“If you have the idea, just do it,” is the simple advice from a 14-year-old boy who is being compared to a real-life Willy Wonka.
Truman Wilson of Dallas, Texas, was just 11 when he got the idea to create a small business. His dad Derek Wilson explained that the family loves to watch “Shark Tank” together, so when Truman came to him with an idea to create yummy chocolate bars with a fun and charitable twist, Dad didn’t hesitate to help his son make his dream a reality.
“He’s seen me as an entrepreneur growing up and we do watch a lot of ‘Shark Tank’ together as a family,” Derek said. “So when he came to me with the idea, it actually was a really good idea. So I figured I’d help him and see where this would go. During the day, I’m working on kind of operations and then at night and on the weekends Truman and I kind of work on strategy together.” - Derek Wilson
With his dad’s help, Truman created The Truman Factory, a chocolate company that produces Truman Bars. These aren’t your average chocolate bars, though. Inside each wrapper is a ticket containing a special code that can be entered online to win a prize. Prizes range from small items like fidget spinners or emoji plush toys to big-ticket items like a Nintendo Switch or PlayStation.
“Truman has always felt inspired to help other kids in need. With The Truman Factory he saw an epic opportunity to give back to his community and create a culture where kids help other kids. In researching Dallas charities he discovered Vogel Alcove as a charity that provides much-needed services to the homeless children of Dallas. So Truman has partnered with Vogel Alcove and gives a percent of all of his proﬁts towards their efforts. Every Truman Bar sale, every Truman Merch sale, every Truman Event Sale helps pay for food, shelter, and education for homeless children at Vogel Alcove.”
Every weekend Truman and his “Epic Team,” a group of his school friends, hold brainstorming sessions and travel to area businesses to form partnerships. So far Truman Bars can be found at around 75 stores in the North Texas area, and soon, their goal is to expand their reach nationwide.
When asked what hopes he has for the future of The Truman Factory, the teen shows that he’s not even close to being finished with this fun, charitable business venture. Rather than have the bars manufactured at an independent factory in New Jersey, Truman intends to go full Willy Wonka with his own factory someday!
“I’ll probably still be selling Truman Bars,” he said. “But I want to have an actual Truman Factory where we make all of them.”
It’s impressive enough that a kid his age is already hustling so much to create his own business, but adding the philanthropic twist to his venture is what makes this idea so special.
We wish Truman the best of luck with The Truman Factory and hope he encourages other young people to find a way to give back to others while bringing joy (and chocolate!) to the world.