For Kids: Create and Sell Sprouting Jar Kits

A home business assembling and selling sprouting jar kits taught one young boy how to set priorities, handle money responsibly, and plan for the future.

| January/February 1983

  • sprouting jar - Joshua Wood assembling kits
    Running his own "at home" assembly line, Joshua can put together a case of sprouting jar kits in half an hour.
    Penny King
  • sprouting jar - sales display of sprouting kits
    The author with an attractive and educational display of sprouting jar kits.
    Photo by Penny King

  • sprouting jar - Joshua Wood assembling kits
  • sprouting jar - sales display of sprouting kits

I have my own home business: making and selling products that I call Sprout Jar Kits. Each package of sprouting jar equipment consists of one wide-mouthed quart canning jar, a lid ring and screen, two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds, four tablespoons of mung seeds and a three-page instruction pamphlet. The kits cost me 90 cents to make, and I sell them for $2.00 (wholesale) or $3.00 (retail) apiece.

My business started as a home-schooling project. (My family are Seventh Day Adventist Christians, so I've never gone to public school. Our religion honors the seventh day — Saturday — as holy; looks forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ; and teaches that home is the best place to live, work, play and study.) And I've certainly learned a lot from my selling experiences.

For one thing, I've begun to understand how to use money (as well as how to make it!). I record all the cash I get or spend, so I can keep track of expenses, income and profit. Furthermore, since putting kits together takes time, I'm learning about discipline and setting priorities. I'm finding out about how to deal with customers and storekeepers, too. (Mom helps me a lot with this part of the job, though, because I'm a little shy.) And my parents tell me I'm probably even learning some lessons without knowing it!

When I started the business, my stepfather bought 13 cases of wide-mouthed canning jars, 8 feet of fiberglass screening, 25 pounds of mung beans and 10 pounds of alfalfa seeds. All that cost $89.99. I've since sold cases of completed kits to natural food stores, restaurants, food wholesalers, a fruit and vegetable stand and a large independent grocery store. My mother's cousin even sells the kits in her beauty parlor!

My mom and I made signs to promote my product. Some of them say, "GROW FRESH AND NUTRITIOUS GREENS ALL WINTER LONG! ASSEMBLED BY JOSHUA, 10 YEARS OLD." Others say: "SPROUTING IS EASY, ENERGIZING, ECONOMICAL AND ECOLOGICAL. A GREAT GIFT FOR YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE." We put a few of the posters in a grocery, and that store has sold the most jars of any place I've tried!

Of course, my friends and relatives have bought some, too. For example, my great-aunt and her granddaughter once came to spend a few days with us. They had never even tasted sprouts, but by the time they left, they both liked the little greens so much that my great aunt bought them each a sprouting jar.


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