Homeschooling presents a rich opportunity for kids to develop in a holistic, well-rounded manner through learning opportunities beyond what institutional schooling might offer. Club Kidpreneur’s CK Challenge program is designed to encourage kids to learn through interactive self-discovery as they build and launch their own micro-enterprises to raise money for a worthy cause of their choice. This is particularly well-suited to a homeschool environment. Here is the Twemlow’s story:
Brothers Ryan and James Twemlow completed the CK Challenge in 2014 as homeschool students based in Berry, NSW. Their mother Jan Twemlow, worked through Club Kidpreneur’s 12-step curriculum with the boys and and supported them as they created their business, “RJ Bros” from scratch.
As it is fully mapped to the Australian curriculum, Jan incorporated the program into the boys daily lessons as she could link the program to various subject areas while also developing broader life skills. The program can be linked to outcomes across English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, and Human and Social Sciences.
Both Ryan and James embraced their entrepreneurial spirit and came up with a unique and profitable business model. The boys donned a suit and tie and visited their local plant nurseries, armed with a self-written letter. They asked if the nurseries had any plants that were damaged or dying and could not be sold, and if the nursery would be willing to donate them. The brothers had great success, receiving enough donated plants to make up a full product line. Jan says “the boys spent weeks watering them and bringing them back to life.” This presented the added dimension of learning agricultural skills within the CK Challenge program too.
RJ Bros decided to diversify their sales strategy by adding alphabet bead key rings to sell as a package deal with the plants they had reared back to good health. Ryan and James explain, “We made key rings with crystals on them and sayings that were clever.”
The program taught Ryan and James how to price their product effectively, so they could earn the most profit – too high and no one wants to buy it, too low and you don’t cover your costs. James says, “We learnt about the business jargon…You need low costs to maximise profits, to charge at a reasonable rate.”
Ryan and James were very thorough while marketing their product. “We prepared a sign for the day and prepared media notes so that mum could advertise on social media for the month leading up to our market day. We had photographs and were in the local paper (see article here). They said, “ Advertising and preparation was important and connecting with people made sales easier.”
The Twemlows acquired a stall space at their local Berry Markets so they could sell their products to the public. This is one of the most valuable parts of the program where kids learn to confidently communicate with strangers, how to handle rejection and to make changes when things aren’t going as planned (pivoting). Ryan and James stated, “Our main tactic of calling out didn’t work. We changed our tactic by approaching people – this worked really well. We learnt that you need to have eye contact and connect with each person by starting up a conversation. We drew them in with our cheapest price then upsold with more expensive products.”
Ryan and James put a lot of effort into building and launching their business, and this hard work paid off. Together they donated $150 in profits to the Irene Gleeson Foundation Uganda – a humanitarian aid organisation established by their grandmother. The boys’ business was inspired by the work of their grandmother. They say, “We chose plants as a symbol, when taken care of they grow and grow just like kids!”