They are creative, fun, passionate, and they know exactly what kids want, because they are kids! This new breed of entrepreneur has youth on their side and they are using it to their advantage. Sara Keli takes a look at the mini entrepreneurs making waves and the drive behind the rise of the “kidpreneur”.
It’s a fact that the workforce is changing. Just a comparison of corporate offices ten years ago to the open plan, hot desk environments of today will tell you that. Jobs are changing and so is industry. Where does that leave our kids and the future they will be walking into?
Adelina Lalic and her husband Allan were worried about this future employment landscape and what it meant for their kids, Oliver (10) and Elysia (8). They set about developing Kiddsbay, a global online community that helps kids to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit to create and launch their own business while learning financial literacy skills, making real money and having fun along the way.
“65% of kids entering primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t exist today. Nearly 40% of jobs could be replaced by technology in the next 7 years. Kiddsbay is encouraging parents and kids to change their mindset about traditional employment paths and shift to an entrepreneurship mindset. It is very empowering for kids to realise the impact that they can have in solving people’s problems by creating a business idea that leverages their passions, interests, skills and natural talents,” said Adelina.
Starting a business has never been easier. The technology and the tools to do so are widely available and affordable so that with a good idea and a little bit of time, anyone can have a crack, even if they are still too young to walk to school alone. I wonder if this environment, with the prevalence of business role models combined with the availability of technology and awareness of the changing future, has created a perfect storm for something that is perhaps innate to children anyway.
Think back to your own childhood. Did you ever try and sell lemonade out the front of your house or knock on your neighbour’s doors to sell them freshly baked cupcakes? Or perhaps you suggested your parents have a garage sale so you could make some money on your old toys. Kids are naturally creative, inquisitive and seeking adventure and aren’t they the traits of a good entrepreneur?
If we can harness their ideas, energy and passion, isn’t that a good thing? Adelina explains, “Exposing kids to entrepreneurship from a young age encourages confidence, creative thinking and ambition. A kid can also start earning money from a much younger age, which also teaches them the value of money. The skills learnt from entrepreneurship include resilience, problem solving, networking, communication, financial literacy and business acumen skills. These are all practical life skills that will prepare kids for a brighter future.”
So if you have a kid who is showing interest or skill in business or you want to expose them to entrepreneurship, what can you do? Kiddsbay is a great place to start. It is a collaborative community where parents work together with their kids, so you might learn a thing or two along the way as well! You are guided through the steps to building a business, from idea generation through to launching and making money, with tips, hints and challenges along the way to keep you on track and to keep it fun!
They are only young once and while building these skills now can certainly help them into the future, it’s vital that they are enjoying it. It’s a tricky balancing act between teaching them skills of working hard, dedication and commitment when really, kids just want to be kids. Embrace the creative, keep them grounded and most of all, enjoy the journey, because you never know where it may take you as a family.
Sophia Rizzo, 10, Glitter Girl
What sparked your interest in starting your own business? Why glitter? How old were you?
When I was on holidays in Hawaii when I was 8 we saw so many shops with amazing glittery and sparkly accessories, bags, colourful clip in hair. Stuff we just didn’t have here in Australia. I was begging mum to buy it all!! Then later that day we were swimming in the ocean and mum asked me “ If you could open your very own business, what would it be and what would you sell”, I immediately said “Glitter and Glitter Girl”.
I think it had always been in my mind, maybe even since I was born. My Aunty has a shop in Brisbane and I would love going there and playing shops with her. She would teach me to use the EFTPOS machine and balance the till at the end of the day. It was so much fun.
How do you balance school, friends and your own business?
Well it’s not really hard because I love it all so much. I do 6 hours of Cheer a week, so I need lots of energy. I make sure I eat well and get lots of sleep. I love reading and maths, so when I am working at Glitter girl it’s like I am using all the things I learn at school anyway. Then weekends are for fun with my friends and family.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
When I grow up I want to still be the boss of Glitter Girl. I want to work with all my friends and drive a pink sparkly car to work.
What is it like working with your parents?
Well my parents know all the “businessy” stuff, so I give them all my ideas that I have written down in my Unicorn notebook and then we talk about how we can make it happen. Mum knows how to make things look good as she was a photographer for 20 years before I came up with the Glitter Girl idea. Dad is so good with numbers and we always talk about how much things cost, what we can sell them for and stuff like that. But when you work with Glitter, everything is fun.
What is your dream for Glitter Girl?
Well my dream would be for everyone in the whole world to wear my glitter every single day, because glitter makes everyone happy.
Megan Rizzo, Sophia’s mum
What was your first thought when Sophia told you she wanted to start a business?
We sort of just laughed and said, “Oh that’s cute” and didn’t really think much else of it until we were at our first Cheer Comp. My husband nudged me while we were sitting in the stands and said, “That idea of Sophia’s, the Glitter Girl one, maybe we should look at that”. Then the whole way home in the car from Brisbane to the Gold Coast we talked as a family about how this business would work, what it would sell, who would do which parts” Like a big Brainstorming session. The very next day we secured all of the Intellectual property and started the ball rolling. That was July 2017. By September 2017 we launched it online and it instantly went crazy.
