When my daughter was in year 3 she told everyone she wanted to be a scientist, just like me when she grew up. This gave me a smile and an inner glow of pride. To try and be fair to her father I said to her, well maybe you might want to be an engineer like dad. To which she replied “What’s the difference?” and I answered that they were similar but they did get paid more. So she then proudly declared to anyone that would listen that when she grew up she’d be an engineer like dad!
In year 6, she’s now firmly decided that she wants to be a fashion designer. We’ve talked about what this would entail including sewing classes and the hard yards behind the glamour. Oblivious to this she then started identifying shops to rent (as we walked past them) to sell her fashion out of and while out walking found a block of land that she wanted to buy to build her shop on.
Just as I was totally winding down for Christmas, after a long and challenging year, my daughter asked me if I’d help her start-up her fashion company during the school holidays, since my company, gemaker helps start-ups and SME’s grow their businesses from great ideas. Inner pride was now competing with I’m exhausted and I really need a break, with, I want to encourage her passion and interest in entrepreurism tempered with the harsh business reality.
I took a deep breath and said “OK” and wondered how to myself was I going to have the energy and brain capacity to steer us through a new business as a down time activity. To begin with I asked her what type of fashion she’d like to sell and she said fashion for everyone. Glad we’re only looking to take on the world in one hit! I said we’re going to have to focus on just one group and one product to begin with and then grow bigger or we won’t have the time, money, resources to build a business. You need to be known to do one thing well rather than try and be everything to everyone from day one.
We then narrowed down our first fashion item to an ipod/phone bag for girls aged 7-11. We headed off to Spotlight for a pattern and fabric and then spent many hours at home designing and making her first bag (the prototype). This showed her how long it takes to make (a darn long time), what it cost (more than a plastic phone cover from China) and gives her a prototype to get feedback from her friends. Not known for moving slowly, as soon as we finished making her bag she wanted to put her design name on the inside tag and set-up a website to start selling…
I stopped her there and asked whether she’d checked whether the business name she wanted to use was available. Hmmm, no. So I did what every person wanting to start a business should do and did four web searches with her to check availability of her business name.
After finding her preferred design name taken she’s thinking of a new one…
Next month read Childpreneur – Part 2