Sixth-grader starts own business

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brannon McKinley, 11, has been selling his homemade paracord bracelets and keychains for more than a year. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Unlike many kids his age, Pelham sixth-grader Brannon McKinley’s future aspirations have little to do with professional sports or video games.

“I would really like to get a business license,” McKinley said, matter-of-factly, as he explained his business, the Knot Shoppe.

One of McKinley’s favorite school field trips was when he and his classmates got a chance to meet employees in the Pelham Revenue Department.

“I was asking a lot of questions, and some of my friends said ‘Tell them about your business,’” McKinley said.

While it may be a while before McKinley rakes in enough revenue to necessitate a business license, he is well on his way to growing a thriving business. Through the Knot Shoppe, McKinley and his family members make para-cord bracelets and keychains and sell them online and at several local venues and events.

The business recently was recognized by the Pelham Public Library’s Smart Investing @ Your Library program, which seeks to strengthen financial literacy among kids and adults.

McKinley has been making and selling the para-cord items for a little more than a year, and got the idea after he and his father purchased cord and clips from a military surplus store.

After making many bracelets and keychains, McKinley decided to set up shop at the 2011 Valley Elementary School Fall Festival, where the items proved popular. Since then, McKinley, his father, mother and 9-year-old sister have churned out between 300-400 handmade bracelets at $6 apiece.

“It depends on how long the bracelet is, but it usually takes about five or six minutes (to make a bracelet),” McKinley said. “If it’s for a kid my size, it takes a little less time.”

McKinley, who attended Pelham schools before he entered home school this year, said he puts some of the business’s profits back into the business, and puts some profit into a savings account.

Earlier this year, he sold his products to raise more than $600 to benefit the family of a 9-year-old boy who was hit by a car in Pelham’s Chandalar subdivision, and provides merchandise for his sister’s cross country team fundraising efforts.

To learn more about the business, email or visit