How to Sell Product as a Kid Entrepreneur: online or in a store?

The question of WHERE and HOW to sell product is one that can get a lot of kid entrepreneurs totally stuck. The right answer to this question will depend on several factors, and you very well might not get it right on the first try! 

 

That’s ok. Treat every misstep as a learning experience and move forward with a different approach. For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume that you are pretty new to the process, and likely trying to decide on a place to sell your product for the first time. With that in mind, let’s dive in!

There are two main options when thinking about WHERE to sell your product. We call these options BRICK & MORTAR and ONLINE. 

1. Brick & Mortar means any business that has a physical presence. We call it Brick & Mortar because of the materials that you would use to build a store - that’s a good way to remember it! 

 

That said, there is no need for an entrepreneur to get out your pile of bricks and start building a store. In fact, your first Brick &  Mortar location doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Maybe you’ve run a lemonade stand on your driveway - that counts! Launching your business from the comfort of your driveway is a fine way to start. Here are a few other Brick & Mortar options that have worked well for our kid entrepreneurs:

  • Neighborhood festival: inquire about prices to rent a booth or set up a table.

  • School event: make a great pitch to your teacher or principal!

  • Local park: check on the rules to see whether you might be allowed to sell next to the busy playground

  • Youth sports event: offer to make a donation to the sports league out of the profit that you earn.

  • Place of worship: would your product sell well in this place? Places of workship can be a great place to find a relatively friendly crowd.

  • Local retail stores & boutiques: asking a local business owner to let you set up a stand inside, or in front of, their store is a much easier endeavor than trying to receive permission from a large company. The owner may even be willing to feature your product *in* their store if you do a great job.

​ ​2. Online sales have skyrocketed over the past five years or so, and for good reason. What’s more convenient than buying things from the comfort of your own couch (probably while wearing pajamas)? 

 

When kid entrepreneurs think of online sales typically their ideas go straight to building a fancy website or selling their product on Amazon. Neither of these ideas are bad, but both will probably require a lot more work than you think. It’s hard to drive traffic to your own website in order to get people to buy, especially if you don’t have a big marketing budget to spread the word. Sites like Amazon have a lot of rules, and will take a fairly large cut of your sale. So, as a first step we recommend testing the waters of online sales using a more personal approach. Here are a few ideas:

  • Social media sales: Many startup businesses these days make all of their sales purely by using an Instagram or Facebook account. They post photos of different products, take orders via comments or messages, and then collect cash via Venmo or PayPal before mailing the product out. Too young to have your own social media account? We get it! See whether a parent would be willing to partner with you on this, either by posting photos to their own account or by co-owning a business account with you. 

  • Email sales: Don’t underestimate the power of a blast email telling all of your family, friends, classmates, teachers, teammates, etc. about

 

How to Sell Product as a Kid Entrepreneur: online or in a store?

As you think about how to sell your product, remember that everyone needs to start somewhere. Although we would all love to be featured on prime shelf space at Target, that is a huge undertaking generally requiring months (if not years) of pitches and preparation. Start small but do big things! I think you’ll find that more and more doors will open along the way.

 

Still stuck and wondering where your product would best sell? Check out our LAUNCH programs for more coaching and assistance to find that perfect spot to sell. ​

 

Meet the Author:

Monica Lage is the Executive Director & Co-founder of Break Into Business. Monica holds a Commerce degree from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School. Monica spent several years helping Fortune 500 companies solve their most pressing problems as a Management Consultant with The Boston Consulting Group. Throughout her journey she has sought out opportunities to share her love of business with young people, eventually pursuing Break Into Business full-time in 2014. Since then she has seen hundreds of young people flourish as entrepreneurs, all while raising her own three mini-entrepreneurs in Atlanta, Georgia.

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