Dear Friends,
Did you read the list to the left?  It's all true.  Kids are learning the most important lessons through their experience launching a business. 
We are so proud to share the stories written by this group of young entrepreneurs.  They are all from TREP$ Marketplaces we attended this spring, in New Jersey.  Remember, students can also submit their stories by sending them directly to  We would love to get some stories from 'treps in different areas of the country.
                                    Pamela and Hayley

My name is Jack and I am a 5th grader at Walter T Bergen Middle School. I was very excited when I heard about the chance to join an entrepreneurs club at my school and I knew exactly what kind of product I wanted to make for the TREP$ Marketplace! My dad is a machinist and owns a gear company. Over the summer I love to go to work with him and learn how the machines run. Last summer my dad taught me how to weld and I made my first creation out of some scrap gears I found. I called it a "gearden gnome" because it looked like a little person. I gave it to my mom and she loved it! She put it in her garden and everyone who sees it tells me how cool it is. I knew this would be a great business idea but first I had to ask my dad if he had enough scrap gears at work for me to make more creations! Over the weekends I went to work and gathered up as many old gears as I could find. These were going to be thrown out anyway, so dad didn't mind me using them. I like the idea of reusing old junk to make something useful and new.  


Once I had enough old gears it was pretty easy to see what I could turn them into. The first thing I made was a business card holder.  It didn't last very long though, my grandfather saw it and bought it from me right on the spot! I called my company "Gearden Junk", that name came from the name of my first creation. The name also reminded me of picking through the piles of scrap gears like we pick through the garden. The logo I used was a picture of a piece of metal in a cloud. To me it looked like an idea bubble, and that also reminded me of thinking about what to make.


I made about 20 different creations to sell. The most difficult part was trying to decide how much to price each sculpture. My prices were between $5 and $15, depending on the size and how much welding I had to do to make it. I also put aside the gears I didn't use to sell separately at the market. I thought maybe other kids could take them home and try to make their own gear sculptures.

It was finally the night of the TREP$ marketplace! After I set up my table at school we went home for dinner. When I came back one of my creations had already been sold, and that was even before the market started! Everyone walking around the market stopped at my table and asked me about my sculptures. I told everyone how I made these out of scrap metal I found at my dad's shop. Lots of parents bought a sculpture, even some of my teachers bought one! The most exciting part was when the woman from our local garden nursery came by at the beginning of the market and told me she wanted to sell my creations at her store! She gave me her business card and said that at the end of the night she would come back and buy whatever I had left! But, by the end of the night I had completely sold out! When she came back she asked me if I would be interested in making more so she could sell them! Thanks to the TREP$ organization I have my own real company now! It was awesome to turn something I just made for fun into an actual product.

My name is Victoria and I am in 4th grade at JFK Elementary School. I always wanted to participate in the TREP$ program because I enjoyed going every year to the Marketplace.  The name of my business is Victoria's Groovy Girl Magna Headbandz. I thought it would be cool if people could have interchangeable headbands to match every outfit in their closet. I came up with my idea from the bottle cap necklaces where you mix and match the bottle caps on the necklaces but I did it with headbands.    


My business offered different types of attachments such as feathers, flowers, and mini hats.  I thought it was fun making the feather attachments because I was able to be creative designing them. However, it was hard figuring out how to make the attachments switch and stay. At first I started by putting bottle caps in the center of the flower but it did not work.  Eventually, I came up with a way to make my headbands which was by using washers on the bottom of my attachments and putting strong magnets on the headbands which were covered with some stylish ribbons. I had a little help from my mom and dad. My dad helped with my display and my mom shopped with me and helped me with the hot glue gun.                


My prices were $2.00 for one headband, $2.00 for one attachment, $3.50 for one headband and one attachment and $5.00 for two attachments and one headband.                                                                                  

During the marketplace everyone thought my product was so creative. All the little girls loved them. I sold out and I had to take orders. Luckily, I made order forms if I sold out. My display was great and I had a big eye catching sign. I made an outstanding profit of $107.                          


I loved participating in the TREP$ Marketplace. I learned so much and can't wait to do it next year! Next year I'm going to do headbands again and I am already thinking about new types of attachments. 

My name is Daniel and I am a 14 year old 8th grader from Walter T. Bergen School in Bloomingdale.  I just participated in my 3rd and final TREP$ Marketplace, as I will be graduating in June and heading off to high school.  I started doing TREP$ when I was in 6th grade and had such a good experience doing it that I continued my same business for the next two years too! My business was called "Danivander's Wizard Wands", and I made and sold handcrafted original and movie replica wizard wands.


