From my Mom
Engaging in commerce with a teenage entrepreneur amazes many folks and they wonder how it came about and where his parents fit in. Since in this situation I would be wondering exactly the same thing myself, I have decided to make a brief appearance to fill in some details that the kids will find very boring, but the adults may find interesting and possibly reassuring. My name is Jan, aka Connor’s mom.
So why were the science kits Connor got as a youngster such a problem? From my perspective, the biggest drawback was the need for my oversight. That meant Connor had to contain his excitement until I had the time to help him get set up. A big part of that was hunting down all the additional required materials that the kit did not include. I also wanted to make sure he followed the confusing directions for good results. If he/we messed up—that was it—no more ingredients, no more science kit, and no more happy kid.
This was a boy who spent forever carefully picking out each science kit at the store. If his allowance was involved, double that to infinity. And my expressed wish that he hold off until I could assist worked as long as I was available immediately. Has anyone else out there had this experience? If so, then you know what’s coming…
Fast forward to the science kit torn open, contents spread out everywhere, house ransacked for the additional stuff needed to get started, directions gone into the black hole that only exists in kids’ play spaces, the experiment conducted according to Connor’s sense of logic, and results that usually disappointed or removed the finish from my counter. Connor found the finish remover results fascinating—me not so much.
Now, I’d like to say here that if Connor had had simple, clear directions and enough materials to turn right around and do the experiments again, he would have been a very happy camper, and much more successful.
Fortunately, by fourth grade, Connor had solved the problems he was having with science kits by making his own and sharing them with friends. At the same time, he made life for us adults much easier:
- Kids 8 years and over can go ahead and get started on their own with an adult’s approval. Everything they need is included and the house is safe from ransacking.
- Experiments are simple and straightforward…no huge book to sort through.
- Ample materials are included for repeat experiments so kids can make their own formulas and try approaches that interest them. You’d have to buy multiple other kit brands to get that benefit!
- Connor’s kits are about as non-hazardous as they can get, and have been safety tested by an independent laboratory.
- Play and exploration is emphasized over exact results.
- Best of all, the kits are designed by a kid for kids—not by a bunch of adults trying to capture a kid’s point of view.
Who is This Kid Anyway?
Connor was in fourth grade when his father and I realized that he was getting passionate about scientific inquiry. Not only that, but he was doing a great job sharing the fun of his experimentations with his friends. Hmmm, I thought…this is beginning to look like a science kit-making project. On a whim, I suggested he and I make some real kits and sell them at a local crafts festival. That was a lot of work, but just as much fun, and a great success. I had no idea, however, of what I had gotten myself into!
Connor turned out to be about the world’s best kid-aged salesman. He showed kids how much fun his kits would be, encouraged parents and family to buy them for gifts and special treats, and to my astonishment, counseled some fascinated teachers on the best way to introduce their students to the concepts covered in each kit. We brought about 75 kits that day and they flew off the display. Wow!
Well, that was in 2004, and I don’t think my son has looked back once. As he matured and I realized he was only growing more committed to taking his company national and beyond, I began to re-think his educational process as well as my immediate life plans. Connor’s father and I have spent the past few years creating a flexible educational situation for Connor so he could carve out time to build his company into the well organized and fun enterprise you experience when you visit his website or pop open a kit. It’s been a long haul, but well worth it!
My job has now become co-manager and corporate partner. Connor manages the core business and I serve as support help: detail-person, general assistant, reality-check, and for now, chaperone at meetings and conferences where that is appropriate (which is pretty much everywhere). Connor’s wellbeing and safety are a priority for his father and me, so we are closely involved with the day-to-day goings on.
This website is Connor’s triumphant ramp-up to big-time e-commerce and we all hope you love it!