Early this summer, Rayna and Romi, 8-year old twin girls, and their younger sister, Moselle, age 5, each received a mask chain from a friend to hold their newest wardrobe accessories – masks. The girls’ younger brother, Zander, age 3, wanted one too, so the girls and their mom, Lauren Sable Freiman, turned it into a project. They did some online shopping, ordered supplies, and created their own designs. They began with making a chain for Zander and it took off from there, selling to friends, family and neighbors. These young ladies are savvy – much savvier than their ages suggest.
They created a company, Sunshine Sisters Boutique and, like all good business owners, sought feedback on their designs and products. One product tester, neighbor and friend Darby Steiger, said, “It’s amazing how these girls came up with this idea, ran with it, and stayed committed to it. They’ve been successful in marketing their much-needed product, which is fun and useful for anybody who wears a mask.”
Mask chains created excitement, so the girls expanded their business to include bracelets and bracelet sets for friends to share. Plus, it didn’t take long for them to realize that mask chains can also be used as eye glass holders.
When the Freiman family learned about the Young Entrepreneur Market, a program of the Young Entrepreneur Institute at University School, it was an exciting opportunity to expand their outreach. The Young Entrepreneur Market provides real-world selling opportunities at community events and farmers markets. Participation is free and open to all K-12 students in Northeast Ohio.
“Before a selling event, students attend a workshop to discuss product creation, pricing, customer interaction and pitching, in addition to receiving on-site coaching on the day of their event,” explained Jessica Dragar, program manager for the Young Entrepreneur Market.
The girls chose early October for their first market experience, allowing six weeks to prepare inventory. On the day of the market, the girls, their mom, and their dad, Mark, left the house before dawn to haul merchandise to their booth at Shaker Square. They had meticulously prepared 50 mask chains and 30 bracelets, many customized with messages, such as “BE BRAVE,” “BE CURIOUS,” or “SMILE.” They were responsible for setting up their display, enticing shoppers to browse their offerings, interacting with visitors, and taking payments. At the end of the four hours, the girls were exhausted, but proud of their sales and the positive feedback they received from their customers. Since then, they received a large order from the Young Entrepreneur Institute to be a part of a curated box that will be sold at an upcoming educator conference, and they signed up to attend two more markets this fall.
Rayna and Romi are in second grade at Mandel Jewish Day School, where Moselle attends kindergarten. This ad-hoc lesson in entrepreneurship has allowed them to utilize skills from the classroom – from mathematics and project management to public speaking and perseverance – in a real life, exciting way.
Rayna shared, “I like selling the best! It’s sometimes hard to get people to the booth, but when they come, they are interested in what we have.”
Romi likes setting up displays and watching the market come to life as shoppers arrive. She loves the organizational aspect of the business, and especially enjoys tracking inventory, sales, and the their most popular items.
Moselle likes that mom and dad are there to help, and a highlight of her experience is being rewarded with a donut from a fellow market vendor.
YEM teaches business owners to save, spend, and share their earnings, so 10% of the company’s profits are used to buy flowers for Jewish Nursing Homes in the area. “We knew we could make a lot of people happy and make them smile by giving them flowers,” Romi explained.
When asked to share advice with other young people, all three girls were in agreement. “Just try,” Moselle suggested. “Practice on your parents until you’re comfortable, and practice your set up and tear down.” Strong advice from these future titans of business.
Sunshine Sisters Boutique will be at the Shaker Square Farmers Market on Saturday, November 14, 8 am – noon. Masks are mandatory. They also take custom orders and offer free delivery to Beachwood residents. Bracelets are $3 single, $5 sets. Name chains are $12, wordless chains are $10.
For more information or to place an order, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on YEI, contact Jessica Dragar at 216.831.2200, ext. 7823 or email@example.com.