Teach You Kids to Be Entrepreneurs – Make Soap
One of my goals as a Grandmother is to help my kids teach their kids about personal finance. I’m hoping they will learn to be entrepreneurs as well as learn to be savers, investors and sound money managers.
As part of that goal, I hold what I call ‘Grandma Rie’s Money Camp’ each summer. During camp I always provide opportunities for the Grandkids to earn money – by tackling jobs I hire them to do or by having a ‘business’ for a day or two. One year, their business was a car wash, another year they had a lemonade type stand.
This year I am going to try to get them to make a product and it will be melt and pour soap.
Here is how I will teach them about running a business which makes a product.
Explore service businesses vs. product based businesses.
We’ll use their past ‘businesses’ as a base – showing how the car wash only sold our time and the lemonade stand sold a product, but not one that we made. We’ll pull in examples from their Mom and Dad’s experience (hospital and web marketing company) and talk about products they use (like the Dsi or the My Little Pony) and how companies made those products.
Show them online sites that sell soap and read the marketing descriptions to them.
We’ll look at places like Ebay and Etsy to see how the soaps are packaging (and to point out the importance of packaging attractively). As we poke around, we will take note of how the seller describes their soap product so we can copy the ideas we like.
Show them the ingredients and let them know the cost of those supplies.
I’ve gotten the melt and pour goats milk soap base, the molds and the honey/almond scent to put in. I’ve already blended the quick oatmeal to the proper consistency and experimented with using Crayola’s for coloring. As I show each one and pass it around for them to look at, I’ll just let them know the cost and have one of them write down the ingredient along with the cost on our ‘books’. This will help them calculate profit after trying to sell the soap product.
Show them a sample of what the finished product could look, smell and feel like.
Of course, I tried this at home before even considering letting kids make it. I think they will be impressed (and maybe a bit intimidated) when they see how nice the final product looks!
Demonstrate how to make the soap.
Melt and pour soap base is incredibly easy to work – just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, stir in your ingredients and pour it into the mold.
Let them make the soap.
They will get to mix the ingredients into the melted soap and pour it into the mold. We will let it set up for a few minutes and then pop it into the freezer to harden. This makes it easier to get out of the mold.
Demonstrate how to make the packaging.
To keep costs down, I rummaged around to learn how to make paper gift boxes. These soaps will be marketed as a souvenir of the lake and tourist area and also be billed as very good gifts to give others.
Packaging is important when you are marketing the item as such.
I already had a lot of very heavy stationary 81/2 by 11 paper which I bought years ago to print resumes. We will use this to make square boxes about 2 inches across. Our marketing message will be printed in a pretty font and placed inside the box. Here is a You tube video on how to make these, it is really easy and I think even the 5 year old will do fine with it.
Once the base and lid are made, we will put a little sphagnum moss in the bottom, lay the shell shaped soaps on top, put a really small banner sideways across the soap that says something like Souvenir of xxx lake, fold the marketing message and insert it in the corner and then wrap some twine around the sides of the box. Very pretty yet simple.
Let them make the packaging.
Now it will be their turn! This will probably take awhile – and adults may have to help with the final step but I think they will be impressed with them selves when they get the boxes made!
Come up with the marketing message together with them.
Together we will discuss the features and benefits to a customer of having or using or giving the soap and I will take notes as we do that. I will then draft up a couple of versions of a message and let them choose.
Document the processes.
As we do all of the above, we will be taking pictures of the kids and of the product in various stages of manufacture. That way, if we decide to sell the soaps online we will already have some of the work done. Besides, Mom and Dad will want to see too!
Coach them in a sales pitch.
I will demonstrate the process of walking up to a door, knocking, showing the product, sharing it’s customer benefits and telling the customer why we are selling door to door.
Let them practice the sales pitch.
Then they each get to practice several times.
Walk with them as they go door to door to try to sell their product.
I intend to try to line up some willing adults to buy the soaps before the kids venture out, so we get at least one or two sales!
If they have another lemonade stand as well, I will show them how to attractively display the soaps as an add on product.
Assuming we do sell some of the soaps, when we get back we will tally up the money! Then I will talk with them about gross sales revenue, expenses and let them figure out profit. We will ignore taxes and our time spent in figuring out any profit. They will get to keep all of the gross sales revenue, I will eat the expense cost as the ‘angel investor’ (this year).
If we don’t sell all of the soaps, we can decide whether to try to sell them later online or whether the kids want to use them as gifts to give to others.
The soap product project was a huge hit with the two 9 year olds and the almost 6 year old. They caught on quickly and were able to do every step of the work after being shown just once (2-3 times for the 5 year old). Since it was rainy at the lake, this project saved the day. They sold their colorful, almond scented soaps for two dollars each.
How are you teaching your children or grand-children to be entrepreneurs?