How To Teach Entrepreneurship to Children (Age 6-7) - NariShakti How To Teach Entrepreneurship to Children (Age 6-7) | NariShakti Humane ClubMade with Humane Club
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How To Teach Entrepreneurship to Children (Age 6-7)

Co-authored with Ritvvij Parrikh.

A year ago, Sabi initiated a venture by setting up a stall on Sundays at the local park to sell handmade bookmarks. She earned around ₹500 per week, and dedicated half of her earnings to her Seido Karate guru dakshina (offering). Here’s a look into the progress she has made from October 4, 2022, to October 4, 2023.


Yearly Summary

Last year, she achieved ₹24,480 in sales by introducing 8 new products, 3 of which successfully reached the market. She used ₹14,000 of her earnings to pay for Karate fees. Notably, she was consistent, running her stall on about 60% of the Sundays.

Fee payment page in journal

On New Year’s morning, Sabi set up shop, trying something new: She put a banner on a tree to attract attention.

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In addition to our regular business activities, our primary focus was:

  • Sell more bookmarks
  • Increase the price of bookmarks
  • Discover at least one new, higher value product

Let’s discuss each one.


Can She Sell More?

Bulk sales to bookshop

Sabi pitched to a local bookstore she often visited. She gave her best, but couldn’t connect with the owner, so she moved on.

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Merchandise for events

Humane Club once worked with the Canadian Consulate in Chandigarh and partnered with Global Shapers Gurugram to show female students in government schools diverse career paths.

We contracted Sabi to make 160 Snug Monster bookmarks for the students. It was a large order with a tight deadline, so she had to plan and ship carefully.

This contract came from her mother’s company, and Sabi learned about handling large orders from it. However, she did not have the resources to sell her bookmarks in bulk. 

Chandigarh – Govt Girls Sr. Secondary School (21st Jan 2023)
Gurugram – The Vidya School (27th Jan 2023)
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Can She Raise the Price?

We adopted a couple of strategies:

  • First, Sabi discontinued the ₹1 white bookmark. This left customers with two options: the ₹5 yellow bookmark and the ₹10 pink bookmark.
  • A little while later, we tested charging ₹10 for the yellow bookmark. We found that color didn’t matter much to buyers, so we made the sole price ₹10. This change increased earnings without requiring extra effort.

These modifications increased her earnings without increasing her workload.

bookMark II 👍

Sabi experimented with new bookmark designs, hoping her loyal customers would repurchase. She also believed she could charge a higher price for them.

Old designs
New designs

And guess what? People paid ₹20 for these fresh looks. Old customers returned, and new customers bought multiple bookmarks.

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Can She Discover One New Product?

For months, we considered different items Sabi could add to her range. We had many ideas, such as selling vegetables, pottery, and handmade masks, but they were all difficult to produce in large quantities.

Sell masks?

We often go to Carnatic Cafe, where they serve ice cream in coconut shells. Sabi started collecting the shells and tried to turn them into “Monkey Masks” wall hangings. However, it was difficult to collect enough shells, as she couldn’t simply buy ice cream for the shells alone. Additionally, carving each mask took 6-8 hours. As a result, the masks were not very practical.

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Sell toy to scare mother?

Sabi used her creativity to transform a toilet paper roll into a playful tool to surprise her mom. She attached a balloon to one end, put a lid on it, and filled it with colorful paper pieces. When she snuck up and pulled the balloon, it made a loud sound and showered confetti-like paper.

Sabi considered collecting more rolls from her neighbors, but decided against it for cleanliness reasons.

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Sell pottery?

Sabi thought she had a talent for pottery. When thinking of new products for Snug Monsters, she considered selling pottery pieces. So, we took her to Tugbug Studio in Delhi to try it out. She spent an hour there and made two small pots. Tugbug charges six hundred rupees for the hour. She enjoyed it, but realized that making pots took way longer than making bookmarks.

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Sell vegetables?

In 2018, we started growing micro-greens to teach Sabi patience and care. Through 2019 and 2020, this hobby grew, becoming a favorite for cousin visits.

Inspired by this green streak, Sabi envisioned expanding her project, Snug Monsters, to become a veggie seller. So, from late 2022 to mid-2023, she experimented with tomatoes, onions, and potatoes.

Unfortunately, our balcony was too small to produce a business-worthy quantity of vegetables. Despite this setback, we all enjoyed fresh salads straight from the garden.

Want to try growing micro-greens? Here’s what you’ll need: Mini Garden Toolset, Cocopeat, Microgreen Seeds, Potting Soil, Plastic Crate


Harvest 1: February 1-20, 2023

Harvest 2: March 31, 2023

Harvest 3: April 2, 2023

Harvest 4: May 25, 2023

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Sell books?

Sabi considered selling books to teach children her age about Indic religions. We helped her create a polished edition over a month in a scrapbook. She was pleased, but saw the challenge of hand-making many books. So, she shelved the plan.

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How About Tea?

