Children Embrace Their Entrepreneurial Spirit at Biz Kidz Market Day at the Fishers Farmers Market

Writer  /  Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography provided by the City of Fishers

Equally obsessed with both cats and journalism as a kid, when I was 10 years old, I penned a periodical called Christy’s Cuddly Cats Magazine wherein I researched, wrote, and edited all of the articles. I then proceeded to go door-to-door, marketing my baby and selling each individually-typed manuscript to neighbors for 50 cents apiece, ultimately netting a whopping $8.50 for my 40 hours of labor. The endeavor may not have been a monetary landslide, but it did stoke my desire to pursue a career as a professional writer. The same thing may very well happen for local kiddos who sign up to participate in the 3rd Annual Biz Kidz Market Day to be held July 20 from 8 a.m. until noon at the Fishers Farmers Market.

“It’s crazy popular,” says Annabeth Stem, the Market Manager. During its inaugural year, just 15 kids participated. Last year, however, that number more than doubled. They estimate 40 registrants again this year and plan for the market to stretch clear down to City Hall.

“It’s almost becoming an event within an event,” says Stem, who is always astounded by the level of creativity that children bring to their tables. “Everything from the way they decorate their booths to how they display their merchandise is so impressive. It’s not a card table with a bunch of stuff thrown on it. These kids go all out!”

All merchandise, which consists of arts, crafts, and home décor, is handmade, hand-grown or hand-crafted—for instance, jewelry, greeting cards, hair accessories, baked goods, photography, body soaps & scrubs. The goal is to give children in kindergarten through high school a chance to learn what it’s like to be an entrepreneur for a day. In doing so, they get practice on how to develop, market, and sell a product, not to mention engage in customer service.

“Kids have to think, ‘What is something I can make that people would be interested in buying?’ And then, ‘How should I display it and talk about it to entice customers?’” says Stem. Pricing items can be another challenge.

“They learn that they need to price it high enough to make money back to ideally cover their costs but not too high that people won’t buy it,” say Stem. Speaking of expenses, though there was talk of waiving a booth fee, staff ultimately decided that it was a part of learning about expenditures so they charged a nominal fee.

Parents of the really young entrepreneurs assist a bit. For instance, last year 4-year-old Chef Henry enlisted his mother’s help in creating spice combinations. Most participants in Biz Kidz Market Day, however, fly solo. (The average aged Biz Kid is between 8 and 12.)

“Parents mostly help with the logistics of hauling tents and tables around,” says Stem. “But you can tell kids do most everything when it comes to business storefront, signage, price tags, and displays.”

Both of Stem’s daughters participated last year.

“My oldest was just on it! She stood at the table, greeted everyone who came by, and sold all of her stuff,” says Stem. “My younger one, on the other hand, sat in a chair and kind of waited. She went home with a bunch of stuff, so it was a good little lesson in customer service!”

Lilly Valentine, 11, who makes Kawaii clay charms by hand, started the business Claymates. Last year she made approximately 40 charms and nearly sold out of all her items. Her mom Maryclare reports that the most popular themed charms were food, sports, animals, and BFF necklaces.

“I loved Biz Kidz day because it’s fun to make things out of clay and see people wearing my creations,” says Lilly. “I learned how to create a small business, and it will be even better this year!”

New to the event this year, the Farmers Market is adding a small stage where children can sign up to entertain the crowd by singing and/or playing a musical instrument. Come check out the Biz Kidz Market Day on July 20! It’ll be a go, rain or shine!

The Fishers Farmers Market is held at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater. For more information, call 317-578-0700 or visit playfishers.com.