Talented Milford teen twins show entrepreneurial spirit
MILFORD — A pair of teenage twins have been keeping themselves busy these days. The twins Nicholas and Skyler Agresti, are 10th graders at Joseph Foran High School. They play soccer, and are involved in the Key Club and Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds homes for those in need.
In their spare time they run an online chameleon selling business and publish novels.
Growing up, Nicholas Agresti, now 15, had a dog and crayfish, but he said he always thought chameleons would make cool pets. He would see them often in movies and on TV and said he liked how they could could change their colors.
For several years, he researched how to care for chameleons. In 2014, when he was 9, he got his first one. Now he’s gone into business for himself selling and raising them. Last month he sold his first batch.
“I’ve always wanted to breed and sell chameleons,” said Nicholas, adding that he loves being able to hold them when they’re babies. “They’re smaller than the tip of your finger and you can feel them walk on your hand,” he said.
The business, called Camouflage Chameleons, can be found at camouflagechameleons.com and on Instagram and Facebook.
The family currently has three pet chameleons: Oscar, Everest, and Sapphire. Nicholas keeps his chameleons in a screened cage.
“You can use fake or real plants in it,” he said. “You keep lights over them with UVA and UVB rays. You feed them crickets, meal worms and roaches.”
Chameleons require a lot of space and can’t share cages with each other, according to Nicholas.
“They will fight to the death,” he said.
To keep up with their feeding, the family built a shed in their backyard, where they breed their own crickets - about 10,000 each month, he said.
“We got started with breeding when our three adult chameleons laid their eggs, in August of 2019,” Nicholas said. The eggs hatched in June, and sales began about three months later.
“We had 21 babies and sold 12, so we have nine left,” said Nicholas, adding they can live five to seven years.
Like all startup businesses, Camouflage Chameleons has had its share of hiccups. One challenge he encounters occurs when cleaning out their cages.
“Our veiled chameleon sometimes bites you,” Nicholas said.
Another time one of them animals staged an escape attempt, he said.
“One day, we were trying to get him out of the cage to clean it, and he ran out and hid in the corner behind the table leg, and we couldn’t get him back in,” Nicholas said.
His father Marc was eventually able to help.
Nicholas ships the chameleons all over the U.S.
“We can ship all over the country, overnight, in FedEx priority mail,” he said. The chameleons go out at 6 p.m. and arrive at 10:30 a.m. the next day.
To date, he has shipped chameleons to California, Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
They cost between $150 and $200 each, which Nicholas said he reinvests into his business.
He said he would like to keep the business going.
“I would love to keep the business going throughout high school,” he said.
Skyler’s book, “Eight Vein: The Golden Heart,” was published in September and is available on Amazon. The eBook costs about $3 and the paperback is $12.95. About a dozen people have bought it in the past few weeks, she said.
“It’s a fantasy and adventure book set in the past, before civilization as we know it now,” Skyler said.
Skyler started writing the 248-page, 14-chapter book in seventh grade, and finished it last year.
“The main character is a soldier named S14,” she said. “There are two main organizations and they are both fighting each other for control of the world.”
Skyler said the conflict in the book is that the one organization has infiltrated the other. The character Eight Vein must stop the spy from passing the stolen information along.
The idea for the book came from a dream, she said.
“One night, I had a dream that outlines the book, and I wanted to see what would happen if I started to write it,” she said. “I tried to work on it every day, so when school picked up, I tried to wake up at 6, and wrote for an hour.”
She said many of the characters in the book are based on herself or her friends. She didn’t tell anyone except her brother that she was writing the book until she completed it.
This is Skyler’s first book. Previously, she wrote short stories for school assignments. She’s currently taking a creative writing class in school.
As far as favorite authors, she said likes the fantasy and teamwork aspects of the Harry Potter series.
Her all-time favorite books, however, is a series called “Beyonders” by Brandon Mull.
“It has a lot more mystery and action,” she said.
While writing the book, whenever she was stuck on a certain section, she skipped ahead and went back in later on to fill in the missing parts. After she finished writing, she and her father used an app called Notability to go back and edit and rearrange some sections.
For Skyler, the book is not a one and done deal. She has almost finished a sequel, which addresses how the main character tackles the new challenges that she is faced with at the end of the first book.
“I’m hoping to finish before the new year,” she said, adding she also an idea for a third and fourth and possibly fifth books in the series.
“I really enjoyed the whole writing process,” she said. “Fiction and fantasy is where I do the best because I have a good imagination.”