Young Copperas Cove entrepreneurs busy selling during holidays
By BRITTANY FHOLER
For three Copperas Cove children, childhood entrepreneurship is about more than just lemonade stands.
Case Cook, 5, has been painting wooden birdhouses that his mother, Ashlyn, sells online via social media in different groups and on her page. Ashlyn and her husband, PFC William Cook, are an Army family from Michigan originally. The idea behind Case’s birdhouses came after he saw a scooter he wanted at the store. When Ashlyn joked about who would pay for the scooter, Case answered that he would pay for it with his own money.
“He’s got a piggybank that we try to have him save money in, but we want him to keep that for savings, so I kind of was thinking with my husband about an idea he could do to raise money for himself or to teach those important skills early,” Ashlyn said.
Back in Michigan, the family had done a garage sale, and Case had sold some of his old toys to get money for new toys. This prompted the interest Chase had in finding a way to earn his own spending money, Ashlyn said.
“I was trying to find something he could do that could mimic that, and you hear the typical lemonade stand ordeal, but that just isn’t his style,” Ashlyn said. “He just would not have succeeded at that and he was always painting birdhouses and little wooden crafts for his grandparents, so I had thought ‘Oh, birdhouses. Let’s try that.’”
Case painted six birdhouses at first, and within five minutes of his mom posting on Facebook, they sold out. This continued and word spread about Case’s birdhouses. Now, there is a constant flow of orders coming in, according to Ashlyn.
After about three batches of birdhouses, Case had raised enough money for his new scooter, but he wanted to keep painting and selling. Ashlyn said that she and her husband don’t force Case to paint- it’s all about what he wants to do.
“We let him paint,” Ashlyn said. “All I do is tell him what colors the customer wants and I put it on the plate and he goes to town and starts painting up a whole bunch.”
As he continued to paint, he decided he wanted to do more and save more.
“I think he was starting to realize, ‘Wow, okay, I’m getting interest. People love it. I don’t have to just put it in my piggy bank. I can use it for other things,’” Ashlyn said. “He has expressed interest in wanting to paint birdhouses for the elderly at the nursing homes.”
Ashlyn has even started a GoFundMe to raise money for supplies Case’s charitable journey: https://gf.me/u/y9j3ts.
“I was at first shocked at how far he wanted to take it,” Ashlyn said. “I kind of thought maybe once he got his initial goal, he would stop or show a lack of interest in it further, but instead, it just kind of inspired him to want to paint more. There were those days where he just wakes up and says, ‘Mom, I want to paint,’ and we’ll spend a couple hours at the kitchen table painting. So now, I’m proud that he has that determination to keep going and that enthusiasm about it, and he definitely has the personality for it.”
Case’s favorite part is both painting and seeing his customers buy his work.
“I think every aspect of it, from the shopping for the paint and the supplies to actually painting the birdhouses and then seeing how excited people are when he hands it to them,” Ashlyn said. “Of course the money is a reward, but his face changes from a little nervous to super happy when he sees the customer smiling and reacting the way they do when they receive it.”
The Cook family has a craft Facebook page- Foxie Crafts, and Case’s work is also on Instagram at @caseadilla_and_mamacita. Interested customers can reach out through Facebook or Instagram to place an order.
For two other local children, Temperance and Stratton Beveridge, ages 7 and 11, respectively, their current business of choice is making pet treats.
Their mother, Stephanie Beveridge, owns GymKix, where they have some of their products displayed.
Beveridge said that her kids have tried their hand at different businesses for the past four or five years, from selling Pokemon cards, drawing pictures, selling stickers and even making items out of clay.
“I’m just always encouraging,” Beveridge said. “I’m a huge entrepreneur fan.”
Beveridge said that she and the kids did a spreadsheet and priced what it would cost to make the treats - $25 - which she then invested in by purchasing all the ingredients. They then figured out how many treats they could make and how much they could earn, including paying Beveridge back her investment.
The kids each made $17, of which they tithed 10 percent to their church, saved 10 to 20 percent and spent the rest of their money on Roblux on Wednesday morning.
“Earning that money helps them learn you can’t always have immediate gratification,” Beveridge said. “You know, you want to be able to save some for a rainy day or maybe something later on down the road.”
The treats were made using chicken, oat flour, olive oil, catnip and eggs to provide the protein necessary for cat’s nutrition. The kids still have treats available through the GymKix Facebook page and in the studio.
GymKix also offers an Enrichment Academy to homeschool or virtual learning kids which allows them to create something and sell it. One of the girls at GymKix, Kaydence Coombs, has started making ornaments using Perler beads to sell at GymKix as well.
“We’re trying to instill in the kids like if you have something you want to do and sell then we’re going to definitely support that and give them the opportunity because I mean, you can’t make lemonade stands anywhere nowadays, and lemonade, people get burnt out on that,” Beveridge said. “There’s so many kids with so many great ideas so we want to give them a vehicle to be able to put that out there.”