By Kimberly Pierceall The Virginian-Pilot
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the "kidpreneurs" who are already doing business with some pretty creative and helpful ideas.
Eden Swineford had her sales pitch down pat. Preston Chaing wouldn't give up his secret recipe. And Zakery Owens has been doing this (this being sewing plastic bag holders out of tea towels) since he was 4 years old.
Sure, Owens is just 10, but all three "kidpreneurs" recently showed Suffolk what they're capable of at what would have otherwise been a typical business expo for vendors and small businesses.
Alongside the Mary Kay table, Chick-fil-A booth and representatives selling pest control services and essential oils, hand-drawn signs advertised "Preston's Lemonade Grenade" and "Zoe's Dreamtopia" at the Downtown Suffolk Expo 2019, a family affair put on by Richard Chaing of Suffolk Executives Offices.
His daughter, Noelle, said she was 6 the first time her dad told her to start a business. She was 8 (8!) when he gave her the "7 Highly Effective Habits of a Teenager," she said, laughing knowingly at how silly that sounds. And at the business expo, she sold soy candles she had made with him for $6 and $10 ("free smells" of course) under the business name Elementary Elements. The now 12-year-old employed a few of the tips she's learned: don't be shy, don't sit down as customers approach and be sure to interact.
Business lessons generally are passed on from those much older and more experienced (for good reason), but what if we learned a thing or two from this far younger set of entrepreneurs?
Do what you enjoy Kerith Swineford, 15, said she loves to draw, evident from her handmade greetings cards ($3 each or two for $5) featuring collages of text and characters and colors. What she liked most about selling her work was knowing someone might get joy from something she made. ___ Make sure people remember you Her younger sister, 13-year-old Eden Swineford, had her enthusiastic pitch at the ready and a bow-tie to match her "Bow-tie Baker" branding. Asked to spell her name, she didn't miss a beat: "Swine, like the pig. Ford, like the car company." ___ Don't give away your secrets Preston Chaing, 8, can say his $2 bottled "lemonade grenade" is made with lemon juice, water and sugar -- but the amounts for each? "My dad told me it had to be a secret," he said, referring to his dad, Richard. ___ I can do that Haley Johnson and Carter Shupert both found inspiration in online videos. That's where Johnson, 10, saw others making slime, so she packaged her own, filling her "Goorific Slime" canisters with glitter and stickers.
Shupert's prior business experience involved selling the Halloween candy he didn't want. The 14-year-old sat below his "Carter's Emporium" sign, crafting a custom marshmallow shooter -- with an attached laser pointer for aim -- after he watched videos of someone else making the same thing. ___ Don't throw away profits Nic Williams, 14, (on Instagram at nickyj_customs) uses old bicycles people don't want anymore (from yard sales, online advertisements and buddies) and customizes them -- painting them and changing up the seats, tires and rims -- before turning around and selling them for $125 (or $95 if you would have caught him in Suffolk).
His sister Sophie, 11, (on Instagram at Savethe_waves) packaged kits filled with biodegradable trash bags, machine washable bamboo-cotton makeup remover pads and a beeswax wrap (an alternative to plastic baggies) for $7 and $10 to keep plastic out of the oceans.
Kate Cashen, 15, takes old curtain, pants and other fabric to re-craft it into bracelets, head-wraps and stuffed owls in an effort to reduce what goes to landfills. ___ Fun (and friends) go a long way Zoe Carter, 8, and her dance class buddy Natalie Stanley divvied out generous samples of the pina colada cupcakes and marshmallow buttercream smores they baked for Zoe's Dreamtopia, where everything sweet is gluten-free because Carter has a sensitivity to it.
"They're two very strong-willed little girls," said Zoe's mom, Hannah Carter. Wearing matching "Grl Power" T-shirts, Zoe said they had strategy for success: "to look cute!" ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.