethan: Paddleboarding, surfing, snorkeling, skateboarding, fishing, and lots of other things.

Merritt: I play soccer and basketball.

What we really like right now:

Merritt: We’re making these paper ocean animals for a board at school. They took pictures of us, and they’re going to put our heads on fish. So it’s like an aquarium made of lots of paper. Everyone in our class loves ocean animals. My favoritest sea life is sharks. I just love sharks.

Video games we play:

Ethan: Merritt likes NHL hockey, and I play Fortnite—it’s the most popular video game in the world.

Something we’re proud of:

Ethan: Definitely the fact that we've had this company up and running for a year now.

Merritt: I made the craziest win in soccer today! It was a wild shot. When they passed, I stole it from them, made it into the net, and scored the win.

 Illustration of a young child flying a paper airplane

How we started Crepic:

Merritt: Last year when I was surfing and Hurricane Maria was on the coast, I came out of the water, and my brother asked me how it was. And it was crazy. It was epic. So then I said let’s start a business called Crepic. So we told our parents the idea, then they loaned us some money, and then we learned about Shopify. Then we built our webpage from scratch.

Ethan: Crepic is not about being the best—it’s about being your best. We have hats, shirts, and a couple other little things like cups, pop-sockets, stickers. That kind of stuff. And we donate a portion of the proceeds to bullying prevention.

A typical day:

Ethan: We go every day and check how many people bought stuff or saw our stuff online. And, also, we use Instagram a little bit, and Merritt does the likes. The “hearts,” he calls it.

The best part of running Crepic is:

Ethan: That feeling walking out of the store with a closed deal, and you’re like, “yes!”

The hardest part is:

Ethan: The sacrifices. So we were doing a pop-up shop, where my brother does his after-schools, and they were having a carnival and a three-on-three basketball tournament—and a lot of my friends were there, and I wanted to go play with them. But I had to sit in the hot sun.

Who helps us with our business:

Ethan: My parents helped with just building the website. You had to cut and paste so much. We had to type page-long paragraph essays. I know I could do it now because I am sort of really good at computers and stuff. I think I could do it, but I didn’t want to mess it up.*

Illustration of a young caucasian girl climbing clouds as a metaphor for future goals. What we want to be when we grow up:

Ethan:I think I already have a job. So I’m going to stick with this now and see if I get to WSL, which is the NFL of surfing, basically.

Merritt: Same thing, but I want to be a basketball player or hockey goalie. Or a soccer player.

One cool thing we’ve learned lately:

Ethan:What I learned was a very valuable lesson: always screw your fins on very tight!

Merritt: Ethan forgot to screw my fins tight, so the first wave paddling out, the fins popped off my board. I was riding the wave and I went ‘boof!’ I couldn’t even glide!

Somewhere we traveled recently:

Ethan: Costa Rica. It was the best trip of my life. We saw, like, one thousand crabs. One thousand and nine hundred crabs. We saw some howler monkeys. Some fish. Some eagle rays.

Merritt: And turtles!

The best part of the trip for us was:

Merritt: Surfing and swimming.

Ethan: It actually wasn’t the surfing. It was just walking around with nothing to do. Like no homework. It just felt so simple, and I liked that feeling.

Illustrations by João Fazenda
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