By: Brendan Fitzpatrick
As a Dad of 4 young girls (yes, 4 girls!, that’s 5 in the house with Mom!) it amazes me to watch them grow up in this electronic age. Surely watching any kid grow up in any generation is equally amazing, just different. I’m constantly comparing them to the way I grew up. I’m 46 now but I have to say that I started programming since the age of 10 so I tend to view myself as someone with more experience than most my age (as my kids run circles around me with their iPhones and Social Media posts which is just weird to me :).
With the exception of a relatively short period of time (1998-2007) computers have been my life. After High school (which I graduated in 1998) I decided to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree. 20/20 vision of history tells me that I probably would have done much better if I pursued a Computer Science degree, none the less I finally got my Masters in Computer Engineering and I was fairly successful on Wall Street which I don’t think I would have had a shot without my degrees. I still feel that by chance I could have been “more successful” if I stuck with computers during the birth of the internet. And by “more successful” I don’t mean money, successful to me mean being happy and having a fruitful family life.
With my experiences I’m constantly looking at my daughters lives to see if there is a “better path” for them or maybe I’m just being a paranoid Dad who wants the best for my girls.My oldest is just 10 years old so I recognize how crucial this period in their life is. In general, all of my kids are “connected” to the internet and after several minor issues (random posts of images, random people “friending” them on their Social Media) it struck me like a bat in the head, I need to educate my girls on social media to ensure that they grow up as responsible teens and eventually adults so that they don’t “ruin their careers” or draw unfavorable attention to themselves via social media.
I’ve had online storefronts for 10+ years now that have been fairly successful (extra cash for the weekends at best), as a result I recently realized an opportunity that I thought could put my daughters on the right track. Being in the “Anniversary Gift” industry for some time now I decided to pick a category that would be interesting to them. If I could find an “interesting” category or product then I could use that to keep them motivated and eventually educate them on every level of social media. I quickly determined that “Bracelets” might be the answer.
To shorten an already long story, we opened TheBraceletShoppe.com late 2016. I made sure that my 4 girls weighed in on the domain name and that they would all pick the products to be made available on the site, and Yes, this includes my 4 year old! Don’t worry, we have a voting process that ensures each product has a majority vote between us to ensure that the quality is good. I also made sure that they were actively involved every step of the way, I made them enter product SKU’s, prices, brochure pages and comments in a spreadsheet (how many 10 year olds and younger do you know that have managed a spreadsheet?). It hasn’t been easy but I’m able to constantly motivate them to find new products and post social media by informing them that they can have any new bracelet that they find as long as they put the effort in to managing the process.
My kids are slowly being introduced to the concepts of procuring products, sales, shipping, spreadsheets, communications, entrepreneurship, marketing, advertising and more while putting the concept of “Social Media” into perspective. More importantly, I get to do this with them on a daily basis! I couldn’t ask for a better life experience and Yes, I have thought about offering this to other parents as a Parent/Kid activity “Class” but we’ll see how this works out over the coming months first.
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