Aside from being passionate about our own business in The Cheese Mall, I am passionate about seeing young entrepreneurs succeed at setting up a small business. In Ireland, the transition year in school gives students scope think of business ideas, to set up a minibusiness, to learn valuable life skills and perhaps to invent a product. The students receive excellent guidance from teachers, from business people and from their parents. I’m delighted to say that some of our Cheese Mall books have been purchased and given to students in transition year so they can use our book with its step by step approach to create their business plan and grow their business.
Watching young entrepreneurs pitch to the Dragons in the Junior Dragons Den on Sunday night, I was inspired by their ambition, their ideas, their preparation and their ability to deliver their presentations in a confident and articulate fashion. Yes, one or two could perhaps have completely some more research into their market or their packaging but for teenagers, each one of them deserved a medal, not just the award of €2,000.
I had two favourites – one was Killholly Farm Sets, two boys who were making toy farm sheds and wanted to grow the business by creating flat pack units which parents/children could build together. They received valuable advice from the dragons, two pieces being to think about creating modular units which could be added on, so that a child could get another unit at each birthday or Christmas, another being to develop their web presence and sell their flat pack product online direct to the consumer rather than to the retailers. Two excellent pieces of advice.
My other favourite was Ciara of Irish Baubles. She recognised how people unearth memories each year with their Christmas decorations, how many people buy a special Christmas decoration as a gift or as a souvenir and she has created beautiful glass baubles which are painted with charming Irish scenes and are packaged beautifully in a red box. The perfect purchase for a tourist visiting Ireland and wanting souvenirs or gifts that are small, transportable and that hold special memories. Ciara had her pitch well prepared with sales to date, turnover, costings, lead times and projections. Ciara also supplies baubles as wedding favours, an excellent idea.
The Dragons questioned the retail price, feeling it was a little high. However, as we state in our book, the market dictates the price, consumers are prepared to pay a particular price for a product because of the added value associated with it. By added value, I’m not just referring to the Irishness or the packaging or the hand painting. In the case of Irish Baubles, the baubles contain memories, wonderful memories that can be recreated every single Christmas.
Phenomenal achievements for teenagers – the future is bright in their hands. Hopefully more teenagers will be inspired by their success and with the help of teachers, enterprise board, business people and books like ours, more will go on to create their own businesses.
If you would like to enquire about buying our book for yourself, your teenager or for a number of students, please contact us here.