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Young Americans Center for Financial Education and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) celebrated the opening of a boutique section of the RMHC gift shop selling products made by youth entrepreneurs last Tuesday. The mini gift shop, a year in the making, was inspired by the mentor partnership between Maureen Tarrant-Fitzgerald, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s, and 11-year-old Isabelle May, Owner of Charming Wine Charms, and a winning business of Young Americans Center’s Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs, a state-wide business competition for young entrepreneurs.
Maureen first suggested the idea of the shop to Isabelle as a way to help young entrepreneurs sell their products. A common problem for youth business owners is reaching customers while they balance school, extra-curricular activities and work. Developing relationships with existing retail stores takes time, plus stores typically charge a percentage of sales. The result is slim profit margins for youth. The RMHC Gift Shop, on the other hand, does not charge any fees—the young people keep all of the profits from sales.
The hospital provides the physical space, staff and management of the gift shop. Isabelle plays an important role by recruiting other young entrepreneurs. She shops the YouthBiz Marketplace, held twice yearly at Young Americans Center, for unique and quality products that she thinks will sell well in the RMHC Gift Shop—items that appeal to both patients and staff.
Isabelle has big goals for the shop in the next year. “I want to make sure the other young entrepreneurs and I make a profit,” she says. “I also want to make the children at the hospital happy and inspired to create their own business. Starting a business is really fun and you can learn a lot!”
For more information about the RMHC Gift Shop and its youth business owners, contact Maite Wantwadi, YouthBiz Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.