Bandas de Amor started, like so many businesses do, as a pastime: scrunchies are fun to make, fabulous to wear (yes, they’re baaaack!), and can be done (with practice!) simply enough. What it has grown into though - is a true art, a desire to give back to the community, accountability, and pure determination.
Katherine Sexton, 14, and Eden Lord, 15, became best friends after they met in Spanish II at Treasure Mountain Jr. High (hence the name of their nonprofit, Bandas de Amor - love bands). When they were hanging out, trying to think of stuff to do, Katherine thought it would be fun to show Eden how to make scrunchies. And there, born of boredom, an idea to give back to the community. Now - Bandas de Amor has a goal, to “help our community one ponytail at a time.”
The evolution from fun to funding was a swift one for Katherine and Eden. Shortly after they decided to sell scrunchies to raise money for local nonprofits, they were *in it.* A setup at PCEF’s Running With Ed in May led to a number of Sundays camped from 7 -7 at Park Silly Sunday Market - even in the rain.
Katherine is the primary maker and director of setup and logistics. She can bust out 6 beautiful bands per hour (18 per yard of fabric, strategically purchased in sale events whenever possible) on a good streak. She set up their business bank account to deal with taxes, worries about scaling their product and mulls over how to optimize their numbers for maximum impact.
If your eye is drawn to the design of the Bandas de Amor booth (pictured), you should know that handiwork was all Eden. She leaned on a bit of education in design and a whole lot of talent to whip up an entire branding package for the girls, complete with a logo and a color story, all based on her love of blue.
When Katherine was asked about the challenges of starting a nonprofit, she talked about roadblocks in the financial setup.
“It was really hard. We had to borrow a bunch of money for materials, set up a business account for taxes - which was super hard for minors!”
They figured it all out - no thought of not following through. And the result? HUNDREDS of scrunchies sold (they have only a few left), and HUNDREDS of dollars donated to Park City Education Foundation and other local nonprofits.
Why PCEF? For Katherine, it’s a family tradition.
“My dad’s cousin has always been involved with the Park City Education Foundation, so the name was familiar to me. My parents are also Berkshire Hathaway Home Services agents and have done Running With Ed, for as long as I can remember, so that event was also really familiar.”
Isn’t this what it is all about? PCEF funding Park City schools to improve the experience for these girls and every single one of their classmates, to inspire them to reach their individual full potential. And to see what that inspiration has wrought - already! It just makes you want to wrap your ponytail up in a Bandas de Amor scrunchie, march out the door, and conquer the world.