WYCKOFF, N.J. – A pair of Wyckoff 12-year-olds stood behind a table packed with cell phone cases and adornments.
Alexa Shoiock and Elena Cordova, seventh graders at Eisenhower Middle School, were in the school’s multipurpose room running their very own business: Funky Fhones.
“We know phone cases could cost a lot of money, so we wanted to sell them for a little cheaper,” said Shoiock, holding a case in her hand. “This one is only $6, rather than a $40 Kate Spade.”
The girls were selling pre-decorated cases, as well as ones that customers could decorate themselves. They were among about 200 students participating in their school’s TREP$ Marketplace.
The marketplace was the culmination of the school’s first year of TREP$ . Short for young enTREPreneurS, the program teaches kids how to start their own businesses. Leading up to the market, students participated in workshops to learn about entrepreneurship, money, marketing, advertising and sales.
Across the room from Funky Fhones, Dylan Bodart, Kyle Zicherman and Cole Duschang were selling homemade brownies.
“We did the math and we figured out how many brownies we would have to sell to make a profit,” Bodart explained.
Tara DiScala, a seventh grade science teacher, brought TREP$ to the school. She said kids have been talking about the market “for months and months.”
“I knew we would have a good turnout, but this is even better than I could have expected,” she said, looking around a gymnasium packed with holiday shoppers and student salespeople.
The students sold items ranging from hand-knit scarves, blankets and bath products to henna tattoos and tie dye socks. A few students even set up a pay-to-play Nerf shooting range.
Ryan Willemann and Jack Bellantone tapped into a need with their company, JR Tech Help.
“We are doing a service for seniors and grandparents to get them used to their devices,” Willemann explained.
The boys were offering classes at the library to teach seniors how to better use their cell phones and tablets.
The modules would cover basic usage, taking and sharing photos, and emailing and using attachments, they said.