Nine-year-old Columbia entrepreneur Gabrielle Goodwin was back in her fourth-grade class Friday morning at Harbison West Elementary School.
The night before, she extemporaneously delivered the acceptance speech for receiving SCORE’s annual diversity award at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. for her invention two years ago of a revolutionary hair barrette for girls.
The barrettes, which now are sold in 48 states and eight countries around the world, are much sturdier and longer-lasting than traditional barrettes, and feature a special Double-Face Double-Snap design invented by Gabrielle and her mother, Rozalynn, so the barrettes won’t slip out of the hair.
Each year since their inception, the barrettes have doubled in sales, and this year GaBBY Bows expects to move about 8,000 units of merchandise, Rozalynn Goodwin said Friday.
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GaBBY Bows received the SCORE award in the diversity category over hundreds of applicants from across the nation, an indication of the bright future that lies ahead for this product, said David Bobbitt, SCORE Foundation president.
SCORE is a national organization of 11,000 entrepreneurs and business executives who volunteer their time to help others start and grow their own businesses. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., SCORE, which has existed for more than 50 years, consists of about 320 chapters located in all 50 states and U.S. territories, including several chapters in South Carolina.
Gabrielle, who was chosen as a 2015 S.C. Young Entrepreneur of the Year, wowed the crowd in her speech, which can be viewed on Facebook by looking up GaBBY Bows Double Face Double Snap Barrette, or by going to the website, www.gabbybows.com,
“It was very exciting and it was very fun,” Gabrielle said. “I got to network and meet other new people, and especially winning the award. I wanted to hold it the entire time after I got it, because it was so special to me.” It was special to her mom, too.
“This all began, in my mind, as an attempt to show her that nothing was impossible,” said Rozalynn Goodwin. “The way that it’s taken off and how I’ve seen her grow and develop in her confidence, as well as her creativity – that’s been the most rewarding of all.”