When you’re 16 years old, everyone talks about college, but no one talks about student loan debt.
But at this tender age, that wasn’t the case with Samantha Anderson, a young Origami Owlette who partnered with her mom, Diane, on their Origami Owl business.
Sitting at Origami Owl’s annual conference for its independent business owners, called “Designers,” Samantha listened as New York Times’ Best-Selling Author Rachel Cruze told her she could have a great life and go to school without accruing any debt at all.
Then, Rachel, daughter of Dave Ramsey and a Ramsey Solutions personality, opened her wallet, which was filled with cash.
“That was eye-opening,” reflects Samantha, now 22. “I just thought ‘wow, that is an adult with no credit score and zero debt. It put into perspective how important it is to allocate your money and set aside what you need for (essentials) and a little for fun.”
It was a pivotal moment for the preteen, who left the conference with her mom, Diane, fired up and ready to work her business to earn enough to cover her future college costs.
Earning Her College Tuition
Diane was similarly motivated.
A mom with another daughter in college, a working farm and a job, Diane just didn’t see how they were going to cover the fast-approaching tuition costs.
“When you go on college visits and they give you the estimates, it just blows your mind,” says Diane of Pennsylvania. “(My husband and I) both worked, so Samantha wasn’t eligible for grants. So, it’s either a high-interest loan or out of your pocket.”
She knew she wasn’t going to touch their retirement savings to send her daughter to college, so she needed to come up with another solution.
“I thought, ‘wait a minute. If we just buckle down and really work this business, we can save up the money. We just went for it.”
The mother-daughter team hosted Jewelry Bars® to introduce others to Origami Owl’s customizable jewelry and just started “socking away” their commissions from each sale to support her college fund.
By the time Samantha started college, they already had the first year-and-a-half of tuition saved up.
For Samantha, seeing her dream and her hard-work come to fruition was a “relief.”
“All my friends struggled with debt and would continue taking out loan after loan,” recalls Samantha. “I still worked through school, but I focused just on saving money for books and other expenses I had.”
Cue the Pomp and Circumstance
Even more amazing? Not only did Samantha graduate from her undergraduate program early, she also earned her MBA…in just four years.
“When I share my story, people are shocked, mostly because I have my MBA in four years, but also because I’m debt-free,” shares Samantha. “Most people can’t believe we were able to do that through a direct sales company. My mom and I explain that Origami Owl is not like any other company. We’re a Force For Good.”
The day Samantha donned her forest-green cap and gown and held her hard-earned diploma for the first time, everyone in her family was proud and overjoyed.
“We are very proud of all that we’ve accomplished together,” says Diane, who is now a Senior Team Manager. “It was a family goal and we all made it work and made it happen. From Samantha and I working the events to my husband setting up the tables and tents; Sami’s sister, Kate, pitched in while she was in college. This was a family effort.”
Fueled for the Future
With her diplomas in hand, Samantha now has a full-time corporate job, works her Origami Owl business part-time, and is looking forward to saving for her next big purchase: her first-ever, new car.
While what the team achieved seems extraordinary, Samantha shrugs it off.
“My advice to anyone in high school or college or even older who is looking at this opportunity is to JUST DO IT,” says Samantha. “I’m a walking success story and proof that when you put your mind toward something, you can achieve anything.”
She adds, “I love how empowering Origami Owl is and how everyone encourages each other to go out and reach your goals. Our mission statement says it all.”