At 16, Sophie Sullivan is already a dab hand at running her own business.
It's not surprising as it's something she has already been doing for three years.
Sophie's business, Phie Jewels, was nominated in the retail category for last month's Te Puke Business Excellence Awards where she was recognised with a highly commended nod.
Sophie was at the awards ceremony.
''I really didn't expect it,'' she says. ''I sort of just went for the experience, really, and when they announced the highly commended I was 'whoa' because I was up against all the big shops - I didn't expect it all.''
She still doesn't know who made the original nomination.
''It was a complete surprise. We got the email, saw it and I showed mum and was 'oh my God, that's crazy'.''
With a focus on earrings, Sophie started the business as a 13-year-old when she discovered her ears that were sensitive to regular jewellery.
''I wanted to make something anybody could wear so people with sensitive ears could have cool jewellery,'' she says, "so basically I found all the different parts that I needed and put them together and it went from there.''
She started selling at Te Puke Community Market and then Tauranga's Little Big Markets, and more recently has had a stand at several Women's Lifestyle Expos.
She also has stock in shops in Tauranga, Rotorua and Waiuku, as well as Te Puke's Street2Surf.
''I've not really done any [markets] over winter and recently I'm more focusing on my shops - I gained two new shops within the last week or two and I'm now in five shops.
''Most of them have come to me asking - which is really cool. They've seen my stuff online or seen me at markets and said 'this will look really cool in my shop, do you do wholesale?'''
The earrings are made of stainless steel and powder-coated, or plastic moulded to shapes Sophie has designed.
''The hooks are all hypo-allergenic stainless steel, they've got no nickel in them because it's the nickel that makes your ears react.''
Now studying horticulture and working for Prospa, Sophie is looking to keep the business going without it taking up too much of her time.
''I'm not sure where it will go. If I can get into more shops and grow it that way, doing a lot more wholesale, that would be really good because it's quite easy really, and it's quite cool working with different shops.''
She hopes to continue attending expos.
''That's really cool too - meeting all the different people - so we'll see where it goes.''
Sophie says she looks for inspiration from fashion trends and ''what could be trending
potentially in the future''.
''It's about trying to be different from everyone else. You can't be completely different but I try to be relatively different.''
She works with a supplier in Auckland.
''They make all the bits for me and I put it all together.''