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Entrepreneurship starts at young age at Watchung School

Posted in: Young Entrepreneurs

Young student and mother at event
Emily Longlade and her mother, Eve, watch as a customer smells one of Emily's sachets.

Entrepreneurship can begin at any age.

For fourth-grader Tylan Ozkuzey, his nose led him to start his business, Odor-Ex, a sachet of sweet-smelling goodness to put in your sneakers or gym bag. On March 24, Tylan was selling Odor-Ex at the TREP$ marketplace held at Watchung School.

“I don’t like bad odors. I looked online for something to make shoes smell better,” said Tylan, 10, who was experiencing brisk sales of Odor-Ex. Tylan got an idea from the Internet, and then improved it and created a catchy name.

Tylan was one of 30 students who participated in TREP$, an 8-week after-school program led by third-grade teacher Christina Sparacino and fifth-grade teacher Richard Burrell. It was Principal Anthony Grosso’s idea to bring the national program to Watchung School.

“It is teaching young children how to start their own business, be creative, learn about money and advertising and creating a logo, and working together as a team,” said Sparacino. “They are definitely young entrepreneurs.”

The slots for the 30 students to participate in TREP$ filled immediately, according to Sparacino, and the students worked on weekly team challenges as part of the program. But the culmination of TREP$ at Watchung School was the marketplace, where each student had a table to hawk their products. Ten percent of the earnings from the TREP$ marketplace will be donated to charity, Sparacino said.

Ten-year-old twins Lily and Simon Miklaszewski had tables next to each other, with Simon hawking one-of-a-kind T-shirts and Lily selling custom-covered books.

“I like recreating things,” said Lily, a fourth-grader. “Sometimes they’re a little plain, and I like adding things because then it looks better.”

The manufacturing side seemed to be the down side for most students. Asked what part of the business he likes best, Tylan said, “Selling them because it’s not as hard as making them.”

When Alex de los Reyes Lima, 9, was asked what the hardest part of his homemade soap business is, he said, “Definitely making the products. Definitely!” Alex, a fourth-grader, said it takes a full day for the soaps to dry. But Alex also said being an entrepreneur is “fun.”

Emily Longlade, 10, was selling a different type of sachets. Her father, Mark, is in textiles, and that has been a help for her sachet making. Emily said it takes 30 minutes to make each one.

“It’s really fun,” the fourth-grader said. “It’s cool seeing people wanting to buy what you actually made.”

These young entrepreneurs definitely have a nose for business at a young age.