Young entrepreneurs had a chance to showcase their creations Saturday during Keiki Day at Haleki‘i Farmers Market and Craft Fair in Kealakekua.
The market, started in December by Ka‘ea Lyons, has become a launching pad for keiki interested in starting a business and selling their wares. On Saturday, it was a celebration of keiki. Free activities, entertainment and hula were available during the family-friendly event. Jonathan’s Helpers provided a free hot dog lunch for all keiki in attendance. The celebration was supported by Lyons’ halau, Ka‘eaikahelelani.
Lyons started the keiki entrepreneur program in March as an addition to local artist and vendor booths at the weekly market in the parking lot of the Kona Grill House.
“I wanted children stuck at home to have a place to showcase their talent and learn life skills,” Lyons said. “The intention of the market is to create a safe place to come and uplift the community.”
Twelve-year-old Sage Dumaguin was selling cookies Saturday at her booth. She started baking sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies and has since expanded to crinkle cookies, which are cake cookies rolled in powdered sugar and baked.
“I started baking when I was 4,” she said. “I like it.”
Her flavors include strawberry, chocolate, lemon, orange, peanut butter, pistachio, ube and pineapple. The youngster plans to expand her line in the near future. Dumaguin also takes special orders on Instagram.com/sages.goodies.
“We sell out every time,” she said.
Sisters Malia and Kirra Werner shared a booth with their products. Malia makes and packages shimmer body spray she calls “Angel Dust” available in a variety of colors. On Saturday, she was offering a free scrunchie with every purchase.
Kirra was selling her product, “Sunset Daze,” which is a homemade mineral oil lip gloss.
“I came up with my business and started packaging,” the 12-year-old said. “I like having a business and having something to do. And I like to shop.”
When she grows up, Kirra sees herself as a business owner with a bakery and surf board shop.
Jade Esparsen is an ambitious 12-year-old. She received a laser engraving machine for Christmas and has been custom-making wood and tile pieces of art ever since. Her mother found out about the keiki entrepreneur program and started expanding Jade’s inventory to include cutting boards, decorative art, coasters and business cards, among other items.
Next she started creating resin epoxy items, with small animals being her best-seller.
“I like working with resin. The experience is good,” Jade said.
She said business was good and she was looking to expand to other markets.
“I was at the Honda market and next week will be at Kona Commons,” she said.
Besides selling her items through her Instagram account (kiddingaroundcreations), she is designing a website with help from her teacher at Kealakehe Intermediate School, where she will be able to take custom orders.
“I never thought I’d be doing this,” she said, adding that half of the money she makes goes into her bank account and the other half goes into buying more materials.