Teen Entrepreneur Sells T-Shirts

Seventeen-year-old Kalief Rollins isn't just a salesman, he's a relentless salesman. I don't know if he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos, but from personal experience I know he can sell a
$20 T-shirt that says "Caution: Educated African American" to a lilly-white CBS News correspondent.

Obviously, it's hard to say "no" to Kalief.

Kelief lives in Compton, CA where he runs the "Phree Kountry Clothing" company out of his mom's garage. "I've wanted to be an entrepreneur since birth," he told me. His mother confirmed. She says in first grade he used to spend his lunch money on candy -- not for himself, but for resale to his fellow classmates. He would sell a 50 cent bag of Skittles for a buck. The kid knew his price-points from the get-go. In junior high he sold jewelry and today - T-shirts.

He started the shirt business as part of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition. More than 20,000 students enter this contest every year. Judges pick a winner based on the student's business plan and presentation and this year the prize went to Kalief.

He won $10,000 dollars and a trip to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama.

Our viewers will also have a chance to meet Kalief tonight in my Assignment America segmenton the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.