You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

These Teens Went on 'Shark Tank' With a Product That Will Change the Way You Decorate Your Christmas Tree. Now, It's a Multi-Million-Dollar Business. Brothers Ayaan Naqvi, 14, and Mika'il Naqvi, 15, launched their Ornament Anchor to solve a common holiday problem. Today, it's in more than 500 Lowe's stores — with plans to expand.

By Amanda Breen

entrepreneur daily
Courtesy of Ornament Anchor

It shouldn't be hard to keep Christmas ornaments where they belong — on your tree. But every year without fail, many people find themselves picking up their decorations off the ground, the result of flimsy hooks or pet interference.

But teen entrepreneurs Ayaan Naqvi, 14, and Mika'il (Mickey) Naqvi, 15, have come up with an innovative solution: Ornament Anchor, the patent-pending loop and pull that securely fastens Christmas ornaments to their tree — and withstands the cats, puppies or toddlers who might try to bring them down.

The Ornament Anchor, which is available in four colors to suit any aesthetic, has already proved to be a major hit this holiday season. The multi-million-dollar business boasts more than 500 reviews on Amazon, and the Ornament Anchor is stocked in more than 500 Lowe's stores.

Entrepreneur sat down with the Naqvi brothers to learn how an idea for a school project led to two Shark Tank appearances and the highly successful product that launched their young entrepreneurial careers.

Related: 5 Priorities for Young Entrepreneurs

"The first year we made about $5,000 in sales, which to me and Ayaan was crazy at the time, being just kids."

It all began when 10-year-old Ayaan had to come up with an invention for a fourth-grade project in 2018.

"I was thinking hard," Ayaan says. "I had a bunch of different ideas, but nothing really stuck until I saw my dog Zara — she walked by a Christmas tree and her tail was wagging, hitting all of our ornaments [off the tree]. And that's when I realized there's never been an invention that is used to help save your ornament from falling off your Christmas tree."

Ayaan went on to develop the prototype. He unveiled it at the school fair, where it was met with enthusiasm from classmates, parents and teachers.

That's where the story ended for the next couple of years — until Mickey remembered his younger brother's "genius idea," and following in their parents' entrepreneurial footsteps, the boys decided to make a real go of it.

So, in 2019, they filed their patents and attended local Christmas and crafts fairs to see how their Ornament Anchor would be received. The goal was to determine if they had a viable product on their hands; they needed to hone in on its best selling points and target demographic.

"We wanted to go out in front of real people and hear real feedback on our product," Mickey explains. "And that's what started off the first year — and the first year we made about $5,000 in sales, which to me and Ayaan was crazy at the time, being just kids."

Related: Small Business Owners Are Getting a Head Start on the Holidays

Image credit: Courtesy of Ornament Anchor

"As kids, it's terrifying to be going up against five millionaires, trying to pitch your ideas."

A big break for Ornament Anchor came in the form of not one but two Shark Tank appearances, in 2019 and 2021, a milestone few other entrepreneurs can claim.

But the opportunity to participate in the show was "literally a dream come true" for the Naqvi brothers, who say the program was their favorite growing up — even playing in the background when they were fulfilling Ornament Anchor orders in the early days.

And it was a once- (or twice-) in-a-lifetime experience.

"It [was] completely different than anything else [we've] ever done," Mickey says. "And as kids, it's terrifying to be going up against five millionaires, trying to pitch your ideas."

The Sharks provided the young entrepreneurs with useful feedback but ultimately didn't offer them a deal either time. And although it was hard for the boys to return to school empty-handed a week later, appearing on the show taught them a lot.

"The main thing that [our] family took away from Shark Tank was that even if they say no, even if it looks like there's no chance, even if you got rejected by basically your idols, that doesn't stop you," Mickey says. "You can keep going. That's what we did. And now we are more successful than we've ever been in our lives."

Ayaan agrees.

