As many of you know, we have been homeschooling the boys on the road. While I started out as the ‘teacher’ it didn’t take long until our acting ‘principal’, my dearest wife, supplanted me in this role. While some may contend, and rightfully so, that Bex is a far more gifted (and patient) teacher than yours truly, I am often left to wonder: Did the students (Matthew – grade 2, Josiah – pre-K and Toby – preschool) surpass their father’s intellect at a slightly faster rate than anticipated? It is noteworthy to mention that I have maintained my honorary teaching status for a few critical subjects including recess, colors (art), health (potty training), numbers (math), and PE.
Which brings me to the newest course that I have been constructing for the boys: Entrepreneurship 101. Back in the summer, after fending off multiple requests to buy a new Lego set, our MBA level course came to life.
“Hey Daddy, can we cook up some more of those cinnamon rolls”, Matty asked.
Professor responds, “Sorry bud, you guys are eating us out of camper and home. Kitchen is closed until lunch.”
Grasshopper replies, “They’re not for us. I want to sell them to the people around the campsite.”
…Class in session.
Matthew, Josiah and I worked together to cook up the final package of rolls, which looked (and smelled) delicious as icing melted over top of their “product”. We stepped out of the camper with Toby joining us to complete the trio in what they fondly refer to as Three Brothers Bakery.
We reviewed each brothers assignment. Matthew, with gooey treats strategically placed on the plate, carefully held with both hands, rehearsed his lines. Josiah, the money man. And Toby, seated on my shoulders, was ‘upper management’, smiling and waving to potential “customers” as the boys approached each campsite.
Boss Baby and I stood just far enough away to hear the interactions as the boys approached their first ‘prospect’.
Matthew softly asked, “Good morning. Would you like to buy a warm, fresh cinnamon roll?”
“How much do they cost?” the grey-haired lady replied.
“Uhmmm, 50 cents”, young Matty answered.
“I’ll take two please.”
After Josiah received payment, the boys sprinted back, almost spilling the other 6 rolls off the plate, and showed “the mini boss” the team’s very first George Washington.
While the boys were off to a great start they received friendly declines at the next 5 campsites. I asked my sons if they wanted to call it a day but perseverance won out as they decided to press on.
It took about 25 minutes, but the boys sold the remainder of their inventory (well they technically ate 3 but who can blame ’em;). The trio seemed to almost float back to our camper with glee and soon quarters danced with excitement on Josiah’s bed as los hermanos celebrated.
And while they thought class had been dismissed their proud professor made his way back to their room with notebook and pencil in hand.
“So what did we learn today, gentlemen?” I asked.
Matthew and Josiah walked me through each sale, the total money they had collected and their respective part in cooking and distributing the product. We then worked through the numbers: cost of goods sold ($1.50), profit ($5.75) and their hourly earnings rate. Lastly, each of the brothers provided their feedback on how they felt everything went and if there was anything they could improve in the future, while Daddy furiously scribbled down their thoughts.
One of the ideas that surfaced was to find out what feedback the customers might have. After writing up a few surveys, Matthew strapped on his helmet, mounted his bike and rode the half-page forms back to each of the 5 campsites where purchases had occurred.
Since the opening of Three Bros. Bakery, the boys have sold product in 4 different states including Wyoming, Montana, Wisconsin, and New York, and have even ‘opened up’ an international office in Nova Scotia, Canada in August. Most recently, one of the boys received an A+ for his ingenuity by asking the following question,
“Daddy, do you think you could make some extra coffee in the morning that we could take around to sell with our rolls?”
At this point, I’m not sure who is more excited about learning, me or my students. But either way, we are having an absolute blast in this educational pursuit of excellence.
And while they haven’t yet nailed down their online sales platform without infringing on Insomnia Cookies business model, I believe the boys may just find a way to get a sweet cinnamon roll soon delivered to your doorstep.
Happy Thanksgiving friends.
Here are a few of our favorite items to use while we bake: