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DIY Mini Markets and Petite Pop-Ups

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by Dayna Chu (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on
Published March 25th 2014
Appreciating the value of a hard-earned dollar
mini markets, pop ups, markets melbourne, lemonade stand
DIY Mini-Market
Lemonade stands are truly the first pop-up shop after all, aren't they? Grown-ups are just finally catching on, cutting the red tape in the retail market place, and making it easier for the small guy to open a business (and the big guys to shift into more flexible spaces).

Help your kids to get back to the basics. Help them to open up a petite pop-up of their own. Here's how:

Date and Location
Pick a good date, don't necessarily rule out weekdays if you're near a high traffic area like a school. The best location is likely your own home; if you're looking at setting up in a park or public place, be sure to check by-laws with your local council.

Signage and Promotion
Help the kids to make lots of signs and figure out some strategic locations to post them, before and during the sale. Don't forget to include the time and date(s). Use your school newsletter, Facebook, and good-ol' word-of-mouth to spread the word about the big opening.

Decide whether you're also going to contribute some of the proceeds to a charity or other cause. Include it in your signage.

Preparing Products
Lemonade, lollies, clothing, crafts? You decide what's going to work for you... or should I say, how much work you would like to do. My recommendation is to start small for your first go. We did lemonade, raspberry cordial, zooper doopers, lamington squares, and cupcakes; even that was a bit optimistic and I would have left out the baking if I were to do it again for the first time.

Calculate the cheapest way to make/prepare your items or crafts, and a realistic price point. It's a good cause, but nobody likes to feel ripped off, even when they're contributing to the neighbour's kids' first entrepreneurial venture.
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Help your kids with some basic rules and etiquette

Money and Rules
Depending on the ages of your kids, be sure that you have enough adult support around to assist with the counting and handling of money. Heaven forbid any ill-meaning folks are out for a quick buck, but honest mistakes can happen, and it's a good time to oversee the learning process; talk through what you're doing, and allow them to do as much as their skills and mathematical competence allows.

A pep talk about rules may be in order before you start: Smile! Wash your hands; say please and thank you; don't fight with your sister in front of the customers (I forgot to add the last one before it was too late!). The kids handed out a little hand-drawn thank you note to each customer (I had made copies).

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Be sure to invite the neighbours over!
The Sale
Expectation management will go a long way to helping your kids feel successful with the sale. Who's going to take the money for the first hour? Who will pour the juice? What should we do when there's a line up? What should we do when there's a lull? Help them know what to expect, and teach them a few lessons in work ethic along the way (cleaning up the mess, restocking the bake stall table, etc).

Clean Up
Don't give up now! Clean up is the most tempting time to send the kids away, because you know that you can get it done five times faster without them under foot. Give them each a wet cloth and bucket, and set them to work. Somebody can remove signage, another can pack the goodies back into containers. The work is not the glorious part of the day, but the best place to teach the lessons on earning money.

One of my personal mantras is, "Over-communication is rarely a problem." A great communication technique in project management, for kids and adults alike, is to tell them what they're going to do, tell them what they're doing, and tell them what they did.

All the clean up is done and dusted (the kids did most of it, I hope!). It's time to remind them what they just did: all that hard work earned you some cash. Decide ahead of time how you're going to make this tangible to them. This will depend quite heavily on the age of your children; mine were 4 and 6. We took their $14.50 each and went straight to Big W.

hard work pays off
Help them to connect the work to the wins, especially if they're under 8
I let the kids choose anything they wanted, indicating which items they could get today with the money in their pockets, and which items they could certainly pick out, but would need to save up more money for, before they could buy the items and take them home.

It was an opportunity for some terrific, immediate, tangible lessons, including team work and generosity, as my son offered to give my daughter the extra money she needed (50) to buy the LEGO set she wanted.

Get your kids planning, and have a marvellous mini-market or petite pop-up! List your first event in the comments; I'd love to drop by!
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Why? To help your kids learn the valuable lessons of entrepreneurship
Your Comment
What a great article Dayna - there are a couple of local kids who set up shop with little tomato seedlings they have grown, and we all love to see them there. great to encourage that!
by Julie Mundy (score: 3|1734) 2256 days ago
Great idea for getting kids involved! Really enjoyed this article. :)
by Sara Ikmal (score: 2|457) 2258 days ago
Well done for getting 1st place.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12594) 2241 days ago
Great article Dayna - super cute. Well deserved competition gold award!
by Katie E (score: 2|165) 2241 days ago
Congrats on your gold, Dayna! Great article :)
by Fiona Anderson (score: 2|961) 2241 days ago
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