"The biggest takeaway for me is to always have a Plan B," he says. "Before [Shark Tank], it was always like, this is definitely going to happen. And then that experience [taught us] you have to be prepared for anything. You never know what's going to happen."

Related: Do You Have a Plan B? If Not, It's Time to Make One.

"We want to see if we can get into more retail stores, maybe expand to different ideas for Ornament Anchor, but there's a lot to come."

And the teens did persevere — ultimately setting their sights on Lowe's.

"So what we actually did was go into our local Lowe's and make a video talking about why we think the Ornament Anchor is a perfect fit for Lowe's," Mickey says.

Ayaan interviewed customers inside the retailer, demonstrating the product and gathering feedback. Afterward, Mickey edited the footage together, and the brothers sent their video to Lowe's in December of 2021.

"We even took pictures of spots in Lowe's and mocked up what we thought the Ornament Anchor would look like if it were in Lowe's," Mickey says. "Shout out to my mom for that one."

The brothers' efforts paid off: Lowe's agreed to stock the Ornament Anchor in more than 500 of its stores.

"We're doing amazing in Lowe's," Ayaan says, "and hopefully we can keep it up. We want to see if we can get into more retail stores, maybe expand to different ideas for Ornament Anchor, but there's a lot to come."

Mickey agrees, adding that next year the goal will be to expand Ornament Anchor's retail footprint even further. In fact, the Naqvis are already in talks with a few more stores for 2023 rollouts.

But Ornament Anchor's online sales have also exceeded the brothers' expectations.

"Because Ornament Anchor is a demo product," Mickey explains. "You can demo it super easily. It's literally just a zip and you hit the ornament, and people are like, 'Wow, what is that?' So it works really, really well for Facebook, YouTube and Google ads. So next year we want to pump a lot more cash into ads and improve our online strategy."

@ornamentanchor I forgot to post this #ornamentanchor #sharktank #lowes #entrepreneur #business #christmas Aesthetic Girl - Yusei

Related: 5 Steps to Building Your First Online Sales Funnel

"It's always been in our blood to be entrepreneurs."

Naturally, balancing school, business and life is one of the biggest challenges that comes with being young entrepreneurs.

But the Naqvi brothers wouldn't have it any other way. They've gotten a taste of entrepreneurship — and they don't want to give it up anytime soon.

"It's always been in our blood to be entrepreneurs," Mickey says. "I've been exposed to being an entrepreneur, and I can't get enough of it. So I genuinely don't know what else I would do with myself if I wasn't starting a business or running a business."

Ayaan agrees, noting that although they intend to take Ornament Anchor as far as they can, they have no shortage of business ideas in the pipeline.

And when it comes to advising other budding entrepreneurs on how to transform their business ideas into reality? Simply getting started is the most important thing, Mickey says.

"Get in the weeds and start trying to figure out, Okay, how do I run a business?" Mickey explains. "And the great thing is in our time we have things like YouTube or Google where you can just search something up and somebody will tell you how to do it. And if you're ready to put in the hard work, anybody can do it."

Don't hesitate to ask for help either, Ayaan suggests.

"If you need a little help, it's always good to have a mentor, whether it's a parent, teacher or another adult you can trust," Ayaan says. "They have a lot of experience. They've lived life longer. So they can help you with a lot of things."

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

Yes, You Can Buy a Foldable Tiny Home on Amazon — And Now It's Selling for Less Than $12,000

The waterproof and flameproof house was listed around $35,000 a few months ago.

Starting a Business

4 Common Mistakes That Will Spell Doom Your Ecommerce Business

It's hard to spot a success story before it happens, yet it's easy to tell if a business will struggle. With that in mind, here are the four most common mistakes people make that you should avoid when starting an ecommerce business.

Money & Finance

4 Things to Know About Credit Financing Your Business Following the 'Fed Pivot'

With cheap money behind us, you'll want to rethink how you finance your business

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.