Warwick Valley Middle School students Madison Buliung and Conner Price have been close friends for a while now, but lately they’ve been making a name for themselves as business partners.
In a bit of kismet, Madison recently decided to share her idea for a small business with Conner, only to find out that he had been independently thinking about starting a small business. They had both also envisioned a charity element.
“I had been thinking about starting a small business because you see a lot of kids on social media who are doing that now,” said Madison. “One day I told Conner that I wanted to start a business.”
“Yeah, it was kind of random,” said Conner. “I’d been thinking, for about a week prior to that, that it would be really cool to make a small business – just for fun.”
The entrepreneurial flame was lit.
Candles and charity
“We grouped together and decided that we wanted to sell scented candles,” said Madison.
“The first thing we did when we decided on candles, is we made a slideshow for our parents to get them to, like, hop on board,” said Conner about the investor presentation he and Madison put together.
The plan that the students laid out was to sell a new scented candle each month, with proceeds going to a different charity, which will also change monthly.
The four-ounce soy candles for February will be Valentine’s themed and proceeds will benefit The American Heart Association.
“Our first batch actually just sold out,” said Madison, who also noted that the February scent is Strawberry Lemonade.
Entrepreneurs cum philanthropists
It’s interesting to hear how hybrid learning has helped the entrepreneurs cum philanthropists prepare for their business endeavor.
“It’s been really, really helpful,” said Conner. “We knew how to use all these forms and sheets, and now we’re using them to track orders and hold our information. You can only hold so much information in your mind!”
In fact, the entire candle empire is run from a set of notes in Google, which Madison and Conner evolved into Google Form and detailed spreadsheet for tracking orders and making deliveries. By the way, the candles come with personal home delivery to a Warwick or Chester address.
“We’re trying to expand our delivery area because we have a lot of people who have been wanting to buy some,” said Conner, who added that there have been a lot of people willing to pay for shipping.
Math, home and careers
“We don’t really know how that works, so we’re also doing some study and research into that,” he said.
Madison and Conner give plenty of credit their middle school curriculum for preparing them for this moment, too. Madison says a lot of it stems from her love of math, while Conner cites the lessons of Home and Careers.
“I’d say that those classes have definitely taught us about financial literacy and helped us with the money-handling part of this,” said Madison.
Then there’s music
Both are also hugely involved in the music department. Besides being vocalists in the chorus, Madison plays bass and Conner plays viola in the orchestra. And, both have achieved All-County status.
Madison and Conner are looking forward to continuing the candle work they started, and say they are researching more charities to which they can donate.
The two have tentatively chosen the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide for their next donation, in light of the mental and emotional stresses the pandemic has caused for so many.