Apr 26, 2022, 2:03:01 PM CDT
'Gen Z Wonka'
Truman Wilson always has had a heart to give back.
At 11-years-old, he started his own business, the Truman Factory, taking inspiration from kid entrepreneurs on Shark Tank and Willy Wonka.
But the Truman Factory wasn’t just any candy business. Truman’s sweet shop combines his love for chocolate and video games. And the venture has coined him the nickname “Gen Z Wonka.”
For each candy bar sold, the Truman Factory donates a portion of its sales to Dallas-based nonprofits that benefit children.
Recently, Truman learned about Gamer’s Outreach and the GO Karts they provide to pediatric hospitals around the country. In April, he raised enough funds to provide a GO Kart for Children’s Health. GO Karts – or Gamers Outreach Karts – are portable kiosks equipped with a gaming console, monitor, controllers and games.
We caught up with Truman to see what drives him and why he gives back to Children’s Health.
What was your inspiration for starting the Truman Factory at age 11?
I was watching Shark Tank with my dad and the episode was one where kids were pitching the sharks. I did not know kids could have companies, and my dad said sure, anyone can start a company. I told him I wanted to make a candy bar with a golden ticket like Willy Wonka, and he liked my idea.
Why sell chocolate Willy Wonka-style?
It’s my favorite movie…and who doesn’t like chocolate?! Now people call me the Gen Z Wonka, lol.
Why is it important to you to support local non-profits that help kids?
I always want to give back to kids and teens in need because that’s my peer group, and it made sense for me to support nonprofits that I could see and interact with.
What is the connection between the Truman Factory and Gaming?
I am a gamer and have been since I was around 5 years old. It’s a very large part of my life, and I thought it would be cool to connect my love for gaming with my candy company. It’s fun.
What do you like about Gaming?
I love to game as any normal gamer does, and it has turned into a great way to connect with friends and meet new friends from around the world. It’s so epic to be able to message each other and get on and play together
How did you raise the money for the GO Kart to benefit Children’s Health?
Because of our involvement in some other gaming organizations, we learned about Gamer’s Outreach and the amazing things they do for children in hospitals that want to game. I had to help! We also give a portion of our candy sales to nonprofits.
Why do you want patients at the hospital to have this GO Kart? How do you think it will help them?
It means a lot to me and our company to be able to give such an epic handmade device to someone who needs it. I hope it helps make any child who uses it happier and ease any pain they may have.
Why is it important to you, at age 17, to help others?
We have been giving back with candy sales since I was age 12! So, it’s part of my company culture.
What do you want to do after high school?
Truman Factory will continue to grow nationwide so I will be working on that. I also want to go to college so will be applying to colleges very soon!
What do you like to do for fun?
I love cars. Most weekends I am attending car shows around Dallas and Fort Worth. I also love photography.
What is one piece of advice you have for teens like you who want to start their own business?
I would say in the beginning the hardest part is selling, as you have to be confident and know your product and what the benefits are to the person you want to sell to. The first thing to learn is how to sell to a person you don’t know - and practice that a lot. You can have the best product or service, but you need to be able to sell that to someone else.