One of our family goals has been to help our kids each start a business by the time they are 10 years old. Technically Leeann started her own business when she was 7, but we are wanting to steer her toward something that can be on-going where she can learn an increasing number of basic business principles over time.
We recently got a ton of scrapbook paper from my sister-in-law who used to use it for her business, and my head immediately started spinning to figure out how we could utilize these free-to-us supplies to help our kids learn business principles and how to turn a profit.
It didn't take long until I started researching personal cutting machines and talking with Rob about whether or not to invest a little bit of money into a card making "business".
We quickly settled on this idea and made a proposition to Leeann. She had some money that was gifted to her for educational purposes. We proposed that she use some of that money to buy half of a Silhouette Cameo (a machine that you can use to design things on the computer than have the machine cut them out of a variety of papers). I would buy the other half with my Birthday money... which means I can use the machine freely anytime I want! Without an ounce of hesitation Leeann quickly jumped on this idea.
I'm not sure which one of us was more excited though!
Of course part of the arrangement was that her first order of business will be to pay back her educational fund so she can utilize that money for another use down the road. Additionally, she needs save for needed maintenance supplies like blades and cutting mats.
Jade and Titus wanted in on it too, so we had a family meeting and made a plan that they can rent the machine from Leeann at a fee of 25% of all profits until the machine is paid off. We plan renegotiate terms at that point.
Any profits they make will have to go through their envelope systems.
(*Note, we still do something very similar to what I explain in the above link, but the percentages have changed to 10% Tithe, 40% Car and 50% Spend for the younger kids. Our teenager has her own set of envelopes and percentages that are a little more complex.)
So today we got to work! Our hope is to start our "shop" with 50 cards that people can choose from. Right now we are planning on selling to friends and family. If we are turning a profit and it seems reasonable down the road we may choose to try to branch out into other products or sell some online.
This is especially nice because Leeann talks a lot about wanting to be an artist when she grows up. We plan to learn new artistic techniques and work with different mediums along the way and use those skills to create cards!
Daddy has a word document outlining our agreed upon arrangements and our future business expansion ideas. It was hard to get them to focus on just one thing (the cards) and doing so with just the supplies we have on hand. However, it opened up conversations about investing too much money up front, over extending your focus, and having too many supplies on hand.
We were able to help them focus by keeping a list of ideas for the future--once Leeann replenishes her education fund. First things first!
One of the things that we are doing is getting creative about using the things we have on hand. Rob recently resigned from his job and no longer has a need for his personalized cards. But they are perfectly good cards that came with envelopes, so I went to town designing a card that would cover up the existing words.
Here is a sampling of our first set of cards. You may notice that we are in the early stages of "product development". We are learning things like measuring, spacing and proper use of adhesives.
What can I say, it's a work in progress!
Stay tuned for opportunities to purchase handmade cards by some adorable kids. In doing so, you will be investing in their future as they continue to learn about how to make money and use it wisely.
We would love your input!
1.) What kind of card(s) would you be most likely to purchase? Birthday, Baby Shower, Wedding, etc.
2.) What do you think would be a fair price for one of these handmade gems?
3.) We are trying to come up with a company name that would be suitable for card making, but would also allow us to expand to other ventures like baked goods, cakes and other creations. We were thinking something with the name Willow in it, but that's not a necessity. Something that isn't already taken on Etsy or associated with another business is a must. Ideas?