Encouraging words

Oroville teen entrepreneur finds success with a positive message

Ben Hatch is on a mission to help others understand that beauty comes from the inside.

Ben Hatch is on a mission to help others understand that beauty comes from the inside.

Photo By vic cantu

Las Plumas High School senior Ben Hatch is an unusual teenager. In a good way.

While many teens embrace a world that bestows popularity based on physical attraction, the 18-year-old has created a national campaign to counteract such an approach.

Last January, he explains, he was up late brainstorming ideas to better the lives of fellow students and others tormented by depressing thoughts of unworthiness because they are not considered physically beautiful or attractive by their peers.

“Lots of students, especially girls, have low self-esteem and think your success completely depends on how you look,” Hatch said.

To counter this, he decided to start the “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” program, aka DYKYB, to reinforce the concept that truth and beauty lies within ourselves. He created a website, video and wristband bracelets with that catchy phrase, taken from the pop song of the same name released by Seabird a few years ago.

Humble and soft-spoken, Hatch has pursued his project like a man on a mission. The primary way he spreads his message is by selling powder-blue plastic stretch bracelets embossed with “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” in large white letters. They have sold well since early May at both his school in Oroville and across the nation—2,000 so far, to people of all ages.

The bracelets run $3 for a pack of two. He sells them in pairs, according to his website, www.DYKYB.com, with “one for you and one for you to give to someone that needs to know that they are beautiful.”

Success was immediate.

“In the first two days I sold my entire batch of 600,” he said. “A week later I got another batch of 700 that sold out in two days.”

He has another 1,100 on order. He sells most through his website, but many of his schoolmates have also shown an interest.

“You can’t go anywhere on campus without seeing several kids with their DYKYB bracelets,” Hatch said. “At one point it was hard to see anyone without them.”

Las Plumas Principal Dan Ramos said he loves the project.

“Ben’s message is sort of genius because it’s simple and positive,” Ramos said. “It’s a real change from today’s electronic communication because it encourages personally giving the bracelet to others.”

All the money received is reinvested in more bracelets and expanding the movement.

“This campaign is 100 percent honest,” Hatch said. “It’s not a rip-off, and we’re not just trying to make money.”

He next plans to make DYKYB T-shirts, key rings, hats and socks.

A friend, Reagan Keeler, volunteered to help him create a catchy video that is available on his website and on YouTube. (The latter has received approximately 3,000 views.) It features a series of hands, male and female, washing in a sink and emerging with a derogatory word—“worthless,” “fat” or “ugly”—written on the palm.

Hatch then announces his message of hope: “So when the world tries to tell you that you are worthless, ugly, plain and pathetic, we are here to ask you: Don’t you know you’re beautiful?”

He then urges viewers to get involved by purchasing a pair of DYKYB bracelets and giving one to someone in need.

Another of Hatch’s friends, Kurt Libby, helped create the DYKYB logo and website, which has been viewed in 48 states.

Testimonials sent to Hatch are powerful. A young woman says she always hated herself, had been told that she was fat and ugly and felt everyone wanted her to die. Since a friend gave her one of the bracelets, she said she feels much better about herself.

Another woman wrote that she lost her father in a car accident when she was 2 years old and implies she had no mother since she was given up to her aunt. She said she felt worthless and useless until a male friend recently gave her a bracelet, saying, “You’re beautiful when you smile.”

“I now feel more special to the world,” she wrote.

Others are spreading the message through blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hatch gave a speech on it to sixth-grade students at Ophir Elementary School. The teacher was so impressed she bought bracelets for her whole class.

Hatch’s father, Brien, said he couldn’t be happier. “I’m really proud of Ben for having a heart and bringing out the best in others,” he said.

Hatch graduated from Las Plumas High today (June 7) and plans to attend Butte College. A drummer in a rock band, Anchored in Truth, Hatch said he wants to spread his message through music and by partnering with other businesses.

“The bracelets are cool, but I really want people to give that second one away to make a difference in someone else’s life,” he said.