Zoey Wagner crafts so-chic hair accessories

Zoey Wagner hasn’t even hit her teens yet and she’s already designing her own homemade hair clips, barrettes, headbands and other accessories, selling over a hundred products in just a few short months!
We caught up with the 12-year-old entrepreneur and asked her about her hair accessory company, Smile! By Zoey. Here’s what she had to say.


Girls’ Life: Where did you get the idea to make hair accessories?

Zoey Wagner: I needed new accessories one day, and I couldn’t really go to the mall. I was already into the whole craft and fashion thing, so I just went to Wal-Mart and got some fabric, and the idea just came from there.


GL: How did you business start?

Zoey: I was at a craft fair earlier that day, and a teenager there was selling jewelry. I thought that was really cool so I talked to my mom about it and she said we could start selling at craft fairs and everything. I wore one [of my accessories] to school one day – we have a really strict uniform so I always try to wear hair accessories to jazz it up – and all these girls in my class asked me where I got it and I said, “I made it.” They asked where I sell them and I said that I don’t sell them yet, but I had like 12 girls all asking me “Can I buy one?” 

GL: What inspires your designs?

Zoey: I really want to keep the whole thing lighthearted. I don’t want it to look like a magazine ad where the girl is drenched in eye liner and in dark clothes. I really want it to be fun, girly, bright and colorful, and something that makes you happy. That’s where I thought of my name, too.


GL: How did you sell your hair accessories to stores in your state?

Zoey: For the first store I sold at, which is a book and craft store in my neighborhood, I was already friends with the owner because I’d helped out the summer before, and I told her I sold crafts and hair accessories. I met with her and figured out how to start selling my products at her store. For the other stores I sell at, I usually call the business and if they’re interested I bring in some products, let them look at them and then we sit down and talk about the opportunity. It’s scary at first, but it’s fun. I felt awkward being the weird little girl carrying the briefcase and the calculator, but it’s fun.


GL: Is it hard to handle school and making the accessories?

Zoey: That’s definitely something I’ve had to learn how to balance. Sometimes I catch myself designing dresses or calculating how much I should sell my products for in class, and I try to tell myself “OK, if you don’t do well in school, this can’t keep going on.” I try to make sure to balance everything…and keep my room clean.


GL: Do you want to keep doing this when you’re older?

Zoey: Like every little girl, I started off saying “I want to be a pop star when I grow up,” Then I tried this as a hobby thinking, “OK, I’ll just do this for fun,” but I actually love this. I love being a leader and making my own choices, and the creative process is fun, too, so I want to keep on doing this as long as I can.


GL: What are your goals for the future of the company?

Zoey: I taught myself to sew when I was five. I’d cut up my grandma’s stuff and make little princess dresses, so I’d love to branch out into dresses. I do sew, and sell purses and bags, but my goal for the company is that – I’m guessing every kid who wants to be a fashion designer has said this – I would love to see myself in New York Fashion Week.


GL: What advice do you have for any girl who wants to start her own businesses?

Zoey: If you get a challenge along the way, you have to keep on trying. It took me a while to really get this business on its feet and I’ve definitely had challenges along the way, business-wise and friendship-wise. Really, it’s just about believing in yourself, as corny as that sounds. If you really do love it and you really are passionate about it, then you need to go for it because you’ll be successful in the long run.


Check out Zoey’s products here or send her an email at


by Jillian Zacchia | 2/1/2016
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