Making a difference

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Charlee Backhurst is selling hand- beaded bracelets, claw hair clips and Crocs charms through her business Aroha by Chars.
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A 13-year-old Lake Hood resident is discovering what it is like to be a small business owner.
Charlee Backhurst is the proud owner and operator of boutique fashion accessories business, Aroha by Chars.
Founded around four months ago, Charlee said she saw people struggling with mental health issues and wanted to create items to ‘‘give them some support.’’
She is slowly building her collection of products which range from colourful hand-crafted bracelets to trendy hair and footwear accessories.
Charlee says all her products are designed to make people feel happy and to help them if they’re struggling with mental health issues.
The idea for Aroha by Chars came from seeing other Kiwi kids striking out with their own small business ventures.
It showed Charlee she wasn’t too young to start something, and she could use her creativity not only for a business but to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Her 90s-style mixed bead bracelets feature positive words and bright colours which she hopes will help to lift the spirits of wearers.
‘‘It’s important to show kindness to everyone,’’ Charlee said.
Desiree, Charlee’s mum, said she is pleased at what Charlee is learning from the experience of being a business owner.
‘‘It’s kind of a lesson in life, she’s learning probably a lot of different things and what people do suffer from.
‘‘There’s definitely a lot of people out there – a lot of kids – particularly after covid, who are suffering (from mental health issues).’’
Charlee said from running her own business she’s learned not everyone will like her products, ‘‘but you’ve just got to keep trying and eventually the person will come that wants to order.’’
She said when people wear her products she hopes they ‘‘feel happy and they know that they’re not alone’’.
Anyone interested in seeing what Charlee makes, or purchasing some of her items in time for Christmas, can visit her Facebook page ‘Aroha by Chars’.