Tags: Featured Story, Party and Entertainment, Tweens & Teens
Entrepreneurs typically create a business later in life, or at least during adulthood. One local teen, though, has already made his own success. Javen Freeborn breaks the stereotype that business concepts are better left to people much older than he is. At just 11 yrs. old, he started Ingenious Escape Rooms. Now 13 yrs. old, the Bakersfield student has developed the concept into a successful family fun venue.
“I knew that if I was going to be in business, it would be for myself. I don’t like having to take direction from other people or being bossed around. I definitely wanted to be in charge of my own business and what would happen with it,” said Javen.
Although Javen doesn’t have any employees to boss around, he’s doing just fine on his own, with occasional help from a cousin. Javen’s parents allowed him to convert part of their home into the space he would need for the business, specifically three decorated breakout rooms, each with a different theme. He said it didn’t take much convincing, and they encouraged him to go into business for himself.
Javen’s own interest in escape room as part of the experiential entertainment industry sparked his interest in owning and managing one. The concept has flourished in recent years as a problem-solving activity that doesn’t take all day. Breakout rooms are also a popular alternative to screens and get players up and playing an interactive game together in a different way than video games. Participants must solve riddles, decode cyphers, answer questions, and figure out the bigger picture of a themed room within the 1-hour allotted playing time. The business is hosted at 8908 Forest Oaks Ct., where the family also lives.
Javen attends eighth grade when he’s not working. He runs the business on weekends and within a self-defined period of time before and after school on Mondays and Tuesdays. He handles the hosting and customer service duties as well as administrative tasks for the business, with as little parental involvement as possible.
School still tops Javen’s list of priorities, but he sees the potential for entrepreneurial success now as well as in his future. He hopes to grow the business throughout high school and he sees business development as an area he’d like to focus on after college.
Escape room games and experiences can be booked directly through the business’s website at www.ingeniousescapeentertainment.com or on AirBNB.com. Players can choose between different rooms and whether to play with their family, friends, or co-workers as a teambuilding exercise. Prices start at $15 per person. Use code BAKOFAM for 30% off when booking directly through the business’s website.
“If I could give one piece of entrepreneurial advice to kids or other teens, it’s to never give up. If you just keep working through the business’s problems, it’ll get better,” said Javen.
Javen’s success is sure to inspire other students. Know of a young Kern County entrepreneur we should feature? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a story idea for consideration.