At the Santa Clara Children’s Business Fair (www.facebook.com/santaclaracbf) held at Live Oak Park on Oct. 14, over 40 child-run stores were open for business. Without the assistance of their parents, children of all ages sold items with creative marketing strategies.
At the booth for Bee the Key, 10-year-olds Sahil Jain, Krish Nochnani, Ram Batchu and Mikhil Kiran sang a jingle and offered a complimentary bottle of water for each purchase of their homemade 3D printed and polymer clay keychains. Kiran and his father Kiran Ganesh organized the business fair through KidzRule Inc., a non-profit organization they started.
“The Acton Children’s Business Fair (www.childrensbusinessfair.org) is part of a non-profit that sets out guidelines and templates on how to host such a fair,” Ganesh said. “My son is growing up here in Silicon Valley in the heart of entrepreneurship. The focus in school is often about STEM education, which is important. But I also think that getting people out there to hustle, to sell something, is also an important skill.”
A select number of young entrepreneurs received recognition for their work at the end of the afternoon. At the awards ceremony, Kathy Watanabe, Santa Clara Vice Mayor, expressed her enthusiasm for the spirit of the event.
Thanking the sponsors, judges and the City of Santa Clara for their support, Ganesh emphasized that this event was not a competition. Rather, it was an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to reflect on how their product fared in the marketplace.
“If you make money at the end of the day, you’re successful,” Ganesh said. “If you can talk someone into parting with their money, you’re a good salesperson.”
Businesses at the fair included the ecoconscious Spare-a-Tree, which offered crafts made with recycled and upcycled paper. At Nature Kingdom, any purchase of a floral accessory allowed customers to take pictures with a pet rabbit. At SQUISH, sellers peddled slime and squishies in engaging designs, such as donuts and cupcake frosting.
At her booth, Kayla Wally, 10, wore an enchanting fairytale dress she made from her sewing machine. Wally sold her handmade bags, microwavable rice bags, hair scrunchies and cloth napkins.
“I’m learning that running a business is a lot of work,” Wally said. “There’s a lot of planning and testing. Today is a test run for my business, to see how it does. If I sell an item well, I’ll know to continue the item. If something doesn’t do well, then I won’t expand on making as much of that.”
Mia Williams, 9, drew customers to her booth with visual aids and her puppy. On sale was her comic book, “Super Sisters,” which tells a story about twin sisters whose planet gets sucked into a black hole.
“I sold 20 copies of my book at $5 each and made $100 today,” Williams said. “I’m going to save my money for next year to advertise my art. I might make T-shirts with the Super Sisters on them. I might also give some money I made today to Hands of Love (www.handsofloveusa.org).”