Springfield Central State High School Business Enterprise Student
Queensland teenage entrepreneur proves anything is possible
A Queensland teenage entrepreneur born with dwarfism has revealed the reason behind her growing business venture.
Sophie Nance, of Springfield Lakes, launched her custom-made business called Just Be You with hope to empower, and provide confidence and support for others just like her.
At 16 years of age, the Springfield Central State High School Business Enterprise student said finding age-appropriate clothing that fit her was “very difficult”.
Sophie came up with the concept of her business in Year 7 while studying an Enterprise subject.
“Being a personal issue that she has dealt with most of her life, it was something she was passionate about doing,” Sophie’s mum Mandy said.
“It makes Sophie happy to know that younger generations with dwarfism will have this opportunity to wear age appropriate clothes that fit them.”
Sophie recently received a highly commended award for her business Just Be You at the 2021 Future Anything grand final.
Future anything transforms young people’s passion and curiosity into innovative ideas that make their world a better place
Sophie said she wanted to help others dealing with the same issues as her.
“The clothes I make are custom-made and stretchy to cater for different body shapes. The clothes are for teenagers and young adults – both male and females,” she said.
“This is a big issue for people with dwarfism.”
Sophie was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome at 14 months old. She was born at Brisbane’s Mater Mothers’ Hospital at South Brisbane in 2005 with her twin brother Matthew, at 37.5 weeks gestation.
Her progressive condition causes many tissues and organs to enlarge, become inflamed or scarred, and eventually waste away (atrophy). Skeletal abnormalities are also common in this condition.
Matthew does not have Sophie’s medical condition and is now a 6ft teenager.
Mrs Nance said her daughter was a “normal size” until she attended Kindergarten.
“Her growth slowed down and she was shorter than her peers,” Mrs Nance said.
“When she was young it was easy to find clothes for her but as she got into late primary school and definitely in high school it was very difficult.
“Being a children’s size 5, so many clothes have Disney characters on them which isn’t appropriate for a teenager. When we do find appropriate clothes we often have to shorten the sleeves.”