10.13.2012

Entrepreneurial Girls

Earlier this month when Jeff and the girls were browsing our local Wal-Mart, Abigail noticed a particular doll and fell in love. When she came home, she counted her money and realized she was many dollars short. She knew she could ask for the doll for Christmas or her birthday many months from now, but her desire for the doll sparked her entrepreneurial spirit.

The next thing we knew, she'd created more than a dozen yarn-and-bead necklaces and at least as many little bead rings, announcing that she was launching her own business: Abigail's Beads. And then she decided to set up shop in our front yard each afternoon when the nearby middle and high schools let out for the day.
Unfortunately, not many people actually walked by on her first two afternoons. And, though several who did pass by smiled and nodded, no one bought anything. She was a bit discouraged, but perked up when Jeff said he could share her wares with his co-workers. And many there voiced interest but specifically asked if she could do bracelets, too. Of course, she could...and the next thing we knew, she had orders for a dozen bracelets of different varieties: glass bead, wooden bead, and seven-string braids. So she and her "staff" (Jeff!) went to work, investing in supplies and working diligently to fill orders for specific colors and designs.

And after about a week, she was ready to personally deliver the finished products, much to the delight of her customers.
In fact, seeing the completed bracelets sparked interest among others in the office, and Abigail came home with orders for eight more bracelets and a request for Jeff to bring the samples back on Monday.  I expect a handful of additional orders will come from that...and Abigail has expressed a desire to show her products to other friends and relatives as well.

In addition to the bead business, Abigail had sought other ways to make money at home. Most significantly, she'd asked to take over Jeff's long-standing job of cleaning our cats' litter boxes and had already earned a few dollars.
So, when she got home from her deliveries, she counted all her money and realized she had more than enough to buy her precious doll. Of course, we had to make a family outing of it - going out to dinner and marking the occasion with a picture.
Rachel brought along the money she'd saved from various endeavors over the last year or so. And, though she didn't have as much as Abigail, she found a doll she liked as well, and decided to buy it. She was happy, of course, but realized it would take a long time to replace those funds and earn more without a plan...and, thus, the entrepreneurial spirit struck her as well!

First, she asked to take on the task of unloading and loading the dishwasher each day, a request we readily agreed to - a nice perk for us and a benefit to her long-term goals.
And then, because she's an artist, she began brainstorming her as-of-yet-unnamed card-making business. She's still working out the details, but the idea is that she'll first produce a line of illustrated Christmas cards and work to sell them at Jeff's office and elsewhere this fall. Then, after the holidays, she'll develop designs for birthday, get-well, and general encouragement cards and go from there.

Jeff and I are beyond thrilled with both girls' initiative. Of course, we know this is a significant step toward helping them learn the value of money. But, more importantly, we know from books like Thriving in the 21st Century by Barbara Frank that today's economic realities mean we empower our kids by encouraging them to work for themselves at something they love instead of relying on someone else to give them gainful employment.
Of course, the particular cottage industries each has now launched may or may not become long-term projects. But these endeavors are definitely showing them that they can transfer their innate talents into  marketable skills with the potential to be successful businesses. And who's to say what might blossom from here?

3 comments:

Stealthy Mom said...

Thank you for sharing this story! You are setting up your girls to be successful and independent.

hollyberry said...

I really enjoyed this post too! I thought it looked like Abigail had fun and learnt a lot. They're already on their way to becoming the women of proverbs 31 :)

Conny said...

that's so great :) Recently my daughter sold cookies at our community yard sale - even that experience was great for her. :) Good things for them to learn.

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