From the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneur

Question: I'd like to start a homebased retail business. I'd make and sell beaded and string bracelets to vendors such as Claire's and After Thoughts. I'm only 17 years old and lack a business background. How do I start?
Jennifer Jackson
Via e-mail

Answer: Because you're thinking about selling to vendors, we checked Claire's Web site and noticed it sells bracelets for $2 to $4. The company probably buys products at about 20 percent of what it sells them for, so you'll need to figure out whether selling your bracelets wholesale will cover the cost of materials and the value of your time.

You're not likely to sell as many bracelets retail as you might wholesale, but you can charge more per item. Most community zoning restrictions won't let you run a retail shop out of your home, but you can sell retail at crafts fairs and via a Web site, as an increasing number of craftspeople are doing. Start with Janice West's book, Marketing Your Arts and Crafts (Summit Publishing Group).

Consider your age not as a hindrance, but as an advantage. You're at an age that allows you to benefit from a program that has helped young people become entrepreneurs since 1919: Junior Achievement (JA). JA (www.ja.org) offers classes as well as opportunities to plan, start and operate a business with the coaching and mentoring of experienced businesspeople. Check out the central Pennsylvania program at http://juniorachievementcp.org. For more on JA programs, see "Pulse".


Many successful entrepreneurs got their start at age 18, 13 or even younger. Whether you're a kid or a kid at heart, get the information you need to start a business in How to Be a Teenage Millionaire (Entrepreneur Press), available at smallbizbooks.com and at local and online bookstores.



Small-business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is The Practical Dreamer's Handbook(Putnam Publishing Group). If you have a question regarding a start-up business issue, contact Paul and Sarah at www.workingfromhome.com or send it c/o Entrepreneur.