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Kids get down to business

Jul 26, 2017 11:16AM ● Published by Jet Burnham

Lydian Crowther markets her dog biscuits including an Elvis Biscuit — featuring oats, peanut butter and bananas. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Gallery: Kids get down to business [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Are your kids bored this summer?

Do they want to make some extra cash?

They might be interested in joining hundreds of kids, aged 4 to 16, who are selling their handmade products to the public at the Children’s Entrepreneur Market.  Exclusively for young entrepreneurs, these Markets are held each month at various locations.

“The idea was born out of boredom,” said the market founder’s mother.

At age 8, Kayden started selling lemonade as a way to entertain himself.  

“I thought it’d be cool to get a bunch of kids selling their stuff,” said Kayden. His idea became the Children’s Entrepreneur Market, started last fall.

Kayden’s mom said the Market introduces kids to the aspects of running a business in a safe environment. It also provides a lot of traffic for the young entrepreneurs to reach a large number of customers in just one day.

At the market on July 8, held in the parking lot of Noah’s Event Venue, kids were selling lemonade, popsicles, homemade treats, jewelry, 3-D printed toys, bath bombs, yoga classes, hair bows, stress balls, herb plants, cinnamon rolls, original artwork, sewing projects, solar-viewing glasses and more.

Lydian Crowther, age 10, created her own dog treats and came from Ogden to sell at the market.

“I took a recipe online, but then I tweaked some of the ingredients and amounts,” said Lydian, whose own dog is her taste-tester.  She created her own sign and colorful packaging to market her creations.

Alyssa, Justin and Mallory Wadsworth, from West Jordan, made 110 wizarding wands to sell at the three-hour-long market. Justin had taken a wand to school and had a lot of kids ask to buy one. His mom, Lynette, suggested the Market as a great place to sell them. She thought it would be a good experience for her children to learn about marketing and give them an opportunity to reach more customers than just in their neighborhood. Keeping with the wizarding theme, the Wadsworths also sold popsicles, which they advertised as “cold wizard wands.” 

“It’s a great experience to get the kids out talking to people, building confidence,” said Amy James, from Sandy. This was her son’s first face-to-face experience selling his products.

 “He’s actually kinda shy by nature, so it’s a little hard for him to engage,” said James. Her son, Logan, age 13, has been a creative entrepreneur from a young age.  

“He’s got it in his soul,” his mother said.

Logan often makes things and bakes things to sell to friends and family. At his booth, he sold items such as wooden flower presses, string whirly-gigs (which he advertised as “the original fidget”) and knotted survival bracelets.  James said this was a test run to see how products sold before they looked into selling online.

The Market encourages parents to allow their kids to run the booth, conduct the sales, count the change and haggle the price.

The Johnson family’s five children participated in the market as a way to earn money for a family vacation.

“This is our first selling experience as a family,” said Charlene Johnson. “They’ve been working together and it’s been a good experience." They had considered the 10:30–1:30 timeframe of the market and chose to sell hot dogs and drinks to hungry shoppers.

Equipped with a toy cash register, the Johnson children also sold their handmade creations — from elastic-woven pencil grips to popsicle-stick crossbows. The family made snickerdoodles together and lured in customers with free samples.

“As parents, we’ve been able to talk to them about cost and capital — explaining when you have money you can buy things; once you buy it, you can sell it for more and make money,” said Jason Johnson. The family had coordinated coupons with sales to purchase products and raw materials to increase their profits.

The Johnsons encouraged their kids to solicit sales by calling out what they were selling to shoppers walking by. Jason added incentive for his kids to sell more when he told them, “Whatever you don’t sell, you have to carry back to the car.”

There are plans to expand the market. Next spring, guest speakers will teach marketing classes about branding, packaging, etc. There will be a Shark Tank-type of competition for teens.

Kayden said often kids come to the market to shop and end up hosting a booth the next month. The next market will be Aug. 12 in Lehi. On Sept. 2, the market will be at Noah’s Event Venue. Registration and information can be found at childrensentrepreneurmarket.com.

Events have between 70 and 160 booths, which cost a mere $10. Entrepreneurs receive a T-shirt to identify them to buyers and a swag bag of snacks, water and a book about how business works.

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