Inspiration

We have always loved tea at home. Sabi has watched us collect and appreciate all kinds of tea—white, green, herbal, matcha, and pu-erh. Even though she is too young for regular tea, Sabi has shown a keen interest. Therefore, we promised to buy her some caffeine-free basil tea so she could brew it and join us for tea time.

One fine day while we were shopping for our weekly groceries, we stumbled upon a significant discount on basil leaves. Our grocery supplier was offering 50 grams of fresh basil leaves for ₹3, while the typical price ranges from ₹10 to ₹20. This scenario presented an enticing opportunity—what if we purchased basil leaves in bulk, dried them, and transitioned to mass-producing basil tea?

Unsure of the final product and its unit economics, we decided to invest ₹93 to buy 1.5 kilograms of basil leaves. Our grocery contact rang us up to confirm whether we indeed wished to purchase 31 boxes of basil leaves. We confirmed our order, and two days later, the leaves were duly delivered to our doorstep.

Feasibility

We spent a whole day cleaning 1.5 kilos of fresh basil leaves, removing the stems. Then, we quickly steamed them in an electric cooker to preserve their green color, flavor, and antioxidants. Finally, we dried them out, and in about three days, we had around 150 grams of dried tulsi tea leaves.

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We asked Sabi to make us some of her dried Tulsi Tea so we could taste it. The tea had a great aroma, but its flavor was light. Best of all, it was caffeine-free, so it was perfect for kids. For our next try, we boiled the Tulsi Tea. Adding honey made it taste really strong and rich.

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We saw it as a potential addition to Snug Monster, so we decided to give it a try.

Viability

We bought basil for ₹1000 and spent the next few days cleaning, de-stemming, steaming, and drying the leaves. Our house smelled like basil, and it was a race against time to keep the leaves fresh.

Next, we had to find airtight boxes. They cost Sabi ₹35 each.

Finally, we showed Sabi how to pack the dried leaves using a weighing scale. She ended up with 33 tea boxes. 

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Packaging

  • To convince existing customers to purchase a new product, we decided to mimic the pricing of comparable premium Basil Tea on Amazon, which ranged from ₹150 to ₹200 for 50 grams.
  • We also wanted to establish a connection to Sabi’s other products, so we placed her image in the center of the packaging.
  • On the right, we focused on the product’s natural quality, and on the left, we highlighted its benefits and features, branding it as an Immunity Booster and emphasizing its properties: Whole Leaf, Caffeine-Free, Handmade, and Homemade.

Desirability

Sabi, curious to see if people would buy her Tulsi Tea, set up shop one Saturday morning. She sold three tea boxes, along with her usual bookmarks

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Sometimes business was slow. One time, for 20 minutes, Sabi noticed that fewer people were visiting her stall. She learned from these experiences.

If I am not energetic and happy, customers lose interest and stop listening. They want to experience buying from a child. They appreciate the effort and support me. Good product packaging attracts people. For example, earlier boxes had different shades, which confused people about whether the tea was with milk or water. Therefore, highlighting on the packaging that it is tea, not chai, is important and helped Sabi sell more.

Based on these insights, we changed the packaging.

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Customer Reviews


Kicked out 🤯

Sabi was at her usual spot, excited to make some sales of her new ₹200 Tulsi Tea. Imagine her shock when the guards asked her to leave.

They explained that they had been watching her for over a year, and that selling low-priced bookmarks was okay. But hawking wasn’t allowed in the park, and now that she was selling a more expensive product, she was considered a street hawker.

Sabi was confused and upset. Some of her regular customers tried to help, speaking up for her. But the park staff didn’t budge. They pointed to the street, where the other sellers were, and said that’s where she should go.

Sabi was on the verge of tears. What could she do? She chose to sip some of her own calming Tulsi Tea. Sometimes, a little comfort can go a long way.

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For the next month, we tried several other parks, but either the footfall was significantly lower or the visitors were not her target audience.

Yes! I am a street hawker.

We returned to our usual park and set up shop in the parking area near to the coconut vendor. Sabi embraced her title as a “street hawker.”

Sabi hadn’t been there in a while, but within minutes of opening, an old man recognized her: “Hey, you’re the Snug Monster girl! My friend bought bookmarks and tea from you. I’ve been on the lookout. Got any left?”

That day, she saw more visitors than usual, many of whom were eager to buy after their workouts. As a result, all of her Basil Tea Boxes were sold out.

After covering costs, Sabi pocketed around ₹2700.

Despite the change, she handled it all smoothly.

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Showing up consistently

When travel restrictions were imposed on Delhi due to the G20 summit, fewer people visited the park. Nevertheless, Sabi continued to show up and keep her shop running. 

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We rushed out and almost forgot the disposable cups. Sabi remembered just in time, since many people like to try the Snug Monster Tea before buying. As a result, we arrived late. After setting up the stall, we found that fewer people were around. That day, our sales totaled ₹720.

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Sell collectibles? 👍

Inspiration

In our home, every ISRO launch is a major event. We huddle around YouTube to watch, and our excitement is palpable. On August 23, 2023, India landed on the moon, and we could see Sabi’s excitement soar. She wanted to create something about ISRO to share her joy.

