CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A young boy living in Fulton, Texas has turned his favorite hobby into a successful business.
Brantley Hatcher is 5 years old and has autism, but he doesn't let that stop him. He's learning what it means to handle his business while also understanding the value of earning his own money.
A few years ago, Brantley was watching his mom as she made products for her own business, Coastal Chaos Locally. She made soap and other items, but Brantley wanted to get involved.
So his mother let him help and that's when Brantley fell in love with making soap and that was the start of Brantley's Bears Handmade Soap.
“It showed me how smart and how truly focused on life that he really was. I didn’t realize that he was watching so much," Haley Hatcher, Brantley's mother said.
Haley said creating soap is not just something for Brantley to pass time. Finding joy within his hobby allows him to maintain a routine and stay consistent with his passion, while understanding what it means to earn his own money.
“He gets very overstimulated but he loves to have a job," Hatcher said. "He loves to work and he loves to help. So when he’s doing the soap, he gets so into it. So we thought it was a perfect opportunity to teach him responsibility and just working for what you want starting now before he’s 30 and has no idea."
For other children living with autism, Jacquie Benestante with the Autism Society of Texas said that doing something they love can help them build life skills and allow them to become proficient in certain areas of their development.
"It's great particularly in this instance that he really likes making soap," Benestante said."That in particular I could see there’s probably some measuring involved and some fine motor skills. And I think when you’ve got like a really sort of tangible thing, it’s a good experience.”
As Brantley continues filling orders everyday for his 'scentfully' sweet business, his mother said he’s hoping to earn money to buy his own trampoline.
But it doesn’t stop there. He also has a giving heart. All proceeds from Brantley’s Bears will go towards helping other families of children with autism find resources within the community.
His mother said they want to collect clothes, school supplies, food and more for families, along with, finding community groups to suggest.
“We don’t want children to ever have to need. He likes to give, he’s a huge giver. I think that him being able to hand another little boy some clothes would probably make his entire world," Hatcher said.
Brantley and his mother plan to expand the business with hopes that one day, Brantley can see himself as a successful entrepreneur.
The Autism Society of Texasprovides free connection groups, education events, and a Navigating Autism Program around the state. Within their Navigating Autism, the organization service provides individualized guidance and support for children, Autistic adults, and their loved ones across Texas.
To support Brantley's Bears Handmade Soap, reach out toHaley Hatcher with Courageous Kids Connection, an organization aimed at bringing awareness and acceptance of all abilities to the Coastal Bend.