And then I remember presenting the incredibly detailed plan along with my selected rental location to my parents for approval. They were gracious, listened to the whole idea, gave encouraging head nods and "mmm hmmms" and then at the end asked me one question, "Have you considered how many stickers you'd have to sell just to pay the rent?" I was crushed. The whole plan down the drain with one question.
Kids today are so lucky. Etsy gives every child with an entrepreneurial spirit the opportunity to have their own on-line store without that dream killing rent to pay.
In fact, I think every child should try it just for the experience. The learning potential is incredible and the excitement when they make a sale is too sweet to miss.
We have two stores going so far.
One is owned and operated by my 11 year old that she started when she was 9. Her now 9 year old sister has joined her with some design work. The store is called SmithGirls Designs and features quality beaded jewelry for girls and their American Girl Dolls. Here's a link.
Another is owned by me with the help of my two younger daughters, 9 and 5. Yes, how great is that that a 5 year old can participate and learn. This takes playing store up a notch - but it will never replace actually playing store in our house. They sell and resell their legos creations each other for hours on end. That shop is called PurlSmith. Here's a link.
If you want to give this project a try, here are a few pointers:
1. Photos - Do an Etsy search for a product that interests your child. Have them look at all the photos and decide which they are drawn to the most. What is it about that picture that makes it better? How could they use that idea applied to their product.
When they actually get to taking pictures, we recommend the free, online photo editor, PicMonkey.com There are so many ways to edit the photos (filters, adding text, collage, etc) that we find photos taken with our iphone are just fine.
2. Product - This should probably be number one. Have your child think about something they wish they had or something that they would use. My daughters love their American Girl Dolls but didn't like the plasticy jewelry so came up with the idea of making matching jewelry for girls and dolls with only high quality beaded materials - no plastic.
3. Packaging - Another great discussion topic. How would they be packaged best? How decorative does it need to be - what is appropriate for your target market? What about shipping it safely. Which package would ensure everything would arrive in one piece?
4. Pricing - This was my favorite part. I had my daughter keep track of her wholesale costs with an Excel spreadsheet and then taught her how to calculate her costs in Excel. Then we discussed target market, what would they be willing to pay, wholesale vs. retail, etc.
5. Shipping - How should it be packaged? Sourcing packaging to keep costs down. How does different packaging effect shipping costs.
You'll be amazed at how much your child ends up learning as they go through this project. Let me know if you give it a try. I'll be happy to go and "favorite" your child's listings. My girls check their shop stats daily and are always over the moon just for a favorite or two.