I was in Canada on vacation in July and was pleased with the weather and the opportunity to get away. One thing in particular surprised me on the trip, and that was the rapid rise in popularity of Kendama in the area.
If you haven’t heard of it, Kendama is a toy/game of Japanese origin, the original and most popular version featuring a wooden handle and a ball on a string. The player swings the ball in the air, and catches it on different sides of the handle. It’s a game of agility and imagination – the tricks that users can dream up and perform, many times after hours of practice – are almost limitless.
If you were a fan of hacky sack back in the day, you might want to consider a Kendama as a gift for your tween or early teen.
A friend’s teenage child showed me a Kendama and told me that he was going to go into business selling them online, and do in-person events. I may have looked skeptical, so he took me to his room and showed me a closet full of them. As of August 1st, he was officially in business.
Let’s take a look how the teen, who we’ll call Andy, did it:
Social Media – Andy set up social media profiles to build a following before he set up his website and began selling product. It is important that the brand, and not just the seller, have a presence on social media in order to build community. Andy has selected Facebook and Instagram (363 followers already!) as his first social profiles, and uses the business/website name as his social handles. Since Andy features lots of images on his social media, Instagram in particular is a good choice. You’ll notice that he uses hashtags effectively to increase his search relevance. Andy’s name and personal contact info are not listed anywhere on his social media profiles, a smart move when it comes to protecting his privacy. Remember, if your child is under 13, you as a parent will need to control the social media accounts.
Website – With the extensive help of his parents and a family friend, Andy set up a website, Northern Kendama. Some facets of the site, like the commerce/payment processing functionality, required more help from the parents than others. The site is bright and features lots of product images. Again, you’ll notice that Andy’s name isn’t listed anywhere on the website; the contact info is his business email. The website looks good to go.
In-person events – If your teen is looking to start on online business, one of the most effective ways to get a jump-start is to hold a successful offline event. Andy hosted Summer Jam 2016 on August 12th and had a great turnout for his first event. Those kids will be fans, and probably customers, for a while.
Andy is up and running in business, and he and his parents have done a great job protecting his privacy. Your teen can do it too.
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