- Ann-Elise Johnson
- Ivy Resmer making jewelry in her mother's stained glass studio
In August, our 14-year-old daughter, Ivy, told my wife, Ann-Elise, and I that in summer 2023, she wants to spend six weeks at Camp Hochelaga. We're on board with that plan — we've been sending her for four weeks at a time the past few summers — but told her that if she wanted to stay longer, she'd have to pay for those two extra weeks herself.
Ivy embraced the challenge and started strategizing to meet her savings goal of roughly $200 a month. She quickly discovered that many employers are reluctant to hire 14-year-olds — child labor laws put strict limits on the hours they can work. Since she doesn't turn 15 until July, she's had to be more creative.
She's taken babysitting jobs and found pet-sitting and yard-work opportunities via our neighborhood Front Porch Forum, but instead of passively waiting for more work to appear, she started drumming it up on her own. With Ann-Elise's help, she set up an e-commerce site on Etsy under the name LoveArtsy Studio.
Ivy now makes and sells earrings, rings and friendship bracelets. She also offers something she's always had a knack for finding: four-leaf clovers. Before posting them on her site, she did some market research. There are lots of people selling four-leaf clovers on Etsy, so she priced hers at $2 each, a little below what others were charging. So far, they're her best-selling item.
Over the past two months, we've watched Ivy learn firsthand about marketing, customer service and copyright law — she got dinged by Etsy after she put up a listing for earrings adorned with Spotify codes. She's making money, too, and learning to spend judiciously on materials so she can make more.
Her favorite part so far? The thrill of the sale.
Entrepreneurship is trending these days: The number of new business registrations skyrocketed during the pandemic, as Americans have experimented with changing their work situations. Many of them are parents, though there's no hard data on just how many. Kids VT contributor Julie Garwood is one of them. In "Meet the Parent-preneurs," she talks with three fellow Vermont parents in similar circumstances.
We paired that feature with three more parent startup stories — about a basketball coach, a winter apparel designer and a clothing boutique owner. I also interviewed Raya Bronz, an entrepreneurial 11-year-old who's managed to raise more than $10,000 for organizations that fight hunger and homelessness.
Though these Vermonters represent a broad spectrum of ideas and approaches, they're all determined problem solvers who are willing to work hard to achieve their goals.
As winter sets in, we hope reading about them inspires and empowers you to take action in your own life — to embrace the season, try new things and put positive energy out into the world. The stories in this issue demonstrate that there's a lot we can all do to make a difference.
And if, like Ivy, you're already thinking about summer camp, be sure to save the date for our annual Camp and School Fair: February 4, 2023.