What has been the biggest challenge in running the business with her? Is there anything you wished you had done differently?
The biggest challenge is actually protecting her. Sophia is only 10 and has an online presence through us as her parents. I am very aware of ensuring she does not read any negative comments from trolls. We talk openly about trolls and bullies, so she is aware but as her parents, it is a real concern. We still want her to be a 10 year old and have loads of fun and just enjoy what she has created in her magical Glitter Girl world.
What was the business journey and at what point have you stepped in to help?
We have been there from day one and will always be here to help and support Sophia. As anyone in business knows, there is so much work that goes on in the background and we now have a team of people to help us. We all take the burden of business off her and allow her to still be a carefree kid.
Glitter Girl links
Cassie Gee, 5, Cassie Swirls
What do you love most about painting?
I like wen its done because I can see all the detail and it looks the most beautiful when it is finished.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
An artist because I like doing art and people like my paintings. I think artists are the best.
What is the best thing that your business and painting has allowed you to do?
Being on the radio and earning money.
Linda Gee, Cassie’s Mum
How did you discover Cassie’s talent?
We discovered Cassie liked to paint when she was 3. It was just an activity to keep little toddler Cassie occupied as she was full of energy and always on the go. I was stunned by the result and she loved it and hasn’t stopped painting since!
Is she involved at all in the business side of things?
I am trying to get her more involved as she gets older and more aware of the value of money. I explain to her the social media side of things and she came to see the accountant at tax time (she was not a fan!). Early on she wanted to help less fortunate children so a lot of her earnings have gone to charity. This year she is doing “High Five for Africa”, where $5 from each sale goes to various charities helping African children in need.
What are the biggest challenges in running Cassie Swirls?
Time! Now that Cassie is at school it means less painting time. Because the business is based on customer demand it is also hard to tell how things will go in the future. She is also branching out and experimenting with a more realistic style.
How do you help balance Cassie’s interest in her painting and everything else a kid does (school, friends etc.)?
I never force Cassie to paint. If she’s not inspired she can do something else. If she wants to paint but there other things that she needs to do we discuss a time limit and what order would be suitable. She is a bit of a night owl so a lot of the time she paints in her pyjamas! Because she has just started school she is loving all the new experiences and friendships.
Cassis Swirls links
Pixie Curtis, 6, Pixie’s Bows
Where did the idea for Pixie’s Bows come from?
Ever since I was a baby I have loved bows of all colours and sizes – they’re my signature look! Lots of people started asking my Mum where she bought my bows from, so we decided to create our own range.
What do your friends think about your business?
They think it’s pretty cool and love when I give them a sneak peek of new bows! But most of the time we don’t really talk about it, there are more important things like our favourite movies, playing, dancing and school!
What do you love most about running your own business?
My favourite part is that I get to work with my family. Everyone helps! My Grandma ‘Dors’ helps with product development and shipping, Mum looks after marketing and branding and my little brother Hunter managers the numbers side of the business. It’s all hands on deck! I also love to pick out new colours and designs.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I love having my own business, it’s lots of work, I often go to Mum’s office after school to help pack orders! But, it is a lot of fun being able to create things that you really like so maybe a fashion designer? I’m also really into dancing and gymnastics, cooking and craft so who knows!
Roxy Jacenko, Pixie’s Mum
As a successful businesswoman yourself, how much do you think that has influenced Pixie?
Without a doubt, my work ethic and businesses have influenced Pixie. That was the plan! I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter what it is my children want to do they need to know the importance and value of hard work. I don’t want them growing up thinking that everything gets handed to you on a silver platter. I think it is important for them to see their parents working hard and earning what we have. Regardless of whether she becomes a doctor, teacher, actress, whatever it is she wants to do or carries on with her own business/es, it doesn’t matter as long as she remembers the importance of a strong work ethic.
What role do you each play in the business?
Pixie is actually very hands-on with Pixie’s Bows. She has very strong opinions about colours and patterns when it comes to designing the new bow ranges. She also had a lot of input on the retail stands we have developed which look like doll’s houses. However, she also helps out a few afternoons a week with the less exciting side of things like packing orders – it’s all part of running your own business!
What advice would you give to parents who have kids interested in starting their own business?
I would say definitely encourage them! It’s important that it’s their own idea and something they are actually interested in. I just don’t think it would work if you manufactured a business for them just for the sake of it – it needs to be genuine. Even if it’s just a fun hobby for them, as long as they’re enjoying what they’re doing, I think there are some valuable life lessons that all children can learn from running a business.
How has Pixie benefited from building skills in business at such a young age?
The number one thing she’s learnt is that there is a lot of work behind the scenes to run a successful business and many many hours! It’s not all pretty photoshoots – which in themselves can be very long days. Pixie never complains and takes it all in her stride, even after hours of having her hair done and countless outfit changes!
She’s also learnt that having a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve been doing this for over 6 years now! You can’t start something and then rest, you need to be consistent and committed, which is something I think Pixie understands now as well. Even if she decides not to carry on with Pixie’s Bows at some point, I still believe having this business has taught her some valuable life skills that she will carry with her into adulthood.
Pixie’s Bow links