Isaac Kornbluth is like most kids his age. A Krieger Schechter Day School fourth-grader, he spends his days going to school, playing sports and hanging out with his friends and three younger siblings.
But unlike other 9-year-olds, Isaac is well on his way to becoming a young entrepreneur, selling handmade bracelets via a new website called Isaac’s eStand.
Founded by Isaac’s mother, Reisterstown resident Michele Kornbluth, and her closest college friend, Amanda Mullin, Isaac’s eStand is an online marketplace where individual kids, children’s organizations such as the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts and school clubs can sell “kid-made” products for fundraising purposes.
At the same time, Kornbluth and Mullin, an elementary school teacher and mother of two who lives in Livingston, N.J., say the website is designed to “motivate and inspire young kids” while teaching them the entrepreneurial skills required to run their own businesses.
“This idea started when Isaac decided he wanted to sell [his] bracelets at the end of our driveway,” says Kornbluth, the site’s CEO. “I started wondering why his selling had to stop at the end of our driveway, why couldn’t he sell this product online?”
A commercial real estate professional, Kornbluth maintains that before she and Mullin founded the site, there was no online forum that sold products made exclusively by children.
“As an educator, I feel there isn’t anything on the elementary level that focuses on becoming an entrepreneur and teaching children about business,” Mullin says. “If kids can find their passion at an early age, that’s a priceless gift. … I’m so passionate about making that happen for them.”
As for the website’s namesake and first seller, Isaac says he’s totally stoked about this project. “I’ve already sold a few bracelets on the website and made some money!” he says. He’s also appreciative of his mother’s efforts in starting the online marketplace. “It took a lot of time and a lot of hard work,” he says.
To sell on Isaac’s eStand, there is an annual membership fee of $3.99 for an individual and $9.99 for an organization. Additionally, there is a 12 percent transaction fee, with a portion of the site’s profits going to a children’s charity.
“The membership fee is the kid’s first lesson in entrepreneurship, to learn there is a startup cost to any business,” Kornbluth says. “It’s also a way for us to know there is an adult in charge, supervising the child’s participation on the website.”
Once a member, the child entrepreneur has full range to manage his/her business however they see fit. They are responsible for creating an online storefront, a name for their business and determining how much to charge for the product and its shipping.
Youngsters can sell anything from a product to a downloadable image to a food item as long as it is approved by Kornbluth and Mullin — a process to ensure that all items being sold are appropriate. To get paid, children must have a PayPal account set up for them by an adult.
Isaac’s eStand currently sells more than 30 products, including clay charms made by Abby Mendez of North Caldwell, N.J.
“The charms are for people to put on necklaces or backpacks,” says Abby, 12. “Through this website, I can get my product out there and sell it to more people. I like buying things, so I’m really looking forward to making my own money.”
Abby’s brother Jack, 10, sells his intricately knotted paracord bracelets on Isaac’s eStand.
“I decided to make these bracelets because I love them and love the way they look,” says Jack. “I learned how to make them by watching videos, and I’m excited to make my own money so I can buy myself my own things.”
By using Isaac’s eStand, Abby and Jack are already recognizing the challenges that go into starting a business.
“I’ve learned that your business doesn’t always work right away and your first idea won’t always work,” says Abby. “You have to be open to different options and offer something new that other people don’t sell.”
Adds Jack: “It’s hard work and it takes a while to start selling things.”
Teaching children these tough lessons about entrepreneurship is what it’s all about, says Michele Kornbluth.
“This makes me happy,” she says. “It’s meaningful and impactful. I can’t wait to see the impact of these successful kids who got motivated from our website.”
For information, visit Isaac’s eStand at iestand.com.
Aliza Friedlander is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
Also see: Jmore Juniors, our new student journalism initiative
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