Principal Martin Shares About Children’s Business Fair

Principal Martin has a special message for educators about the MyFirstSale Virtual Business Fair:


My name is Martin Freel. I’m the principal at St. Jude the Apostle School in Westlake Village, California. The Virtual Business Fair Program came up to us, and I just thought it was such a good idea because it was something that the kids can take on themselves and build up their self confidence as they’re building up their businesses.


I was really surprised about how confident our students were. They were really confident, not only in their pitches, but also their confidence growing as they continued to know more about the businesses and what their products were. Our kids were doing all kinds of different businesses. When I was going to see their pitches, I would see kids that were selling small things, like bookmarks and stickers, and then some kids making detailed wooden box kits.


Kids from all different ages were able to participate in their own way. Having kids as young as kindergarten age being able to make their own T-shirt business was amazing. Then all the way up to our middle school kids, who were giving guitar lessons and other awesome packages like that. I thought they were really cool and creative.


This was our first year participating as a school, so we really didn’t know what to expect. What we saw was this: 29 of our students decided to join in, and their sales were way higher than anything that we could’ve ever expected. In the first week they sold about $700 worth of products. Over 350 customers participated. I just love seeing the students’ stores and their goals that they exceeded. Some were selling up to 300% more than what they thought they would be making.


Our students built that independence, and that’s something that I think a lot of kids are missing today. These kids just jumped in and they took it all on themselves, and they became really successful with it.


Doing the fair was one of the best decisions we made all year, especially with having such a difficult year during COVID. It really was not labor intensive, and it wasn’t a huge price. The rewards we got afterwards were unbelievable: seeing our students earn so much money and start their own businesses, promoting it at school. They really grew from it, and it was definitely a peak moment for us this year.


Here’s what I want principals to hear. Today in schools, everything we do is some kind of fundraiser, or we’re trying to earn something back. There’s a reason why we’re doing it, but it’s always mainly to help out the school. I would love for principals to take a step back and look at how important it is to do community building activities like this in addition to fundraisers.


We brought the community in for the fair, and they got to see all the students’ businesses. It’s cool to build that community with our school, our families, and our staff. They were all invested in it and celebrating the kids. The Virtual Business Fair built up our community in such a positive way.


I would say to other principals, Things like this are going to make your school 10 times better. If you can build up your community and inspire people to be happy and positive, then they’re going to want to come to fundraisers and other events to support your school. That would be my suggestion.

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