June 2015
Dear Friends,
School may be winding down, but the smart entrepreneur is already thinking about next year...

3 Great Ideas for Kids to do this Summer: 
1. Look for "opportunities" at tag/garage sales-
Bargain Supplies mean More Profits!
2. Offer to help clean out grandma's garage-
That old stuff can make awesome products!
3. Attend street fairs, vender markets & craft fairs-
Look for New Product Ideas- GET INSPIRED! 

With great excitement, our focus now turns to next year... 2015-2016   Our 10th Anniversary Year!
How should we celebrate?  Send us your ideas!
We have some great write-ups to share with you- written by and about young entrepreneurs we met this spring... "Spotlight TREP$": Ava, Alexis, Lily, Jada, Ava, Julia & Maeve.

As always, thank you for being a part of this important and extraordinarily fun mission.
Pamela deWaal and Hayley Romano

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Meet Ava, of "Once Upon a Tree"
Memorial Middle School, Cedar Grove, NJ Ava


My name is Ava. I'm in the 5th grade at Memorial Middle School in Cedar Grove. When I heard about TREP$ last year I knew I wanted to be a part of it when I was old enough. But when I got to the first workshop, I had no idea what I was going to do. So, I thought it over and then saw my mom using her wood coasters...and then I knew I wanted to do wood coasters. I named my business Once Upon A Tree.

First, I planned to gather fallen tree limbs and cut them. My mom and I researched this and we found out that the wood had to be dried a special way that would take a very long time so it wouldn't crack when we cut it. We didn't have enough time for that. We thought long and hard until my mom suggested calling her friend's husband who works in the tree business. He had some special widowmaker cherry wood tree limbs. Widowmaker means that the tree limb detached from the tree but didn't fall to the ground. It was like that for a long time and had time to dry out.

Second, we took the widowmaker cherry limbs to the local hardware store and they tried to cut it for me with a special electric saw. It turned out that their saw blade was too small. My neighbor had an electric saw so he and my dad also tried to cut the limbs.The wood kept breaking into small pieces.

Third, we did more research and found a company in Michigan that sold kiln dry wood and cut it into slices. We ordered the wood and it came in a few weeks. Then my dad and I went to the lumber yard to get the rest of the supplies I needed including wood finish and sand paper.

Lastly, I put four coats of the wood finish on each side of the coasters and three coats on the edges. It took about 4 weeks to finish and sand them. Packaging was next. I paired them and tied them with raffia. I also designed a logo for my business and put in on hangtags that I also designed. My brother is in second grade and wanted to help too so he made a different kind of coaster out of old maps and Mod Podge.

When TREP$ day came I was ready. I sold half of my coaster sets at the market place and then sold the rest afterwards to more friends and family. I ended up selling out and making a profit. I can't wait for next year! I want to donate some money to charity.
Meet Alexis, of "Wrapped in Love"


Hello, my name is Alexis. I am in the 8th grade at Brookside Middle School. Last year was the first year that TREP$ was offered at our school. I didn't participate in 2014, so I was determined to do so this year.  When I enrolled in TREP$ we were immediately told to think of a business idea.  I was initially stumped because I didn't want to do something ordinary; I want to actually challenge myself to come up with an interesting item to make & sell! That's when I came up with the idea of making colorful scarfs. Experiencing such a cold winter this year, I thought selling scarfs would be good timing and a product in demand.  

Now the hard part came...making enough scarfs to have enough inventory to sell. I didn't know how to crochet but I still didn't want to give up on my idea. That's when I decided to buy an Addi Express to ensure the scarfs would be perfect.  Of course, the machine was a bit costly but I justified the expense since I can continue to use it beyond TREP$.  The only supplies I needed to start my project were a crocheting loom, yarn, and the Addi Express.

When I started to use the machine, I did struggle on the first few scarfs but it didn't take long before I was a pro! It took me 3-weeks to make 14 scarfs. To me, it didn't matter how long it took to make, I just wanted to make sure they were a successful item at the TREP$ Marketplace.

On March 11, 2015 the day was finally here for me to sell my scarfs. I thought no one was going to believe that I made them.  My stomach turned as people filled the cafeteria in anticipation of their reactions.   What a relief it was when I was able to sell half of my scarfs in just the first 10 minutes. Personally, the TREP$ Marketplace was a huge success and great experience. By the end of the evening, I sold-out all my scarfs and took multiple orders home to fulfill.  Many people couldn't believe that I took on this big idea having no experience making scarfs. I had a wonderful experience taking my products to market.

Thanks to TREP$ I "launched" my very own business.
Meet Lily, of "Elephants for EVER"
Ridgewood Avenue School, Glen Ridge, NJ Lily


Hello, my name is Lily and my business is called Elephants for EVER. I decided to dedicate my TREP$ business to saving the elephants, and donating 100% of all profits to elephant charities.  

