South African Entrepreneurs Thinking BIG: Business ideas, success stories, marketing and innovation

1 Min. With A Superhero: Todd Sundstrom – 14 Year Old Entrepreneur


by on 21/09/12 at 8:04 am
3 comments


My business, Water Berry, has been implementing independent School Entrepreneurship Programmes since 2011. There have been some interesting success stories of learners starting and sustaining micro-businesses. Today we speak to Todd Sundstrom, a 14 year old Grade 8 learner from SACS High School.

Hi Todd. What is the name of your business, and what is the product that you offer?

The name of my business is Unpugged. I manufacture doggy dumbbells for anybody who loves dogs.

Can you give us a brief explanation of what your product is used for? Can you also tell us who will use this product and why they will use it?

The product that I make is used for dog training as a retrieval toy or a fetch retrieval toy for fun. People who have a dog or puppy and would like to teach the dog to retrieve an object. All dogs’ owners can use the dumbbell to play and socialize with their dogs.

How long have you have been “in business”?

Since March after starting the entrepreneurship programme with Water Berry. He encouraged us to look for an idea and start up a business.

How has business been – how many sales have you made ie: how many items have you sold since you started your business?

Business has been great. The dog trainer up at Wynberg Military Base has helped me develop the product, especially with the sizes and functional shape to suit all dogs. I have sold about 320 of the dumbbells and orders are still coming in.

Have you supplied any retail outlets yet ? Do you have any more lined up?

Yes. I have supplied Perky Pets in Diep River, Constantia Vet Shop, Dog Training Schools and many private sales.

Yes. The shops are re-ordering. I only have time in the holidays to promote and sell the dumbbells.
I have extended my range to selling and making rope toys.

Who produces your product for you and where are they produced ? Can you give us a brief summary of how they are produced?

I produce the items, my father helps me cut the wood and I do all the sanding and the assembling of the items. I work from a section of our garage.

What inspired you to start up this business?

I have always been very interested in having my own business and I started at the age of 5 making and selling things. But, doing the school entrepreneurship programme and attending the guest speaker talks was very inspirational and encouraged me to get going. My parents have also always encouraged me and have been there to support me, no matter how stupid or messy the products or ideas.

How old are you?

I am 14 years old.

Any tips for young entrepreneurs out there?

Tips: Just start something and learn from that. Always keep your eyes open for an opportunity, be enthusiastic, be inquisitive and have a passion.

Thanks Todd and good luck with the business going forward!

Alexander McLeod is passionate about fostering entrepreneurship in South Africa. He has developed and is currently implementing independent School Entrepreneurship Programmes. As at 31 July 2012, he has had just over 100 learners from 6 different High Schools register for his programme. Alexander has just over 8 years experience in professional services having worked as a management consultant and project manager at reputable organisations such as Deloitte and Business Innovation Group. He has been running his own business, Water Berry, for about 2 years and has a core focus on entrepreneurial development. He is passionate about education and giving people the opportunity to live their dreams. View more articles by Alexander McLeod.

Tags: entrepreneurship, Water Berry, Young Entrepreneurs

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3 Responses to “1 Min. With A Superhero: Todd Sundstrom – 14 Year Old Entrepreneur”

  1. Tyron Bache

    Sep 21st, 2012

    Great interview! Awesome advice here Todd, “Just start something and learn from that. Always keep your eyes open for an opportunity, be enthusiastic, be inquisitive and have a passion.” Keep it up.

  2. Maryanne Sundstrom

    Sep 21st, 2012

    Well done, Todd. We are so proud of you, your hardwork and enthusiasm is going to take you far…. Watch this space.

  3. Janet Homan

    Sep 21st, 2012

    wow Todd always new you could do it!!!!!! we love your product and so do our 4 dogs, so much so that it is the only dumbell that they will play with, and fetch during training!!!! Keep going with the hard work and we know you will reach for the stars!!!!! Awsome product!!!!!

    well done Janet (and our hounds)

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