Entrepreneur in the Making


Eli Sylvester recently got my attention as I experienced first-hand this young entrepreneur in action. In August, Eli joined his father, Eddie Sylvester, owner of Natural Landscaping Service and trail crew leader of Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association (SABA) for a morning of work on a trails project in the school's T.O.L.C. (The Outdoor Learning Center). When a parent takes time to include working alongside his 4th grader on an adult project, it always makes a favorable impression on an educator. No question, Eli was comfortable and curious in the great outdoors as he worked and asked questions.

Our school's Outreach Coordinator, Dana Bolyard, was on site capturing some pictures of the progress with the walking and mountain bike trails. As we moved away from the work, I noticed that Eli headed towards his dad's truck. I assumed he was taking a break.

This eager entrepreneur proved me wrong. I would soon learn that Eli noticed the opportunity to target another audience with yet an additional aspect of his growing business skills. He walked up to the two of us and held out his hand filled with several small containers of what looked like liquid sunshine in the morning light. I smiled as I realized that Eli's mom had also been sharing her craft and business with this eager learner.

Eli proudly explained that he had made the essential oils in his mom's shop Blue Moon Elise, a thriving yoga, wellness and body care products business located in downtown Murphy, NC. I silently said, "Way to go, Rachel, for also giving Eli the attention and time to learn from your many talents."

Dana and I listened intently as he explained the different fragrances. It seemed we both asked at the same time. "Are these for sell?" For a brief moment he, almost shyly said, "Well, I have not finished figuring out what I should charge."

"Not a problem, Eli. Just let us know when you have some ready for sale." The look that came over his face was that of a seasoned salesperson. This time he spoke with full confidence. "I'll let you have them for $7 each."

Neither Dana nor I hesitated. We fell fully for his quick turn-around as we each pulled out the cash. This young man had spotted two potential customers, read their interest in his product correctly, and made a quick, on-the-spot decision to go for the sell.

Eli walked away smiling at his well-earned money. Dana and I spent only a moment wondering whether we had paid too much for such a small bottle. We both knew we had invested in a young entrepreneur in the making.



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