Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

How an accident in his backyard led to a 15-year-old Aussie schoolboy becoming a millionaire overnight by selling ‘smart’ plastic cups on Amazon

  • Gold Coast teenager Sam Richards started ‘smart’ plastic uppers business in 2019
  • He put his idea forward to a conference of 2,000 people when he was only 13 years old
  • The Covid-19 pandemic had turbocharged sales via the Amazon marketplace
  • He has sold the business for $ 1 million to e-commerce company Una Brands


A backyard accident with glassware provided inspiration for a 15-year-old schoolboy to start a business that has made him a millionaire overnight.

Gold Coast teenager Sam Richards founded his drinkware business Bellaforte two years ago and produced exclusive recyclable and recyclable beverages based on his theory that ‘life is too short to drink out of bad cups’.

Sam said the inspiration for his more advanced plastic cups came to him as he provided drinks to his parents, Phil and Michelle, as they sat by the pool in their Gold Coast home.

‘I lost them and I smashed them all, so it was a big disaster,’ he reminded the Nine News Gold Coast. ‘It made me wonder why I do not make some unbreakable plastic cups that are smart and look great so you can use them by the pool.’

Gold Coast teenager Sam Richards founded his drinkware business, Bellaforte, two years ago, producing exclusive recyclable and recyclable beverages after breaking glassware next to his parents' pool

Gold Coast teenager Sam Richards founded his drinkware business, Bellaforte, two years ago, producing exclusive recyclable and recyclable beverages after breaking glassware next to his parents’ pool

Sam Richards (center) with these parents Phil (left) and Michelle (right), who are also entrepreneurs

Sam Richards (center) with these parents Phil (left) and Michelle (right), who are also entrepreneurs

At just 13, Sam put his idea to a conference of 2,000 people and achieved funding commitments of $ 900,000. He ended up using $ 15,000 in seed funding from 20 investors to start Bellaforte.

After a trip to China to buy products and manufacturers, Sam started selling his ‘beautiful plastic cups’ in November 2019 via Amazon Marketplace.

The Covid pandemic further turbo-charged demand for the product.

After struggling to balance the demands of the school and his company, Sam recently sold the company to eCommerce aggregator, Una Brands, for $ 1 million after tough negotiations, according to acquisition chief Yenti Kushor.

‘He was driven and he knew what he wanted,’ Kushor said. ‘It was clear he was doing his research and had the numbers to back it up. He did not give up until we met his number. ‘

The teenager is hoping to buy a new set of headphones, a Samsung watch and a Tesla car with his windfall while inspiring other young entrepreneurs.

Sam recently sold the company to eCommerce aggregator, Una Brands, for $ 1 million

Sam recently sold the company to eCommerce aggregator, Una Brands, for $ 1 million

Sam started selling his 'beautiful plastic cups' in November 2019 via Amazon Marketplace

Sam started selling his ‘beautiful plastic cups’ in November 2019 via Amazon Marketplace

‘It all started when I went to an Amazon conference as a 10-year-old to learn how to start a successful Amazon business, and then my journey had begun,’ Sam writes on his website.

‘Do the simple things well. Do your research and stick to it, ‘he advises. ‘Ninety percent of people are too scared to take the first step and start. You must follow your dream. ‘

His parents, including entrepreneurs, had offered advice and guidance throughout Sam’s construction of his business.

‘We do not have high expectations, I mean he is a 15-year-old after all,’ said father Phil Richards. ‘We’re just happy if he goes to school and he’s brushed his hair and brushed his teeth.’

Sam said he intends to finish school and go to university to do business and marketing while thinking of new business ideas.

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