Each October, as tourists swarm Salem in search of spooky sights and souvenirs, Georgia Wrenn is waiting. In her tent along Artists Row downtown, the 12-year-old sells Witch City-themed goods, hand-drawn and designed by her.
In 2017, Wrenn was just a kid who loved to draw monsters. But with some help from her dad, an experienced Fenway Park street vendor, she developed a brand — and a $100,000 college fund.
Georgia Made This began with a batch of 72 T-shirts sold with Georgia’s lemonade stand stationed beside her dad’s truck. “We thought, ‘This would be fun, hopefully our friends and family will buy these,’ ” her father, Chris, said. “She sold out of them in a weekend.”
Over time, Chris Wrenn began replacing his products with Georgia’s, rolling back promotion for Sully’s, his Boston-centric sports brand. “By the third year, I just gave up on selling my stuff,” he said.
Today, Georgia Wrenn has her own tent, where she offers apparel, tote bags, hats, pins, toys, and more. “We’re starting to make [decorations] for Crocs, too,” she said.
As Wrenn grows older and her interests shift, her brand evolves. “Whenever there’s something that I really enjoy, I usually incorporate it with Georgia Made This,” she said. “Like when I liked slime, we made slime.”
She has also worked with multiple local businesses, including Atomic Coffee Roasters, earning royalties off a line of coffee bags featuring her art, and Goodnight Fatty’s cookie shop, the site of her Friday pop-up shop.
Wrenn was 8 when she began collaborating with Atomic Coffee Roasters. “You can see it in her artwork,” said Spencer Mahoney, Atomic’s vice president of operations. “They are horror, but because they were drawn by a young kid, they are on the innocent side.”
Wrenn has also teamed up with the Peabody Essex Museum on gold coin hunts each October weekend and selling her goods at a pop-up shop for PEM’s current bat exhibit.
“There’s something magical about her designs,” said Victor Oliveira, the director of merchandising at the Peabody Essex Museum.
In Salem, tourists and locals have embraced Georgia Made This. Among visitors, Mahoney said Georgia’s artwork is especially treasured.
“There’s a million different places you can buy Salem XYZ,” he said, noting that unlike most merchandise vendors, Wrenn is a Salem resident. “If you’re gonna buy something to take home with you as a keepsake from Salem, it probably just means more knowing that it’s from a young, up-and-coming artist.”
Wrenn’s favorite part of running her brand is connecting with her community. “It makes me feel really proud when I see people wearing my shirts or when they have one of my stickers on their car,” she said.
Looking forward, the Wrenns have ambitions for a brick-and-mortar, year-round storefront. But for now, both are happy with the progress and direction of Georgia Made This.
“It makes people happy, and it’s going to help pay for her higher education, so it’s a win/win,” Chris Wrenn said.
Zenobia Pellissier Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.