Picture of a phone with Shopify software

Start Your Business with Shopify

Try Shopify for free, and explore all the tools and services you need to start, run, and grow your business.

Pecans and Politics: Inside the Mind of a 12-Year-Old Founder

Photo collage of 12 year old Founder Charlie Kobdish. He's wearing a bright blue tshirt. He is standing against a background full of illustrations that reflect his business, his hobbies, his inspiration, his future goals and where he's from (Texas).

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. 

Charlie Kobdish is a kid of many talents—Monopoly, basketball, making jokes—but he’s most proud of his knack for business. This 12-year-old CEO runs a candied pecan company, Charlie’s Treats. But the business is definitely a family effort, he says. Dad and sis pitch in, and when Charlie’s not slaying her at chess, Mom takes care of the financials and creative tasks. 

One day, Charlie plans to be a politician, but for now he’s just focusing on being a seventh grader. Here, he shares with us his thoughts on everything from superheroes to sports to seasonal spices. 

About Me

Illustration of a young boy with a blue shirt on and a young girl with a red shirt on drawing their own faces so half of their face is incomplete as they paint in the details themselves. This is a metaphor for introducing themselves.

Name: Charlie Kobdish

Age: 12

My business: Charlie’s Treats

Where I live: Dallas, Texas

I’m really good at:

Making a lot of jokes. I'm really the class clown. When I’m at home and working on the business I’m serious, but then if I’m at school or hanging out with friends, I just turn on my funny mode.

My hobbies are:

Basketball, baseball, and I guess cross-country. I used to do swimming but not anymore.

That’s mostly it. It’s just the business, school, and sports. Sports are really my number one hobby.

What I’m watching and reading:

I really like the show Parks and Recreation. It’s super fun. And I really like Marvel comics. DC is kind of a little bit boring, but I really like Marvel and so does pretty much everybody. Thor is pretty cool. Oh, and I’m reading Johnny Tremain. It’s super good.

Games I play:

I do a lot of games on my phone, like this one game where you are trying to get to the ocean and you have to jump off a water slide and land on other water slides. I like chess too. Most of the time I win, but sometimes I make a huge mistake and I feel really bad about it. Oh, and I've never lost at Monopoly. I'm really good at it.

Illustration of a young blonde boy riding a skateboard but the skateboard is actually a pencil. This is a metaphor for how I got started.

When I started Charlie’s Treats:

I was 10. I’m pretty good at cooking and I knew that pecans were kind of a big market in Texas. I wanted to start a business, so I just combined them all together. I actually had a serious attitude about it and my parents also saw that it had potential. It seemed much more real than all my other business ideas, which were basically just little hobbies. My parents got involved and we developed five flavors. One of them is seasonal pumpkin spice for Thanksgiving. We started going to farmers’ markets and stuff and then we did a web interview. That's probably what got me more well known. 

My role in the business is:

Mostly a spokesperson but, being the CEO, I look over a lot of stuff. I also do the events, like farmers’ markets, to show or talk about the business.

The best part of running Charlie’s Treats is:

It's fun. You have a sense of responsibility with having a business, so you feel accomplished.

The hardest part is:

Probably just keeping up with it. There is a lot of work to do.

Who helps me with my business:

My dad does a lot of work and my mom makes baskets and stuff because she’s really good at designing stuff. She’s a pretty good artist. And she is the CFO so she does some of the financial stuff and she keeps track of all our orders. Also my sister helps sometimes. Seeing as she’s always on Instagram and Snapchat, she is named the chief social media officer, but she actually doesn’t do any social media stuff. My dad does all of that.

What my sister thinks of my business:

She thinks it’s cool. She talks to her friends a lot about it, but I have a feeling she is annoyed because people always talk about her little brother instead of talk about her stuff. I think she's a little annoyed by me.

Illustration of a young girl with brown hair and a yellow shirt on with clouds above her. The clouds are staggered and she is climbing them like steps. This is a metaphor for realizing her dreams and future goals.

I’m inspired by:

My dad. He started a pretty successful company. And my grandfather is really pushy and kind of tough and I guess that has kind of helped me to start my business and be really serious about it.

When I grow up I want to:

Become a lawyer and then become a senator. Politics is fun because you’re really able to change things, and I really want to be able to fix stuff. 

One thing I’m really proud of is:

The amount of followers that we have on Instagram and Facebook. There are a lot of people that catch up with us, like, surprisingly. I didn’t think there would be that many, but there is.

My advice for other aspiring young entrepreneurs is:

Come up with something that no one else has thought of before. Come up with something that is new so that you can surround the market on your own. You could make a ton of money selling something that’s kind of new and trendy.

Illustrations by João Fazenda