Santa Ana, Calif., Macaroni KID Publisher Annie Young, pictured above, gave the young people in her town a chance to shine recently at her Children's Business Fair.
She invited kids ages 6 to 14 to bring handmade or homemade products to sell at the fair, which was held at the Heritage Museum in Santa Ana.
Annie asked parents to let children be responsible for setup, sales and interacting with customers. That made the day a valuable learning experience for kids.
"Making the stuff is their passion — that wasn't the hard part for them," Annie says. "It was setting up, smiling when someone came up, knowing how to talk to customers — that was the hard part for most of our kids."
To encourage parents to take a hands-off approach, Annie set up a "Parent Zone" at the fair, and, similar to a "Kid Zone" at other fairs, included refreshments, games and even coloring sheets for parents.
"They loved it," she said. "It was busy in the Parent Zone."
In all, there were 32 booths at the fair. Kids paid a $5 entry fee and took part in a contest that judged most original business idea, highest business potential, and best presentation/creativity. Local business sponsors judged the contest. Annie's sister, Macaroni KID Irvine, Calif., publisher Connie Tanaka helped her organize the fair.
Kids sold everything from candles to jewelry to cupcakes to wallets and stickers. One young entrepreneur put her profits toward helping Afghani refugee children.
Annie estimated a few hundred people attended the fair to shop and support the young entrepreneurs.
"Some of them sold out, which was great," she says. "They're already looking forward to the next one."
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