HOUSTON - If you like buying gifts with heart and gifts that give back, two local boys hope you'll consider their handmade goods. They make all-natural products that give back for the good of our community.
Ben and Grant Mize are typical busy teenagers, but their schedules look different than most because they each run their own business.
It all started when Ben was only eight years old. He was a classmate of Caleb, the son of FOX 26 anchor and reporter Melissa Wilson and witnessed him and another student going through cancer treatment. He wanted to make a product to help make their lives better.
"Now that they're both cured, I'm seeing the side effects of chemo and that's what I want my research dollars to go towards: better treatment with less harsh side effects," smiles a very confident Ben.
Ben has been donating 20% of profits, from the all-natural bath products he has been making the past six years, through his company Soshen Inc. to Texas Children's Cancer Center.
"I have Super Scrubs, Super Smoothers, and a new Super Foaming Soap. The sugar scrub is an exfoliate, you can use it anywhere you want - the oil moisturizes your hands. I make a foaming soap that is paraben and sulfate-free. All of my products are all-natural and my Super Soothers are simple - made from coconut oil, shea butter, mango butter, beeswax, and essential oils."
Ben's products are so popular, he's getting close to the $10,000 mark in donations.
"It's amazing to know that I'm getting close to raising that much because [of] the impact I'm having. Texas Children's really appreciates it," says Ben.
We reassured him that the patients and their families sure appreciate it, as well.
Ben and his brother, Grant, are often side-by-side making their goods, but Grant is busy making candles through his company, Sweetwater Candle Company.
"My business all started with my fifth-grade science fair project, which was the burn rate of candles. After I figured out what wax was the best, it went up from there. I've always liked our military and wanted to support it, and I have a rescue dog, and the fact that they take rescue dogs and give new meaning and supported our military, it put both things together for me," explains Grant.
Grant donates 20% of profits from his all-natural soy candles to Freedom Service Dogs of America. He's close to reaching $6,000 in donations.
"What they do is take rescue dogs, train them to be service dogs, and give them to wounded vets who come out of the military. Every year, I pay $1,200 to sponsor a kennel for them, so what that does, a few dogs go through my kennel every year, that pays for their food, shelter, everything that a dog needs to go through the program and get to a vet that needs it," says Grant.
He goes on to say, "One thing people like is giving our candles for gifts, so we came out with positive messages, Bible verses, and messages like: Thank You, You're the Best, Teaching is a Gift of Heart, and people seem to really like those."
You may have witnessed the "Mize brotherly love" yourself, as they're often seen selling their products at local markets and then making their special donations in person.
Both boys say they've learned a lot from their childhood businesses and hope the knowledge will help them later in life.
They say their parents have helped them a lot along the way, but they're doing their best to take over every aspect of their own businesses.