The idea for my business came from the fact that I am such a HUGE fan of the 'Harry Potter' books and movies.  I started out making wands just for myself.  The first ones I made were done out of rolled paper, which I covered with hot glue and then painted.  They turned out OK, but they were really fragile since they were made only of paper. - So then I experimented by putting a chop stick inside of the paper roll -- that gave the wand some strength and more stability, but they still would get bent or crushed easily.  But then a friend of my family's suggested using Sculpey polymer clay which gets baked and hardens.  So I tried using that clay over a wooden dowel (instead of a chop stick) and that really gave me the strength and stability I'd been looking for!  Until then, the wands I'd been making were just for myself.  But when I found out about TREP$ in 6th grade, I thought it might make a good idea for something to sell that was both original and creative.  And it turned out I was right because I either sold out or came close to selling out of my wands in each of the 3 years I participated!


The most challenging part for me was the amount of prep work it took to create all of the wands I needed each year -- and it was especially hard to come up with all of the original creations I did.  Creating replicas of the movie wands wasn't as difficult because I at least had something to refer to.  But the majority of the wands I made and sold were original creations -- coming up with new designs both for the molding process and in the paint job I gave each was definitely a challenge.

But for me, the most fun part of TREP$ was doing the actual Marketplace itself!  I really enjoyed working my booth, and I especially enjoyed telling people how I made the wands when they came by to look at them!  I think it really impressed people when I explained all that went into the process and when they saw that it was something that I actually crafted myself and not just something I bought and resold.  So many people came up to me this year who had seen my wand shop in previous years and told me they were glad to see me there again - and I definitely had some repeat customers from previous years too, which made me feel very proud.


I think the thing I am most proud of, though, is that I was able to make enough of a profit that I was able to donate a sizeable portion of my proceeds to charities in each of the 3 years I participated in TREP$.  The first year I donated to the American Cancer Society, and both last year and again this year I was able to make a donation to The Seeing Eye, Inc. in Morristown, which is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. So TREP$ really gave me the chance to do something that was fun and that I liked as well as the chance to turn that fun into something that could benefit great charities like the ACS and The Seeing Eye.


My name is Melanie.  I'm in 7th grade at George Washington Middle School in Wayne, NJ. This is the first year our school participated in TREP$. My friends and I decided to go and check it out.

When I went to the first TREP$ meeting I had no idea what I wanted to do for my product. What could I possibly do that people would want to buy?   


After some thought and brainstorming with my family, I remembered the pendant I bought at the craft show on the Boardwalk during the summer. It was made out of clay. The artist told me how she made it. It involved pressing designs from pins she liked into clay and making molds and firing in a kiln. It was a more involved process than I could learn and complete before TREP$ Marketplace. So I thought," what if I just make pendants with the pin pressed image and not make a mold."  I read up on oven-friendly clay and did some samples with different types until I found one that turned out the way I liked.  I went through my mom's and grandma's costume jewelry. I chose designs that would leave a good pattern in the rolled out clay. Then I set out pressing, baking and painting my pendants. I named my company "Pin Pressed Designs"


I wasn't sure how well they would be received. But I was pleasantly surprised when I started, not only getting compliments, but actually selling them.  By the end of the night, I actually made a $42 profit and had two people order custom made ones. I really enjoyed my experience and working with the clay. I plan to learn more about using clay, maybe how to make the molds, and improving my product. I can't wait to do TREP$ again next year.

My name is Mikael and I am 10 years old. I had heard about TREP$ and I could not wait until I was in fifth grade so I could participate.   


I was thinking about what I could do for the program way before the workshops even got started.  My mom and I take sewing classes together so I wanted to do something that I could sew.  I made a dog bandanna for my dog Nala.  When I saw it on Nala I thought it would be a great business for me to start.  


In the next week we went to JoAnn Fabrics to pick out some supplies that were needed. I wanted to make sure I had a bandanna for every holiday. Since there are different sizes of dogs I had to make the bandanna size vary. There were so many to chose from. I was so excited to do this. I did not know what fabrics to pick. They were are so great and well themed. I decided to pick a couple for each holiday. I even got patterns that were just fun.  


I had to trace the pattern, then pin both sides together, sew it together, iron, sew again.  It was a lot of work.   I made 87 total for the night.   


The big night finally arrived.  My dad has real business cards made for me and my mom had T-shirts for my family and I to wear to advertise as they walked around the gymnasium.  I was so excited.  Everyone that came to my table loved them.  A lot of customers would say at first that their dog would never keep it on but they loved them.  My response to them was it does not tie.  The bandanna slips over the collar.  Wow. That was the key to the bandanna bonanza.  I sold tons.   


I am really looking forward to next year.