As this blog has now gotton rather long and cumbersome, here is a summary of useful stuff for first time young entrepreneurs and their parents, sort of a combo of FAQ’s and good to know stuff.
Goods and services: I would encourage a variety of items for their first market to get a feel for what sells. The only real failures I have seen is where you bring just one product to market and for some reason that does not work. Rather try out a few different ideas to get a feel for what sells, even if its just a few of each thing. It great to have one activity too or something to create interest at your stall, even if its not a big earner. Feel free to have a flip file or display of how items are made if there is a nice story behind them. Your sign is important and pricing clearly displayed helps too as many people may think prices are highter than they are and not stop to check.
Plants, cut flowers or veggies and herbs, crafts, activities like guessing the number of sweets in a jar, temporary tattoos and nail decoration are all fun and easy. The traditional baked goods, sweeties and popcorn are always popular but must be priced well. I suggest keeping most items small and simple and selling them at lower prices, while adding a few higher profit items into the mix to boost profits. Cute packaging and lables will help a lot too. Also remember that sometimes less IS more, you can often do better taking incompleted items to market as an activity stall or something to take and complete at home.
No hot foods or on site cooking please. “Made in China” is not encouraged, please rather try for more original and crafty items. Services like massage, henna and so on are all great. Children may also apply for a limited number of busking or performance art slots.
On second had goods like old toys and books and games: The main aim is to teach entrepreneurship and encourage ceativity so a purely second hand stall is a bit iffy. However, second had is a legitimate business and very “green” in many ways. I don’t want these markets to become a dumping zone or car boot sale though. I’d like to see at least one set of original products per stall if possible, however I will certainly not turn anyone away over this. I will however not permit parents to do the selling at these stalls, if the kids are not making the items they must at least market them.
I have had quite a few parents asking about their role. Parental assistance is 100% OK and essential for the younger children. However, I will be chatting to all the children and the amount of involvement in their stall will naturally be taken into consideration for awards. But this is a fun event, just being a part of it is a good thing and may be the spark that lights a future flame. I find it a little counter productive when parents do the actual selling and would prefer that not to happen.
Costings: Use the PMM accounting sheet which I can mail you, if you have to up front the cash, then they refund you after. But let them cost it all very carefully first as many ideas seem great until you do this and then figure out how much people will pay…
The main mistake I see is just one or 2 products…the more the better as you have more chances to get it right. Also if they are trying to sell something that is actually a fun craft to do…rather do it as an activity or kit. People won’t readily buy a thingy like a bead string or whatever, but they will buy it as a take home craft or an activity there.You are welcome to call me to chat further.
The first event is always a tester, this is a safe space to learn and figure it out.It must be fun!
Awards will take into consideration things like the originality of the products, cost of production, how much parental assistance is required, display, salesmanship and profit, among others. Recycling and upcycling and creativity are encouraged. Profit is not a main consideration in the awards, in fact I dont generally see the totals until after theawards. I would like to emphasise the value of originality, creativity, sustainability and allowing children to express their personalities. In accordance with my philosophy of “Living Lightly” it is one of my aims for children to conceptualize sustaining themselves by doing something they love and that adds value to the world. Working with friends and family and enjoying the camaraderie of other traders is also part of the experience
Our format includes basic age appropriate costings and profit calculations, a premarket advert requirement which can also be their market sign. A nominal “rental fee” introduces the concept of overheads. Children from age 3 to 16 are welcome. Each child gets a certificate of participation so there are no losers. The young children battle to concentrate for two hours so I advise keeping the set up time minimal and stalls simple. Please note children need to bring their own change float. Going to the bank and making change can be a really good learning experinence, some tellers will take the time to show them how to spot fake notes, etc.
As always I am constantly looking for sponsors, partners and feedback. I am passionate about this project and even more so about the new outreach part of it.
The bigger picture
The Pocket Money Market has two main aims and so far we have worked mainly with the primary objective which is nurturing a spirit of entrepreneurship in young children. It is my sincerest long term wish that more South Africans will be able to sustain themselves independently and possibly in a more flexible lifestyle conducive to less commuting and more active parenting which is often a challenge.
I would also love to bring real and immediate income generation to families where the means for the children to join the Pocket Money Market are simply not available.
In closing, I run this with pretty much zero resources, sometimes on borrowed bucks and my sister Nikki is my team. It’s a real dream to take it up several levels and I have grand plans. My joint aims are to empower a generation of independent earners with more choices while bringing real income to needy households via the outreach arm. I really believe much of the crime committed against children happens because their parents spend such long hours working and commuting leaving children unsupervised, and if we could generate home based income this would make a meaningful difference. Apart from the obvious lack of jobs which makes self employment a necessity. I do, however have to earn a living so this gets odd scraps of time (Yes its 1am as I type this) and its far from perfect. But at least its happening…my two refrains are “Use what you have” and “Nothing ever happened sitting on the couch.” Seeing what a big deal the first earnings they took home was to the Red Hill Cool Kids has already made it a win for me. But I do need help…do-ers not talkers though. So if that’s you, give me a shout on 0833840590. You can check out the links to my qualifications and back story in the “About” section of this blog and let me know if you want to see the “masterplan”. Bank details are optimistically there somewhere too.
Thanks a mil for all the support so far!
Cape Talk interview here: http://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/4416/know-about-a-project-that-encourages-enterpreneurship-at-a-young-age If you would like the detailed proposal it s available on request.
See you at the market,