100 Kid Businesses Ready to Sell Their Creations at Fair in Viera
Editor's note: EverythingBrevard Managing Editor Lee Nessel will be at the Brevard Children’s Business Fair accompanying her 10-year-old daughter, Ella Grace Helton, at her “Everything Ella” booth. Ella has participated in three fairs, evolving from her original business of custom bead jewelry known as Ella Bella Beads to now having the jewelry plus an extensive collection of original pastel paintings and merchandise featuring her artwork.
If you haven’t yet been to the annual Brevard Children’s Business Fair (BCBF), this is the year to go. What started with 25 kid entrepreneurs-in-training at the inaugural event in 2018 has now ballooned to 100, with each kid the boss of their booth for the day.
You’ll see a village of tents set up in the parking lot of The Avenue Viera on Nov. 18, with kids selling items they’ve made from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. And most importantly, you’ll be supporting blossoming entrepreneurial dreams.
“The kids who participate in the fair (especially the first-timers) start out shy, reserved, unsure and nervous,” said Nora McFarland, executive director of BCBF. “As the event progresses, you can really see them shine with confidence, their ability to carry a conversation with others, their passion when talking about their products and just a sense of pride. Not to mention that they learn some financial independence with managing their transactions.”
Parents can assist the kids in setting up — but the kids are in charge. And in fact, in order to be eligible for the $1,000 pot of cash prizes, the kids have to demonstrate that they understand basic business principles and that they know how to run their business by themselves.
The Brevard Children’s Business fair is a branch of the Acton Children’s Business Fair based out of Texas, that has fairs around the world. McFarland said she started the fair in Brevard because her kids wanted to put up a lemonade stand in front of the house.
“Back in 2017 in the news, there were people who were calling health Inspectors and the police on kids who were having such lemonade stands,” she said. “I decided that I didn't want my kids to go through that grief, did research and came upon the Acton Children’s Business Fair.”
She launched the first fair here in 2018, with 25 kid vendors as young as 6. This is the fifth event, as a year was canceled during the pandemic.
“We decided to open it to 100 businesses (this year) because we wanted to give this opportunity to as many kids in the county as we could handle,” McFarland said. “We felt that after doing this for a few years that we were confident that 100 would be a good number for not only the committee, but also the community.”
Like McFarland’s kids, several repeat participants have evolved in their business offerings. Her children were 6 and 9 that first year, and they have sold handmade dog toys, lemon curds, jams, beeswax candles, and this year, her youngest will be selling pickled onions. Her oldest will be helping her set up the fair.
Merritt Island sisters Scarlett (16) and Alannah (14) Frattin are back for their third BCBF with their business, Cherie Jolie.
“Our booth will offer something for everyone, it has a shabby chic vibe with one-of-a-kind gifts, cards, jewelry, and art,” Scarlett said.
She sells notecards, journals, and sketchbooks printed with her original acrylic paintings. Sister, Alannah, sells hand-beaded necklaces, hand-sewn plushies, and hand-painted records. The benefits of participation in BCBF are plentiful.
“I was very nervous the first year. I am typically very private, but I really enjoyed sharing my art with the community,” Scarlett said. “I enjoyed meeting other creative artists and loved receiving positive feedback.”
Mom, Veronica Frattin, said she loves that her girls chose to work together.
“It really strengthens the bond that they have. They work together very well and I love watching them work as a team on the day of the business fair. This experience has been wonderful. It has allowed the girls to understand all that goes into making a business successful and what that truly means. It has also inspired Scarlett to continue with the business through high school and potentially through college.”
Returning for their second year are the Derbyshire brothers of Cocoa Beach. Elijah, 10, will be serenading fairgoers with the musical entertainment of Coastal Harmonica while Gideon, soon to be 8, will be sharing his artistic creations under the business name Gideon's Art.
Elijah already is earning money playing the harmonica at various locations throughout the year and said he enjoys participating in the business fair because he loves to share his music with people and see them smile. Gideon also aspires to continue his business throughout the year.
“As a parent, it makes my wife, Clare, and I very proud to see the boys working hard to create their own businesses,” said dad, Tony Derbyshire. “We believe it is helping them both to build a strong work ethic, confidence, responsibility, maturity, and business acumen at an early age. We also love to see them have an entrepreneurial mindset, and we think participating in the business fair is a great way to build that, as well.”
The keys to having a good event, according to these BCBF veterans, are to prepare product early and build an inventory, be assertive on the big day, and directly engage prospective customers so they don’t pass by your booth.
“I would recommend doing something you love. It doesn't feel like work if you love what you are doing,” is the wise advice from Scarlett Frattin. “Also, try not to be nervous. Everyone was extremely supportive and it is a very positive experience. Don't stress, and enjoy it because the time goes by fast.”
$1,000 in award money is at stake.
- $500 for the “Beezos” Best In Show Award
- $250 for the “Thomas Edison Award” Most Original Business Idea
- $150 for the “Artemis Rocket Award” Highest Business Potential
- $100 for the “Walt Disney Award” Most Passionate Entrepreneur
Prizes donated by: Chris Conneen, owner of Pizza Gallery & Grill and 28 North Gastropub, both located in The Avenue Viera.
“We are SUPER excited to be sponsoring the BCBF awards this year. These kids are so cool with their creativity, energy and entrepreneurial spirits,” Conneen said. “If you didn’t make it last year, don’t miss this year’s event.”
If You Go
What: 5th Annual Brevard Children’s Business Fair
When: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18
Where: The Avenue Viera parking lot
Free to attend and support the 100 kid businesses who each will have a 10’x10’ booth.
Number of Participants Through the Years
Elijah Derbyshire’s harmonic YouTube channel: youtube.com/@CoastalHarmonica