At 18-months-old, Hayleigh Scott and her twin sister were playing in the park when an airplane flew overhead. Hayleigh’s sister looked up at the plane, but Hayleigh did not. In the days that followed, Hayleigh’s mother tested both children’s hearing using a music box. Again, Hayleigh’s sister responded to the sound and Hayleigh did not. A visit to the audiologist confirmed that Hayleigh had a hearing loss.
For many a childhood hearing loss diagnosis leads to a lifetime of unique challenges. For Hayleigh, it meant big opportunities. Now she’s not only a normal 15-year-old girl, she’s also a successful business owner who sells products to customers all over the world. She has her hearing aids to thank for that.
“It started when I was 5 years old. I was drawing pictures at my grandmother’s kitchen table,” says Hayleigh. “My mom walked in and asked what I was drawing. I replied that I was drawing charms for hearing aids.”
The art of charm
That simple drawing started the wheels rolling for Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms, an online business featuring hearing aid charms and tube decorations. Charms range from funky Disney characters to elegant Swarovsky crystals and everything in between - and they’re all made by Hayleigh.
“As I have gotten older, I have been able to really use the tools better to make the metal work more intricate and delicate yet sturdy designs,” she says. “I am also able to look more closely at what the customers like and incorporate that into other future designs.”
Hayleigh also dyes and designs “tube twists,” silicone-based threads that loop around the tube of BTE hearing aids. Hayleigh says that many customers request color combinations based on their favorite sports teams and school colors.
Teenage business tycoonOver time, Hayleigh’s business has blossomed from a small local endeavor to an international web shop. Customers range from 6 months to 80 years old and come from countries as far away as Brunei, Japan, England, Germany, and The Netherlands.
So how does a school-aged girl keep up with all the business? Again, Hayleigh had to be creative.
“This year I asked to be homeschooled,” she says. “Because of this I have more time to do my business without missing out on my schoolwork.”
In the next few years Hayleigh has her sights set on college, but she doesn’t plan on leaving her business behind. She is working on new products, a new web site, and a growing web shop on Etsy.com. She also creates marketing materials for hearing professionals to distribute in their offices.
“In the long term I am hoping to be the go-to shop for all accessory needs for hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHAs and RITEs,” she says. “I will be increasing advertising so that my products can reach more people in the hard of hearing and deaf community.”