The 11-year-old daughter of a furloughed federal employee decided to take matters into her own hands to keep the family afloat.
That’s how Bella Berrellez, a fifth-grader in Gaithersburg, Maryland, came up with the idea of selling homemade organic sugar scrubs for her new small business, Bella Sweet Scrubs.
“I originally started it to help my family and my mom, because she was furloughed,” Bella told InsideEdition.com. “I just felt obligated, I was like, ‘Let me help.’”
Bella explained that in December she and her mom decided to do a mother-daughter bonding day. She had been home from school for the holidays, and her mom, who works at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was furloughed.
After a morning of bowling, her mom suggested that they make body scrubs together.
“A sugar scrub is a body and face exfoliant,” Bella explained. “It just makes your skin really moist and soft.”
Following the fun afternoon, Bella realized that selling the body scrubs could make a good idea for a new business. She had already had success in selling earrings and slime.
Even though she lives in a dual-income household and her family would have been fine with or without additional financial support, Bella said, “I felt like I wanted to help and that was kind of a good feeling for me.”
She started by pitching the product to her family, friends and neighbors before expanding into Etsy and Instagram.
Ever since the furlough began, Bella said she’s had more than 900 sales and made a profit of more than $14,000.
Because she realized her family might not need the additional income as much as other families, she donated a portion of her earnings to local nonprofit Nourish Now, which collects surplus food and redistributes it in their community.
She now hopes to expand into lotions, bath bombs and soaps.
“I’m just super excited for what our business is going to grow into,” she said.
As for all the extra time she spends with her mom, “I like having her around, but I do want her to go back to work.”