RINCON — A youthful breath of fresh air has entered the business atmosphere in Effingham County.
Twelve-year-old Heaven Brown of Guyton is the owner of Heavenly Inflatables, a rapidly growing entertainment company that can handle events large and small in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. She rents an assortment of inflatables that includes bounce houses, obstacle courses, water slides and sports games.
“We never thought it would get this big,” said Heaven, a South Effingham Middle School seventh grader. “Sometimes we go so far we add a delivery charge.”
Heavenly Inflatables was born out of its owner’s love for air-filled toys. She wanted one for her birthday party in 2018.
“We looked around and couldn’t find one,” said Princess Brown, Heaven’s mother. “Well, we found some but they cost like $500 and $600.”
Heaven and her older sister, Angel, then agreed to pool their savings to purchase an inflatable instead of having their parents rent one. The girls had held onto their Christmas and birthday cash for several years.
“They said, ‘We’ll buy one and then we’ll rent it out,’” Mrs. Brown explained. “I said, ‘Yeah. Right. Do y’all know how expensive these things are?’”
Mrs. Brown eventually eased her resistance and a new business was launched.
“Their first (inflatable) was used and we still have it. It’s called ‘Lava Flow,’” Mrs. Brown said. “It’s a double-lane big slide. They spent quite a bit of money on that one.”
Initially, the sisters rented Lava Flow strictly to their friends. A couple months passed before they expanded their customer base.
“They said, ‘See, Mom. We can do this,’” Mrs. Brown said.
As business picked up, Mrs. Brown cautioned the young entrepreneurs that they needed to purchase liability insurance.
“I was looking at it from the big picture,” Mrs. Brown said.
At that point, the girls’ parents withdrew some money from their savings account and invested in their daughters’ business.
“So we went from one (inflatable) to about seven in four months,” Mrs. Brown said. “It was a lot. We were working everyday after school cleaning inflatables and my husband (Alan) and I had full-time jobs.”
Heaven and Angel spent their free time marketing their business on Facebook and other social media.
“We got pretty busy pretty quick,” Mrs. Brown said.
The business model changed in February 2019 after Angel, 15, opted to move to Alabama to live with her biological father.
“Heaven told her, ‘If you go, and when I’m making good money, you can’t just come back and be part of it again,’” Mrs. Brown said.
The business continued to blossom after Angel’s departure. A month later, the operation had 10 inflatables and it currently has 22, enabling it to serve multiple customers at the same time.
“Heaven said, ‘Mom, this is too much. I can’t do this all by myself anymore,’” Mrs. Brown said.
At that point, after Heaven met her salary demands, Mrs. Brown agreed to quit her bank job and become a full-time Heavenly Inflatables employee.
“When I tell people that I work for my kid, I really do mean it,” Mrs. Brown said. “People go, ‘Yeah. Me, too.’ But I tell them, ‘No. I’m serious.’
“My daughter pays me.”
Heaven, who wears a short with “The Boss” emblazoned on the front, enjoys being in charge.
“I like it because nobody really tells me anything,” she said with a laugh. “I get to tell them what to do. I think it’s really cool that my mom works for me.”
Heaven is paid by commission.
“I make a little more money than she does,” Mrs. Brown said. “In the summertime, though, she’s making more money than Mom.”
Heaven also employs about a dozen workers during the summer. Several of them are South Effingham football players.
“I asked these big, buff kids if they were looking for a job,” Heaven said. “I handed them a card and said, ‘Call this number.’ They are good workers.”
It takes a considerable amount of sweat equity to prepare an area for inflatables. This includes unrolling a tarp for them to rest on and filling them with air and, when needed, water.
Heaven is thinking about starting a new company that would feature a bunch of inflatables under one roof.
“It would be like a big store,” she said.
Heaven said she gets her work ethic and vision for business from her mother. She is frequently asked to share her success story at club meetings and other gatherings. She is part of Effingham Women in Business.
Mrs. Brown couldn’t be more proud of her.
“You have no idea,” she said. “Heaven really is big-time determined. It means a lot.”
Heaven’s leisure interests include gymnastics and cheerleading. She pays for classes at DEENOS and Cheer Savannah.
“Other than lunch money for school, she pays for everything she needs herself,” Mrs. Brown said.
Heaven squeezes in other activities when she can, including jumping on a trampoline. Her time is limited because of her job and school work.
“I like riding four-wheelers and fishing, too,” she said.
One of her long-range objectives is to buy a vehicle. Mrs. Brown has no doubt that she will get one as soon as she gets old enough to obtain a driver’s license.
“For her, she’s encouraged,” Mrs. Brown said.’ “She sees the outcome, the big picture. She’s has standards and expectations, and that’s something we’ve always taught as parents.”
See more about Heavenly Inflatables at https://www.heavenly-inflatables.com/.