Maumelle girl advances in business competition

By Tammy Keith Originally Published December 27, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 27, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Rachel Frank, 10, made the second round of the Young Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) with her business plan to make paper-bead bracelets. She makes them from the colorful ads in magazines.

— Rachel Frank of Maumelle is a 10-year-old entrepreneur, and she is already considering expanding her business.

Rachel, a fifth-grader at Christ the King Catholic School in Little Rock, won the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase for Arkansas in her first year to enter.

“I can’t believe I made it on my first try,” she said.

“You have to write a business plan and submit the business plan,” she said.

Rachel makes bracelets out of colorful pages in magazines.

She said she was at school, where her mother teaches, when she got the news that she’d won.

“I screamed and ran out of the room,” Rachel said. “I was really excited.”

Her company is one of 25 chosen out of 204 companies, she said.

In addition to placing for her business plan, Rachel won the inaugural T-shirt design contest.

The design features the outline of the state with two children, dollar signs on their shirts, holding hands.

It can be viewed by going to the website www.aeafoundation.com and clicking on Y.E.S. for Arkansas.

“It’s really cute,” she said. “What really astounds me is my design actually won.”

Rachel said she will receive an award for that honor, and the top 25 students who made it to the showcase will get one of the T-shirts.

Her mother, Paula, told her about an idea of how to make bracelets out of magazine pages.

“My mom’s really into recycling, so she shows me all these cool ideas on recycling,” Rachel said.

“She showed me some YouTube videos. You tear all the ads out and mark triangles on them, which my mom is teaching me, then cut the triangles and string them on a bracelet. It was hard at first, but it got easier as I got used to it.”

The name of Rachel’s business is The PB&J Style Co., but it’s not what people might think.

It stands for Paper Beads and Jewelry Style Co.

“It gets people interested,” Rachel said. “The first thing that pops into their mind is peanut butter and jelly. They ask me a question, then we get into a conversation, and then I’ve got the sale,” she said with the confidence of a seasoned saleswoman.

Paula said her daughter

inherited “the gift of gab” from several relatives, including her great-grandfathers, who were entrepreneurs.

Rachel said another reason she picked the bracelet project is that the entrepreneurship program “really likes upcycling — stuff you don’t have to have a machine to do it.”

She said the bracelets have a glaze to protect them, although they shouldn’t be immersed in water.

Rachel has made 21 bracelets to date and sells them for $3 each, or $4 each for custom colors.

She sells them to her classmates and in the neighborhood, “but I’m thinking to expand,” she said.

The Y.E.S. competition is for students in grades five through eight, led by teacher advisers, and is managed by the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, an affiliate of Arkansas Capital Corp.

The competition concludes with a showcase event in which finalists display their work.

Rachel said she will make about 100 bracelets to take to the showcase, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 18 at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock.

“We’re actually selling them to anyone that walks into the mall. Judges will be looking to see how you’ve done,” she said.

The design of the booth will be taken into account, the marketing material and “how are you different than others that sell paper beads?”

“They’re also going to ask you questions,” she said.

That won’t be any problem for Rachel, who communicates as well as many adults.

“I really like crafting a lot in my spare time. If I’m not reading, I’m working,” she said.

She’s also involved in Girl Scouts, a recycling club, band (where she’s a percussionist), volleyball and basketball.

Rachel said she wanted to be a veterinarian until her dog died; then she changed her

career focus.

It’s something she’s been interested in all her life, she said.

“I want to be a paleontologist. Most girls don’t want to dig in the dirt all day.”

Then, again, Rachel isn’t most girls.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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