NAME: Aarya Patel
BUSINESS: 4Ever Dry Socks

Being a competitive lacrosse player is fun—until you have to play in the rain and your feet get soaked. Sixteen-year-old Aarya Patel knows this well. An hour into the eight-hour tournaments she used to participate in, which often seemed to be held during inclement weather, she and her teammates would start complaining about their wet and cold feet.

Aarya searched for waterproof socks, but the only ones she could find were too thick and way out of her budget.

So the 11th-grader from Brighton, New York, came up with an idea that eventually would become 4Ever Dry—thin, comfortable, breathable, moisture-wicking and waterproof socks targeted toward athletes and outdoor workers.

The socks come in three sizes, with the outer layer made from a blend of nylon, spandex and elastase, and sell for $29.99. They’re slightly thicker than an average sock.

Since creating the business in August 2016, Aarya has sold about 800 pairs through online orders and local stores, bringing in roughly $9,500.

“Right now we’re close to the break-even point,” she said, referring to the amount she would need to cover the money she and her parents have invested. “This definitely has the potential to be profitable, but time is a factor.”

That’s because the high school junior doesn’t stress about backing off from her business if she has a busy week at school, or if something else comes up that needs her time and attention. She puts in the most hours on weekends anyway, throwing out promotions on social media and making appearances at community trade shows.

“The nice thing about running your own business is that how much you put into it is completely up to you,” she said.

Aarya’s vision for her venture has evolved over the years.

In seventh grade she was enrolled in a year-long after-school program through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy in Rochester, which helps students in grades six through twelve come up with business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors and launch their own companies. Her first idea was for waterproof sock covers, one that earned her nearly $750 from the investor panel.

Encouraged, and with support from her parents, “I picked up the phone and started calling manufacturers,” she recalled.

An order she placed with one of them didn’t match her specifications even remotely, an expensive wake-up call that shifted her focus to the product she now sells—a product that gave her the rare opportunity to pitch to experienced investors on the television program “Hatched.”

“I didn’t end up getting funding, but I learned that I needed to change the name of my company [the original name was Wet Cheat] and lower my price,” she said. “It was disappointing but obviously the coolest experience of my life.”

Aarya now works with a manufacturer in China, and plans to offer 4Ever Dry socks with toe insulation soon.