Hashtag = success for young entrepreneur

12 December 2016
Reading time7 mins

As the conventional nine-to-five working world disappears, a number of young entrepreneurs are taking the world by storm. One such success story is Brisbane teenager Scott Millar, whose school project grew into a booming holographic projections business. We find out how…

Your company, BOP Industries, came about as a result of a school project. Tell us more!

BOP Industries began as a part of a Year 9 business venture. In the final term of business studies every year, Year 9 to 12 students form groups and develop a product and business plan and then pitch it to their business teacher for a $100 starting capital. From there, the students run the venture for a term as if it were an actual business, with members responsible for operations, marketing, events, HR and all other areas of the business.

My group and I developed an original product ‘Hash-tag Keyrings’. We had a great response, getting orders ranging from single key rings for presents and bags to orders of upwards of 100 for corporate gifts. This was my first taste of running a business and I was hooked, I loved it! After the venture program finished I was looking for work, but finding it hard to fit it in with my already very busy schedule. I also had already heard my peers complaining about annoying hours, being bored with their jobs or having frustrating bosses or co-workers. It was then that I thought back to running BOP Industries as part of the venture and about how great it would be to be able to do that for a job. From there I started preparing to take the business outside of school and run it as my own. After getting the rights signed over by the school and the other group members I was ready to start running BOP Industries as a business and have been doing so ever since.

What does BOP Industries do?

After selling the hash-tags at local markets for a few months I had developed a range of different hash-tag variations such as the rulers and key rings. However, I wanted more of a challenge and I thought the technology space could provide that. In August of last year, I found a very basic form of hologram technology online, just being used as a bit of a party trick, and I was enthralled. I researched the scientific principles behind it and how the holograms worked as well as different variations, so I got an in depth understanding of how the holograms work. I talked to my design teachers at school as to the best way to design and build viable products, and from there we began designing the first hologram product.

After a few months of selling the holograms it was evident they were a hit and we began designing new products and expanding our hologram range. We also found a new client base in the events industry as companies were looking to find new and innovative technology for their events to set them apart from the rest, and we found that our holograms filled that need.

BOP Industries is now a holographic projections company and our hologram range includes life-size holograms, holographic centre pieces, larger holographic units and a range of other options that are able to be customised for each event.

Our holograms also come with custom content so clients are able to get anything they wish displayed in the holograms, from life-sized people, products, logos and anything in between. They are also incredibly popular for centrepieces with company logos, products and table numbers floating in the displays, as well as having speakers appear in a holographic form. Especially handy should the speaker be unable to attend the event.

How do you juggle running a business with your school work?

Juggling work and school is always a challenge however with the help of my amazing mentors I am able to get excellent results in both areas. My school (Sheldon College) has been incredibly supportive in aiding me in my endeavours and my mentors at Little Tokyo Two are always there to support me.

It also helps doing subjects I really enjoy at school as I look forward to them. Also having an amazing group of friends really helps as I know they are always there to support me, and my teachers are incredibly supportive and make sure I keep my marks up as well as keeping everything running smoothly with BOP Industries.

You employ some of your school friends. Is it odd telling your friends what to do?

It is great to be able to work with my friends as I know they are incredibly competent at what they are doing and their passion is crucial to our success. They are an incredible team and often it is them reminding me what to do and keeping me on track! Like me, they all have incredibly busy schedules so being able to have a flexible job where they can work when it suits them is really beneficial. They are also able to use the skills they are learning at school, which helps with the real world applications of what we are learning. Being able to do something like run a business also accelerates your learning in the field, which is another massive bonus for people of our age.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In five years I will have graduated and I fully intend on running BOP Industries full time. Hologram technology is advancing at such a rapid rate it is hard to tell where it will be in 12 months but wherever it is in the next five years it will be very exciting. I also see both the business and the team continuing to scale, which will be very exciting. We are constantly innovating new products so that will be something else to keep an eye out for, and a very exciting space to watch in the not too distant future.

Who inspires you?

To name just one person that inspires me would be impossible as I find inspiration every day. My biggest source of business inspiration would definitely have to come from the team at Little Tokyo Two and the members there as well. Everyone in that space are doing such amazing things and I am constantly wowed every time I go in.

I will also never fail to admire the work of Richard Branson and his creations at Virgin. The work he has done is phenomenal and starting at such as young age is very inspirational to me and proves that young people can do amazing things too.

My friends are also a group that will always keep me inspired and keep me going, whilst all going through their own journeys they persevere, keep smiling and always keep me smiling too if I’m ever feeling down or stressed.

What does your family think of your success?

My family has been very supportive of me in my endeavours. My father has run his own businesses before so has been a huge help in making sure I am on top of everything and he has been a great mentor. My family are always ready to lend a helping hand too, be it anything from getting me and all the equipment to events, to helping come up with exciting ideas, to even putting together 500 key rings. Their support is invaluable.

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

My advice for any young entrepreneurs would be just to give it a shot. Whilst it might not always be glitz and glam it is an amazing journey and learning experience, and an adventure you will never forget. You will meet some phenomenal people and with determination you will be able to achieve some great things. It is also important to get out there as much as you can and make sure you do everything to the best of your ability. You also need to remember it is okay to make mistakes as that is crucial to your learning. I have already made countless mistakes but each mistake helps you grow and build a better business. Also don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Just because you may be younger or older or different to everyone else doesn’t mean you can’t do something spectacular and also don’t be afraid to seek help.

Whilst it is not for the fainthearted if you are determined and persevere, your hard work will pay off.

To find out more about BOP Industries, you can reach email them at info@bopindustries.com, or visit the Facebook page or website.

For more inspirational local teenage stories check out Fairies in QLD and Jordyn Yacker: from Surfers to Hollywood.

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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