“I could never be an entrepreneur.”

Escaping The Bubble

Hi I’m Gabby Shapiro – I’m 19 years old from Philadelphia, and I guess I can now call myself an entrepreneur.

If my 12 year old self knew I would invent something, I wouldn’t believe it. My 12 year old self had a daily routine – I went to school, played sports, did homework, and went to bed.

My 14 year old self, entering high school, still had this daily routine, and it felt repetitive – something was missing.

I was going into sophomore year and wanted a hobby different than sports. An option that kept popping up was modeling. I thought why not? and submitted an application.

15 Years Old & Lost in New York

When I was younger, like any other kid, I loved to ‘create.’ I especially loved Apple computers. Hours I would spend putting together movies in iMovie with my friends and making songs in GarageBand.

Modeling would put me on the other side of the screen. And modeling was a great experience – I explored new places, met cool people, and saw how the fashion industry worked. But I didn’t really get to create; instead, people were creating me. I wanted to be on the other side of the camera; I was fascinated by the chaos behind the scenes that went into the final product.

My agent suggested I do cyber school and pursue modeling. As a junior in high school approaching ACT test season, the idea of no school sounded appealing – but I wasn’t passionate about modeling.

Senior year of high school, I acted in the school play and musical, joined the school chorus, and took a guitar class. Through acting, singing, and guitar (my favorite), I was able to create again.

I feel like for everything I listed there’s a beginning template. For acting, it’s a character. For singing, it’s your voice. And for guitar, it’s a song with notes – you add your tempo. These are beginning templates that are meant to be changed. All it takes is someone to change it; to make it their own.

I saw the earring back as it is, and decided to change it.

An Idea Is Born

I thought of Oh Snap on a random night in my senior year of high school. I remember laying in bed unable to fall asleep, delusional staring at my earrings on my nightstand. I thought: why hasn’t anyone thought to change the earring back?

That’s when I envisioned these two colorful cubes that would keep my earrings connected; I’d get a good night’s sleep, knowing my earrings were snugged together on my nightstand. I would call this contraption: Oh Snap! and went to town on my Notes app.

Thinking there HAD to be something like it out on the market, I googled “earring backs” and went through pages and pages of the same oddly shaped, colorless dull pieces of metal. I was shocked.

The Email That Brought Oh Snap To Life

A couple days later, I got an email from my high school about this invention program. I thought why not? and submitted my notes and sketches of Oh Snap.

Before I knew it, I was developing my product in an environment of entrepreneurs, and used the high school’s 3D printer to get a prototype made. That summer, I received a patent application pro bono. I was eager to help write, draw, and edit the application.

Oh Snap officially launched August 2018. I created the website, first initial rounds of packaging and logos, product photos and videos; I’m doing competitions, going to local gift shows…and I am thriving.

Me. An Entrepreneur.

When I was younger I specifically remember watching entrepreneurs pitch their inventions on Shark Tank and thinking, “I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up, but I could never be an entrepreneur.” I thought it was unstable, risky, and…difficult. Entrepreneurship is all these things. But it is also freedom to express your creativity and ideas; sharing, connecting, and building with others; leading others; solving issues, big or small, to benefit society, or simply make people’s lives a little bit easier.

If my 12 year old self knew I would invent something, I wouldn’t believe it. But my whole life I spent wanting to try things that granted me the ability to create, which lead me to Oh Snap: The New Earring Back.