David Odeh is a very ambitious young man with a vision well beyond most 15-year-olds. His big plans go back even further than that, however, when as a fourth grader at Fayette Intermediate School he started his own small business.
Today Innova Tie-Dye Designs, which makes custom ordered tie-dye t-shirts, has grown steadily in those years and David hopes to continue to keep it growing to fund his larger goals. He intends to go to Princeton University, he plans to become an aeronautical engineer, he wants to have his pilot’s license by age 17, and he’d like to have his own plane but and paid for by 21.
David remembers wanting to be an entrepreneur “very early in life.” He was in fourth grade at FIS where he and the other students learned to make tie-dye shirts by hand. Even at that age, he says, he recognized he could create a business out of the concept.
“I saw all the kids making their own t-shirts, going along with everybody else. I decided I can take the idea and turn it into a business,” David remembers. “I asked my parents to help me start the business, and they did. Eventually we got the site up and started working with designs… it just developed from there.”
His father Steve, a retired thoracic surgeon who ran his own practice in New York before moving his family to Fayetteville in 2008, says he was surprised himself to his son so driven at a young age, but he was supportive.
“He came back home and said, ‘Dad I want to start my own business. I want to go to an Ivy League school. I want to start to make some money to set aside so I can go to an Ivy League school,” Steve recalls.
David credits a teacher at FIS for seeing something in him and motivating him, saying “she kind of read me before I understood myself. She taught me well.”
Now an 8th-grader at Landmark Christian school, David has stuck to his larger goals first imagined in elementary school.
“I want to build up the business and to make tuition money for college,” he says. In the meantime, he is also a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout project. It’s a bit early to announce the details, but the project relates to providing opportunities for local kids interested in youth aviation. Even that plan is based on a larger understanding and vision of the world.
“Based on what I’ve heard, in the next 10 to 15 years Delta and the other airlines will lose half their pilots,” David says. He hopes getting kids engaged in flying early can help bridge that gap.
If his larger plan comes to fruition, he will be flying by 17 and owning his own plane by 21, all while running his own small business to pay for his Ivy League education. A very impressive vision.
Orders can be made for one-of-a-kind Innova t-shirt designs at www.innovatiedye.com.
“What makes our business unique is that none of our shirts are the same because they’re handmade,” David says. He already has clients locally and as far away as Canada, and hopes to continue to grow his business at a steady rate.
As David says, “I have big dreams.” He seems to be well on his way to fulfilling them.