Last year I did a business around helping homeless dogs and cats and donated my profits to PAWS, a local animal shelter.  Yes, I do realize that cats and dogs are still being mistreated, but they still have a high population. On the other hand elephants are endangered and are being killed quite frequently for their ivory, which I believe is not right and I want to bring awareness to this cause by selling my product.

For my product I sold hand stitched elephant key chains and elephant pillows. I also sold pins that stated "save me" on them with a simple picture of an elephant.

At the end on the TREP$ marketplace I earned a profit of $250 dollars!  This money is going to the World Wildlife Fund and an elephant sanctuary in Africa. I really enjoyed my experience and would like to continue helping Elephants by bringing my business to Etsy.
Meet Jada of "Light it Up"
Ridgewood Avenue School, Glen Ridge, NJ  Jada  


Hi, my name is Jada and I'm in 4th grade.   I was very excited to be able to participate in this year's TREP$ Marketplace.  I wasn't sure on what I wanted to make so I looked up some ideas on Pinterest. I narrowed it down to 3 ideas and then decided I really wanted to make candles out of crayons.  

So to begin, I gathered up all the supplies that I could find at home but I still needed more.  So my mom helped me order the supplies that I was missing.  First I had to pick out 3 crayons that I wanted to group together and put them in color order.  I tried to take off the wrappers myself from the crayons but I wasn't very good at it.  So my mom helped me by using a knife to take all the wrappers off the crayons, which took a while to do.  Thank you mama!  After getting all the crayons ready, we put some wax shavings along with one color crayon in each dixie cup.  But before we could do anything else, we had to melt some wax so it could hold the wick in place in the votive.

Once all of the prep work was done, I was ready to begin.  I put the first votive in my mom's dish drain leaning on its side. I then put one dixie cup in the microwave so the wax & crayon could melt.  It took about 3 minutes for it all to melt. Once melted, I had to mix it all together.  I had to be careful because the dixie cup got really hot.  I dropped a couple of them while taking them out of the microwave too.  You then pour the mixture into the votive while holding the wick in place for about 20 seconds so it stays in the middle. I had to wait for the first layer to dry for about 30 minutes before I could put the next layer in.

Once dry enough, you turn the votive on its other side, and then melt the next color and pour it in and hold the wick again in place.  You can put the candle on the counter when putting in the last color.  I learned that it takes about 1.5 hours to do one candle.  I had to make how many?  Boy this was going to take forever to make these.  So my mom ended up helping me a little bit.  I made most of them one Saturday by making them all day and doing 4-5 candles at a time.  I even thought I broke the microwave that Saturday as it just stopped working.  My mom wasn't that happy.  But it turns out; it just overheated from so much use.  Phew! I also made some candles with just regular layers too. I ended up making 36 candles total. 

After I was done with making all of the candles, I came up with my company name, "Light It Up".

During the marketplace everyone said how much they loved my crayon candles. I even sold out and there was half an hour left to sell.
I loved participating in the TREP$ Marketplace.  I learned so much and can't wait to do it again next year! I'm already thinking of how to improve and be creative in my crayon candles.
Meet Ava, Julia and Maeve of "Pillow Party"
Memorial Middle School, Cedar Grove, NJ   JuliaAvaMaeve  
Hi, we are Ava, Julia, and Maeve, otherwise known as "Pillow Party". We are 5th graders at Cedar Grove Memorial Middle School. We loved the idea of joining TREP$ since we visited the marketplace as second graders. Julia did a recycling project making pillows out of old t-shirts. She cut them and tied the corners and sides, but it took a very long time and we realized we would not have enough product.  Thankfully, Maeve knew how to sew.  We decided to use Maeve's skills as a seamstress to help our business produce more pillows.  We met many times working together to cut, pin, sew, stuff, hand sew, tag and bag our product!  It was hard work but fun to work together as a team.  Friends and neighbors donated gently used Cedar Grove team spirit and sports wear and we also purchased patterned fabric to help make our custom pillows.  We even found special fabric to make autism awareness pillows and plan to donate and match all the proceeds of these pillows to Autism Speaks. 

We went to TREP$ classes every Thursday for 6 weeks and learned how to run our business.  We ran our ideas by local business people who gave us feedback on our ideas to help improve our business plan.  This helped us decide on the name Pillow Party!  

To advertise our business our parents helped us post pictures on social media of the final products.  We also made flyers to hang around our school and business cards to thank our customers.  Everyone was so excited to see our booth at TREP$!  We sold out in about 1 hour!  We continued to take special orders and customers found special shirts to turn into pillows. For example, one of our friends gave us shirts from a special charity that is close to their heart. Another customer gave us shirts from a concert. What better way to remember something special than to take a t-shirt from a drawer and turn it into something pretty to adorn your home? This was a great experience to participate in and we will most definitely do it again next year.  We will just need to make more pillows!