16-year-old Hunter Abeyta from Rockrimmon, Colorado, was diagnosed with ADD and OCD, but that didn't stop him from starting his own business.
In a society that teaches those who are disabled that they must be restricted to a life of dependency and mediocrity, a resident of Rockrimmon, Colorada in the United States is out to change the status quo. 16-year-old high school sophomore Hunter Abeyta, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, two conditions that are known to affect a teenager's normal mental function, has initiated his own business venture called Hunter’s Hope Soaps & Scrubs. The company produces aromatic soaps, scrubs, and candles. What's even better is that all their products are handmade by individuals in Rockrimmon's developmentally and intellectually disabled community, thereby empowering them both economically and helping them believe in themselves, creating a wave of positivity that will hopefully inspire many others throughout their town and beyond.
The initiative began when Hunter realized his mission to employ as many disabled citizens as possible. His mother Dawn Detwiler-Abeyta said in an interview with Woodmen, "Having a son who is developmentally disabled has allowed us the opportunity to celebrate uniqueness. Hunter enjoys the creative process of helping make soaps and sugar scrubs." The process is a team effort, completed by disabled Rockrimmon residents as well as Hunter's group of friends. He says he hopes to develop this team effort, stating, "My mom and I started making them for fun. Then we decided this could be something fun to do with my friends."
Hunter and his team work mainly out of his parents' kitchen in their home. There, he creates a wonderful brew of tantalizing fragrances — an aromatic treat for anyone. "We make most things in the kitchen, but sometimes there is stuff all over the house,” Hunter explained. Each of Hunter's products is designed to celebrate the individual personality of its creator. His company's soaps feature lots of different scents, colors, and shapes. Shapes range from green shamrocks to pink hearts and yellow flowers, whereas some of their signature scents include vanilla caramel, pumpkin vanilla, lavender, cinnamon, apple cider, orange, and strawberry.
As of now, Hunter's parents fund the source materials. They pay for and order all the materials. The development of his business has, in this way, become a family affair. Hunter’s father, John, takes care of all the heavy lifting at the craft fairs where he sells his products, assists with packaging, and even offers input on fragrance choices. Hunter's products are on sale online as well as at shops belonging to local vendors. His products are priced from $5 to $15. Additionally, Hunter’s older brothers, Tristan and Dalton also chip in in whatever ways they can.
Tristan who is 20 years old, handles accounting and Dalton, 26, assists with marketing the brand on social media. Dalton’s fiancée, Amber Rea, is also heavily involved in the business. She originally helped launch the business and currently assists with craft fairs and social media. Hunter's mom has taken on a leadership position and now supervises the operation. Regarding the business, she said, “We strive to give back to the community by introducing our soap and other bath and body products, making skills to groups of children and young adults with special needs.”
Dawn added, "We have some interest with some younger kids, elementary age, so we are excited to bring them on board. As our company grows we feel we can open more doors to people with challenges in our area." She also believes Hunter's Hope Soaps and Scrubs has taught her son important life skills that will help him better navigate his career in the future. "Not only has [the business] given him a sense of responsibility, but it has reinforced the value of hard work. It has also allowed him to incorporate skills from his therapies into his everyday life," she stated.
When he's not busy managing his own business, Hunter enjoys hanging out with his close group friends, playing with his adorable family dog Willow, and grooving to the music of rock bands Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons. As an assuming teenager, it may be hard to believe that the teenager possesses such keen business acumen, but Hunter has shown his community that talent can be found even in the unlikeliest of places. Once he graduates from high school, Hunter plans to enter the Transition Program, a course that works with special education students aged 18 to 22 in order to support their growth into adulthood.