Yesterday, Chiara participated in the TREPs program in her school where fourth and fifth-grade students created their own businesses and sold their products to the general public. The after-school program, which took place over four months, taught them the basics of creating a business plan as well as the importance of financial goals and marketing and advertising. Funny but seeing her handouts made me feel like I was back in business school all over again.
Chiara decided to sell French sweets in her business venture, which is called “Toute Sweet.” The name actually signifies two things. First, tout de suite in French means right away, often used by the French in conversation. Second, toute sweet is a franglais word play that means all things (toute in French) sweet.
Many of the kids who participated created their products from coasters to brownies. We actually used a lot of the products that Richard imports so we were lucky in that sense. Nevertheless, there were lots of baking, sign making, and packaging that took place in our house Saturday night and Sunday morning.
I think Chiara learned a lot from the experience. Despite her introverted nature,she was able to talk to all her customers and explain what the different products are. She did some quick math as she handed out change to various people. Most of all, she realized that with all her profits for the day, she still had to factor in and subtract the costs of her inventory as well as the money she promised she would donate to last year’s typhoon victims in the Philippines.
So like with all things today that build on more traditional ideas, the TREPs program at Chiara’s school builds on the idea of a lemonade stand albeit with a little bit more sophisticated business preparation in advance. Ahh, these kids today….