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Feasibility

Inspired by India’s landing on the moon, we helped Sabi build six 3D models: PSLV, GSLV, Chandrayaan 1, Chandrayaan 2, Mangalyaan 1, and Rohini 75. She will test them this weekend.

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Desirability

Sabi had a busy morning chatting with customers. She ran out of Basil Tea boxes, bringing in ₹620.

That day at the shop was a bit different. In addition to her usual bookmarks and Basil Tea, Sabi displayed some products she was still developing, hoping to get feedback.

She had been crafting 6 ISRO rocket and satellite models for a while and planned to introduce them the following weekend. From her conversations with customers, Sabi learned that people wanted more information about the rockets. For example, one man asked about the full name of the PSLV rocket. They discussed that PSLV stands for POLAR SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLE and what the word “polar” means.

So, Sabi thought it might be a good idea to include some information cards and videos alongside the 3D models. The park where the shop is located often gets visits from government officials, and many of them showed interest in the rocket models that day.

All this feedback got Sabi thinking about ways to improve her display for the next weekend.

Oh, and she was also preparing a new batch of Basil Tea leaves. Hopefully, they would be ready for the next weekend’s rush

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From ‘In Stock’ to ‘Sold Out’

A few months back, when the ₹200 Tulsi Tea was introduced, it surprisingly boosted sales of the ₹20 bookmarks.

  • Customers were more likely to buy the ₹20 bookmark from a child, and
  • Many chose to purchase more than one.

This suggests that launching pricier items can boost sales of more affordable ones.

When the Snug Monsters Specials rolled out, attention turned to the six ISRO 3D models, which were priced at roughly 2.5 times the cost of the Tulsi Tea, Sabi’s previous top-priced item. With prices ranging from ₹50 for the Rohini-75 model to ₹1000 for the GSLV model, this hinted at an intriguing pricing dynamic.

Just as bookmark sales spiked with the arrival of the Tulsi Tea, Tulsi Tea sales surged when the ISRO rockets came in, with eight ₹200 Tulsi Tea boxes sold.

Additionally, two ISRO models — Rohini-75 and Chandrayaan-1 — found buyers.

On that same day, two new strategies were tested:

  • A special offer was introduced: spend ₹60 or more and get a free ₹15 muffin. This seemed to work, encouraging people to spend a bit more for an added perk.
  • The Tulsi Tea received a packaging update, keeping its story appeal while highlighting the product more effectively.

Sales reached ₹2450 by the end of the day. By the close of the business year, spanning from October 2022 to September 2023, total revenue was ₹21,080.


But beyond the numbers, what stood out were the engaging chats with the patrons.

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Last shop of this year

All the ISRO models were sold. On the final day of the year, sales reached ₹3420, bringing the annual revenue to ₹24,480.

Empty table. All ISRO products sold.
ISRO products marked as sold out. http://narishakti.in/sabi/snug-monsters
76% of todays payment was digital.

But the real highlight was the genuine chats with the patrons.

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Our Gratitude 🙏

Thank you to all who have supported Sabi’s venture.

Apply skills

Through Snug Monsters, Sabi has applied the valuable skills she learns in school:

  • Hindi: Although not our first language, Sabi recognized the importance of Hindi when conversing with certain customers, especially the elderly.
  • Math and Money Management: With every sale, Sabi practices addition, multiplication, and subtraction. Most customers kindly give her the time she needs to finish her math. This real-world practice has given her a hands-on understanding of money management and basic financial transactions.

Negotiation

A man approached Dhara and asked her permission to teach Sabi about negotiation. After a brief walk, he returned to bargain with Sabi. Although Sabi’s Snug Monster Bookmark was priced at ₹10, the man insisted that it was worth only ₹8. After some haggling, Sabi eventually relented and sold the bookmark for ₹8.

Dear Future Sabi, know the value of your work and time. Stand your ground. If a price doesn’t sit right with you, it’s okay to say no. Most times, the stakes will be more than ₹2. Whether someone is persuasive or pushy, stay firm. Know your worth.

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Experiencing Jealousy

There was a 15-minute span when no one visited Sabi’s stall, and then this happened… 😅

This guy!

Dear Future Sabi, when you stumble upon this again, remember: you are playing your own game. Comparing yourself to others is pointless. Don’t fixate on their successes or failures.

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Upselling

We partnered with Pinal Patel, a professional baker and fellow woman entrepreneur, to whip up some mini chocolate muffins. Using these, we introduced an offer to see how customers would react.

The offer: buy items worth more than ₹50 and get a free muffin valued at ₹15.

Here’s what happened:

  • Some customers picked a ₹20 bookmark, thinking they would get a muffin. When they found out the offer only applied to orders over ₹60, they bought two more bookmarks.
  • Other customers wanted just a muffin, but since we weren’t selling them solo, they bought three bookmarks to qualify.
  • A handful, watching their diet, passed on the free muffin even though they spent over ₹60.

At day’s end, Sabi shared the leftover muffins with park workers like the gardeners and security.

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Hopefully, Snug Monsters will continue for another year.


Who else is encouraging this?