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Rising stars: The young entrepreneur shaping his own future

Kennedy Anderson

What do Bumble, Snapchat and BeReal have in common? They were all founded by entrepreneurs who hadn’t yet celebrated their 30th birthday.

Kennedy Anderson, a young entrepreneur in his early 20’s, already has a couple of businesses under his belt, including teeth whitening service The Whitening Co, and his very own agency Kontent & Co. We chat to him about what attracted him to entrepreneurship and whether age plays a part in starting a business from scratch.

What made you decide to take up starting a business at a young age and how did you start?

The Whitening Co in particular was a brainchild of my business partner and I, Victor Green. We both ran digital marketing agencies and had certain areas of expertise. I thrived in brand and creative marketing and Victor thrived in performance and revenue. We had years under our belt of making our clients a bit of money and wanted to see if we could use our skills for ourselves.

We knew that for a business to truly thrive it had to be a passion so after some digging around internally and externally, I came to him with an idea that had been playing on my mind which was teeth whitening. I had struggled for years as a young buck with my smile and had purchased very dodgy teeth whitening products, I could find online to try help, but they all lacked results. The Whitening Co became an obsession for the next year as we brought the idea based on a personal pain point to life.

It had nothing to do with age, in fact, it doesn’t even cross my mind. When I want to do something, I do it as soon as I can.

Is there any challenges that come with starting a business at a young age and how did you overcome it?

In all seriousness there are always obstacles in business, especially start-ups – I guess one particular point around age would be meetings or negotiations. When working with suppliers, buyers, manufacturers and even customers, having a young 20-year-old turn up to these meetings, I always felt they would take a second glance. I knew we had a concept that would smash out any preconceived idea they had around me, so I tried my best to push those internal thoughts to the side, and it worked.

Secondly, money is always a challenge. All start-ups take capital to help fund it, this business in particular needed the most capital I’ve ever had to raise for a business, being that it’s a product based business and I needed to put down a payment to start the whole journey. We did this through selling the dream to friends, family and investors who wanted a piece of what we had hoped would end up being a rather big pie. Thankfully it paid off.

Read more: Burnt Hill: A passion project by a pilot and a business owner

Kennedy Anderson.

Looking at your career so far, what would you say has been your biggest and proudest highlights?

I feel it’s so easy to get caught up in what’s next, we barely get time to celebrate the moments that we literally once dreamed about. A huge milestone last year was The Whitening Co turning four, as not many businesses can say they made it past two years, so this was a very proud moment. We made time to celebrate it with everyone who helped make The Whitening Co possible.

Secondly and probably the most pivotal point for The Whitening Co was partnering up with The Cosmetic Clinic. Just this year we went from three to 30 stores and growing which made The Whitening Co accessible to all New Zealanders up and down the country. It’s been a goal of ours from the minute we opened up our first Teeth Whitening Studio and to say it’s now happened this year is a crazy feeling.

For those interested in starting their own business at a young age, what kind of advice would you give them?

People are your greatest asset. The Whitening Co was built with an army, from business partners, family, friends, dentists, mentors all the way down to each person in our community leaving us a review. It helped me shape the direction of the brand as I used to think I could build a brand all on my own.

The second you reach out and ask for help you realise how much quicker you’ll achieve. So many have done this before you, learn from them – there is plenty of room in the sea for all.

With your career only just beginning, where do you see yourself over the next five years?

I have so many goals, maybe too many so I don’t know if I can pinpoint down what direction I’ll end up taking.

I would love to expand The Whitening Co overseas. We have set our sights onto Australia for later this year and I’m very excited to get our ever-growing community over there into our partner clinics for the first time. I’d also love to exit my first bigger business. I love the process of growing a brand from the start, so I’m almost certain I’ll be doing it all over again in the not-too-distant future.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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