Flowers

Amy and I will have to give ourselves a collective slap on the wrist–not a single post in all of July! Summer does that to you, perhaps: a big jumbled mess of busy, languid; travel, lounging; visiting, reading–in a hammock. Always in a hammock!

Today I biked to a provincial park in oppressive heat, then biked home with a tornado warning. Tomorrow I have to buy the groceries. On Saturday I’ll meet my sister at the beach. And always the laundry.

Summer.

^a poem, by Jacqui.

It’s funny because last time I felt compelled to post, E was running a lemonade stand. Today I felt compelled to post because E has moved on to other things! Here she is at her latest venture, which she ran with a friend who came over for the day:

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This [not so] little daughter of mine has quite the entrepreneurial spirit, that’s for sure! The idea came from her father, as it happens, because you see our raspberry patch is overrun with these beautiful flowers! He was about to pull them out, feeling it was ever so much a shame, then said, “You know, E…” and a plan was hatched.

She’s made a few changes with this venture over the last one. First of all, she’s gone mobile. It turns out our house is not on a very popular corner. So she moved this operation down the road to a green space in a higher traffic area. Brad helped her come up with a good price, based on his experience purchasing many flowers for his tanks of leafcutter bees to use: 50 cents a flower; $2 for a bouquet of five. But the distance created the problem of what to do if she ran out! So Brad suggested she use her brother G as a delivery boy. We then helped them to negotiate a reasonable wholesale price for G to sell them to her at. There was a bit of back and forth on this, because of course then he was doing all the work; but on the other hand E had to take a risk buying the flowers for only the possibility of re-selling them, whereas G had the benefit of a guaranteed income. Distance also was an important factor: if he had to travel several blocks for delivery, we all agreed that the price would have to be steeper. If it was just down the road, a lower price. E at first thought she would simply pay G a flat wage to help. But Brad convinced her that this was unwise: say he only brought one bouquet; or say he brought twenty bouquets. Should he be paid the same rate?

Finally the terms were negotiated and agreed upon: G would wholesale the flowers to E at the cost of 10 cents per flower.

They didn’t do too bad! Clearly being cute is a great upselling feature, because one patron purchased a single bouquet and left an $18 tip! There was almost a disaster when E decided to send her friend to collect additional flowers for free, even though she had a verbal contract with G. We had a bit of a discussion about verbal contracts and good business practices, and all was resolved. Then the two girls decided to add ice water to their offerings (because we were all out of lemonade powder). Why not!

An interesting development was when the girls returned for a short time to have lunch. Upon setting out again they grabbed way more than just the few bouquets Brad had suggested–I’m assuming to avoid having to pay another dime to their wholesale supplier. But their greed caught up with them when they did not sell any more flowers, and wasted all those potential products! E did feel regret about that decision in the end.

When they closed shop for the day, they proclaimed that they were so hot and uncomfortable they were sure they’d developed heat stroke. I said, “Well, why didn’t you come back earlier then?” And they looked at me like I was a complete idiot, before incredulously replying, “Because we want to get rich!”

Perhaps not the most virtuous motivation, but a good experience nonetheless. Especially when they then took their $20 bill to a bank to have it changed into two tens–a first experience for both girls.

I think the coolest thing about this for me, is that entrepreneurship has always baffled and disturbed me–I am a rule follower who comes from a long line of people gainfully employed by companies and governments. Taking initiative in this manner is not in my own playbook at. all. But it is in E’s, and it’s probably the coolest thing to see a child thrive doing something that scares the pants off me. Plus I’m learning to be a little less of a scaredy cat.

Rock on.

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