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Children and Business

Consumption of children’s products is growing, and this trend will remain in future as such products, no matter how complicated, are easy to use and don’t require any particular skills. Some special training was necessary in the past and might took years making consumption by children almost impossible. This is not the case now, and it appears that the industry of children’s products brings up its consumers from early childhood making up the needs and setting directions for development. However, the influence of children on the environment where they are growing up in is being often neglected.

All the children are great creators if not impeded. It is just necessary to secure favorable environment, for example, to develop their entrepreneurial skills, and not necessarily through school lessons as it is often suggested. Take the case of American billionaire Richard Branson. He came up with his first business model when he was about nine years old. He decided to grow Christmas trees. With a friend, they planted 400 spruce seeds in a field near the house. Planning a Christmas tree business, a boy of nine operated as an adult. A bag of seeds cost only five pounds, and the tree could be sold for two pounds – seven hundred and ninety-five pounds of net profit. But rabbits devoured his seeds and the young Branson took revenge.

He managed to get the rabbits shot and sold them to the local butcher, for a shilling apiece. It helped make a small profit. Naturally, Branson was supported in all of his “foolish endeavours” by his mother, who instilled in him a key fact: he would benefit from undertaking a business he loved and that he shouldn’t think too much about money when starting a business. When a student Branson started a newspaper inspiring a youth help center to support, for example, struggling nurses who wanted to have their salary raised, pregnant unmarried girls or those looking for students-tutors.

The other example is Fraser Doherty. 14-year old Fraser started making a jam to his grandmother’s recipe. His first customers were the neighbors and school peers. When Fraser was 16 years old his business grew so profitable that he had to leave school so as to work full time. In 2009 his company’s revenue reached $1.2 min.

Cameron Johnson started his first business at the age of 9 making invitations for parties. By 15 years old his bank account statement showed $300.000-400.000, and by school leaving age his fortune exceeded $1 min.

Cameron Johnson started his first business at the age of 9 making invitations for parties. By 15 years old his bank account statement showed $300.000-400.000, and by school leaving age his fortune exceeded $1 mln. 13-year old Zhenya from Perm region (Russia) earned his first million rubles with a mock show “Kababa”. At first he and his friends performed at schools in their home town, now across the whole region. Zhenya started his business only a year ago and earned 1 148 000 rubles with a workforce of 5 people.

We admit that children have entrepreneurial skills and can be successful businessmen. So, why do we rarely talk about the involvement of children in creating products for them? For some reason the industry doesn’t involve children into testing the products aimed for them. However, in many developed countries there are attempts among major manufacturers to test children’s products on children and involve them into production and development stages. Children have better understanding of what characteristics their toys, clothes and other products should have. But unfortunately this practice is not widely spread. Obviously, this has nothing to do with child labor. This should be just an overall tendency rooted from the idea of “people’s products”. For example, Ford has launched its “People’s Car” program enabling public discussion of a concept car. In terms of childhood, one of the key problems is an absence an efficient communication platform which could bring together officials from different institutions and community. Teachers do not talk to doctors about how to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Architects are not interested in the lifestyles of people they build houses for, especially given the fact that children take up considerable space, and simply use standard drawings and templates. Such communication would be possible if we all follow the idea of super value of childhood.

Author :
EurActiv Network