How to (NOT) sell a pumpkin

entrepreneur life family business

See that quirky little stuffed pumpkin with the button eyes?

Our daughter Charis (age 13) made these a couple years ago to sell at our favorite fall in person event, Southern Charm at The Farm.  And I have never tried so hard NOT to sell anything in my life!

 It all started when Charis decided she would make something that “I get to keep ALL the money from.” You see, in our family business we all do our part to create the products and we all share the profits from those products. To encourage her entrepreneurial spirit, we went to work searching for just the right solo project. An old magazine cut out held the answer…an adorable stuffed squash, an ideal design because any imperfection from her unskilled hands would only add uniqueness to the piece.

First, she gathered felt in orange, rust, cream and chocolate. Then picked buttons that would contrast nicely. Finally, she swiped some of my Polyfill stuffing and raided her great grandmother’s embroidery thread stash. She spent a tiny amount of time letting me teach her how to do a blanket stitch for the outside of their round bodies and then she was off on her own, making these adorable little characters. 

Charis excitedly stitched on the button eyes, then tacked the mouth at each end. The result was posable lips that could turn up in happiness, down into a frown or configure into a wobbly smile.

 

She was SO excited about creating something (all by herself) that others would love enough to exchange money for. However, her industrious attitude fizzled as she grew tired of hand stitching around all those stuffed round bodies. She had managed to make 6 charming little pumpkins.

She toted her miniature harvest all the way to the Southern Charm show and proudly displayed them in our booth, completing the look with a rustic metal bucket. It wasn’t long until shoppers were swarming through. Sadly, without so much as a nod to all her hard work. She was so upset. This mamma’s heart hurt for her.

I did what any good mamma would do…came to the rescue! I moved the pumpkiny creatures to a more prominent spot- the check-out stand, and began telling the story of every single stitch coming from her precious little hands. It worked! She sold 2 of her creations right away!

Totally surprising me, my mamma heart wrenched tighter with each sale. Only this time, my emotional turmoil was more of a protective greed…because...I confess! I wanted to keep every single one of her darling pumpkins for myself. Their warped little smiles and oddly shaped bodies had charmed their way into my heart, which was breaking a little more as each one found a new home.

I made it through one more sale, even though I have never tried so hard NOT to sell something in my life. Finally I decided to take desperate action. I eagerly offered two times the market value for the remaining 3 pumpkins…” SOLD!” ...to the sentimental mom in the back of the booth! A Win-Win situation- baby girl’s solo project was a success, and mama bear never has to part with her precious collection of stuffed gourds.


Looking back, I am reminded of the main principle of Wendy&Co - to educate our girls in the art of entrepreneurship and business. I would say that goal was achieved, albeit, NOT AT ALL the way I intended it to go down.

At least I ended up with cute props!


Happy fall to you all!


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