Archive for Saturday, June 19, 2010

Junior startups: Child entrepreneurs find new ways to raise cash

Sisters Ada Hyde, 6, left, and Iris Hyde, 9, collaborate each weekend as “business” partners operating a stand on the sidewalk in front of their home in the Cordley neighborhood. Plenty of items are up for sale, including original artwork by the girls, handbags made from duct tape, vegetables and herbs from the family garden.

Sisters Ada Hyde, 6, left, and Iris Hyde, 9, collaborate each weekend as “business” partners operating a stand on the sidewalk in front of their home in the Cordley neighborhood. Plenty of items are up for sale, including original artwork by the girls, handbags made from duct tape, vegetables and herbs from the family garden.

June 19, 2010


It’s summer. And for enterprising local kids, that means it’s time to make money.

On the street

Did you have a business when you were a kid?

I sold marshmallow shooters at my mom’s craft show sometimes.

More responses

Iris and Ada Hyde of Lawrence, 9 and 6, respectively, have been holding their own ongoing summer sidewalk sale — selling everything from jewelry to produce to folk art created from their home’s landscaping — since their family moved into their Cordley neighborhood five years ago.

“We’ll have them once or twice a week, but we can only have them in the summer because we have school,” Iris says.

“They’ve been selling stuff since earlier than they should have been, really,” admits Matt Hyde, the girls’ father and general manager of 715 restaurant. “They’re basically like blond-haired, blue-eyed gypsies. I think it’s because Ann (his wife) works in sales and I work in sales. Plus, we always go to the farmers’ market and all the fun little shops in this town. It only makes sense.”

On a recent sale day, the entrepreneurs’ makeshift stand (complete with a toy cash register and scanner) proffered handmade bracelets, paintings, garden lettuce and “nature dolls.”

“They’re made out of hostas, sticks, crab apples, zebra grass and a little bit of pine tree,” Ada explains. “Mom doesn’t mind as long as we don’t use too many hosta leaves.”

“The truth is, they both know dismantling hostas right now is against the law in the garden,” Ann says, laughing. “But nothing seems to be off-limits. They’re huge on taking stuff out of the recycling and making masterpieces on the sidewalk to sell.”

Not that the Hyde girls are averse to trying more traditional front yard fare.

“One time, me and my friends had a lemonade stand,” Iris says. “We went to people’s houses and asked them if they wanted any lemonade. They’d tell us what kind they wanted and we delivered them on a tray we got from my friend, Margaret. We made 24 dollars, and we all split it.”

On the west side of town, Chaska Rocha spends his summer days toiling in his thriving lawn mowing business.

“My dad suggested I mow yards to make money,” Rocha says. “I started mowing his yard, then my neighbors started asking if I’d do theirs, too. Even my landlord pays me to mow (the yards of) her empty houses.”

Rocha currently mows six yards per week and receives $10 to 20 per yard for his labor. Not bad for a 13-year-old.

“I’m saving it, but I don’t know what I want to buy,” he admits. “But, I was definitely motivated by the money.”

Ashley Dunn, 13, Lawrence, says summer baby-sitting money supplements her weekly allowance.

“I get 13 dollars because I’m 13,” Ashley explains. “I take it to the credit union and deposit it, and it earns interest and whatnot.”

Dunn says the allowance and money she earns from baby-sitting is hers to spend at will. Sort of.

“My parents have some boundaries,” she adds. “They say they don’t want me spending it on worthless stuff.”

Does this enterprising spirit portend entrepreneurial futures? Not necessarily.

“I want to be a singer,” Iris claims.

Ada says, “And I want to be a lifeguard.”

Which is probably for the best, in the Hydes’ case. Their quiet block doesn’t exactly see a lot of customer traffic.

“Sales are slow,” Matt chuckles. “I think it’s the economy. People are being a little more conservative with their money. Every once in a while, you’ll get someone with a special occasion who might splurge on a nature doll, but the economy’s tough.”


KansasTito 8 years ago

I find it Wonderful that these Girls are doing something Creative. I find it dillicult to understand where the City Draws a Line on Permitting a Small Entreprunerial Business such as this going door to door and Selling handbags, etc I know Im gonna catch Flack about this, but I am a Small Business Owner and I am required to pay Lawrence City Revenue office a percentage of my Sales, ( ie; taxes). I think it would be wonderful if the Parents would take this opportunity to really take these Chilldren down to the Tax revenue office and educate them on how small business really is required by law to operate. Many communitis in this Country require a Small Business Tax Permit and require ANY business to report Sales. Congrats Girls on a Great Start up, now lets see the Parents step in and Show you what its really all about... Looks Like we have sidewalk Street Peddlers always Popping up in Douglas County and all around the World. Where is Code Compliance in the event of Entrepreunuerality

platypus 8 years ago

That's right KansasTito, you tell them. Let's suck the childhood right out of these kids. They have enough to deal with in this world....let's complicate their fun times with permits and taxes. Give it a rest and LET THEM BE KIDS!

George_Braziller 8 years ago

My sister and I never had a lemonade stand. Not too much sidewalk traffic in a town of 600 in the late '60s. To supplement our allowance of 25 cents a week we'd pull our wagon all over town searching for pop bottles to turn in at the grocery store for the deposit. I think we got three cents a bottle. Once you found five bottles you had enough to buy a box of Cracker Jack, an ice cream bar, or 30 pieces of Double Bubble bubble gum.

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

Oh wow! I remember when Cracker Jacks were 15c a box. And they had REAL prizes.

George_Braziller 7 years, 12 months ago

I still have one of the prizes. A flat red and white two note whistle. It even has a little ring on the end so you can run a string through it and hang it around your neck.

George_Braziller 7 years, 12 months ago

Yep. Screen door, wooden floors, and little imps with bare feet going back and forth between the ice cream bars and the candy shelf trying to decided how to spend the day's hard earned wealth!

The grocery store in my hometown is still open and still has the wooden floors. The layout has changed slightly and the glass topped freezers for the ice cream have been replaced by upright freezers but it's still basically the same as when I was a kid.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years, 12 months ago

Altho I thought it cruel and inhuman at the time, my grandmother charged me for the supples to make the lemonade! I argued that it had been just sitting on her shelf, but she countered that it was for residential use-not commercial. So after losing the argument, but learning the lesson, I cut out the middle-man and bought direct from the store. And made .01 more on koolaid before branching out on Jolly Ranchers n such. I love that she treated me with respect enough to teach me that instead of placate or condescend.

Mike Hatch 7 years, 12 months ago

I'd drive my bike around the rural blacktop roads by our place out by Lone Star lake, looking for cans. Sometimes would be lucky and find a returnable glass Coke bottle. You could tell the old tin cans from the aluminum ones by the wide silver stripe along the side. At Kroger and Dillons, you could go up to any open check-out lane and cash out your cans. This was when they still had the big scales to weigh produce at the checkout lane. Just heave up your bags of cans, they'd weigh them and pay you out of the cash register and then someone would cart them away in a shopping cart.

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