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.

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

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.”

Comments

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 11 years, 11 months ago

Next week in breaking L.com news: the weather is hot, children like to swim at the pool, and bunnies are SO EFFING CUTE. That last one is just for the EDGE FACTOR, dontcha know. This is, after all, the HIP and HAPPENING news outlet for the city of Lawrence.

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