Benjamin Singel started making buttons in 2005, when he was only 6 years old. Now he's an experienced button-making entrepreneur.
And from the very beginning, Benjamin was able to make the buttons himself, using our Model 225 button make machine.
Benjamin's mom, Kimberly says, "We love the machine". "It is easy for Benjamin to use."
When Kimberly first called and spoke with me in 2005, she said they had read most of the articles on our web site and with what he learned, Benjamin was ready to start his own button-making business.
Benjamin even came up with the name for his business, which he called "Ben's Deluxe Buttons."
After receiving his button machine, Kimberly stayed in touch and from time to time, sent me photos and stories about what Benjamin had been doing.
Benjamin's video and story have been an inspiration to many people who will think to themselves, "Gosh, if a six year old can do it, I probably can, too."
I'm very proud of what Benjamin and his parents, Kimberly and Matt, have done. And I very much appreciate their willingness to share their stories and their button-making and button sales strategies with others.
Whether you're thinking about making buttons for fun, for profit, or for fund-raising, I'm sure Benjamin's story will inspire you to take action.
Thanks Benjamin... keep up the good work!
Updates from Ben's mother over the years
We received the machine Friday. Over the weekend we worked on graphics and made several different designs. We found it was fairly easy to create buttons and Benjamin loved the process. He insists in making all the buttons - however, I cut the buttons out with the AC-1 circle cutter.
We found by putting a dot on the die that you put the shell, graphics and mylar into, it is easy for him to remember the steps to make the buttons. He doesn't have problems making a button... he got the hang of it quite quickly.
In all, we made about 115 buttons to get our feet wet and work out any kinks. We were having so much fun, we did not realize we had made this many. If you pay attention to centering, we found it is hard to make a bad looking button.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to do more than just make buttons. You also have to market the buttons you make and Kimberly says Benjamin wasted no time marketing his.
We brought some of our buttons into his elementary school. He made one button for each classmate and we handed out 5 free buttons to the school's front office. We put 4 samples into the PTA President's mailbox and by the end of the day, we got our first gig selling buttons at a school fundraiser!
He's not had the machine a full week and he's got opportunities. We'll send photos from the first event being held this Saturday (shown above). Thank you for all of your support and your attention to detail. Not too many companies have this level of service.
I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we've had with this button business and how it is helping to teach our young little guy about money and business. It is boosting his self esteem and teaching him more computer skills. I've learned quite a bit, too. I 'm sure we'll be ordering a batch of 1000 pin backs shortly.
Benjamin Sells Over $60.00 Worth of Buttons His First Time Out!
Kimberly wrote to say that Benjamin sold $63.00 worth of buttons at his very first event. Here's what she had to say.
Ever since Benjamin's button machine arrived last Friday, we've been having a ball!
Saturday we spent the day promoting "Ben's Deluxe Buttons & More" at his school's Fall Festival. We were able to get our feet wet, donate money to the PTA and earn some cash for the little business man to get a small treat and reinvest back into the business. It was not too crazy and we made a modest beginning, but learned alot. In all, 18 buttons were sold from 11:00am to 3:00 pm. We were at a booth among many games and moonwalks where it was only 50 cents to jump or play games. We priced ourselves higher as we knew we'd only get serious button lovers and we wanted to maximize whatever interest we got. Benjamin donated $40.50 to the PTA & took home $22.50. We generated interest from other folks who liked the idea for their organization or booster club.
I thought for sure that once we'd get there to set up - Benjamin would abandon ship to go play the games and jump in the moonwalk. He lasted 1 1/2 hours before departing the booth. He took a few breaks at times but was loyal to the task- especially for a 6 year old!
This morning at the bus stop his bus driver asked for us to supply a quote for 50 buttons for all the school bus drivers. Benjamin made him a free button because he is quite fond of him. The bus driver said everyone went completely crazy over his button & they all want one! This is going so easy. All you need is a little imagination and the desire to get the buttons out there and it works for itself. I'm enjoying the creativity part of it and Benjamin loves making the buttons. He assists in selecting the graphics and we're all learning more about the computer.
Thanks so much for the fun times. We've made a big deal out of this business venture for Benjamin because frankly he's bored with Mom & Dad working all the time. This has given him something to concentrate on and instilled business ethics in him.
Week #3 in the button business
Week #3 in the button business Benjamin got an order for 25 buttons and the kids at school are still asking for more buttons. He's given some buttons away without collecting money first and we suspect this will be a learning experience to collect the money up front! We usually wear a few buttons when we go out in public and almost always people ask us about the reason for the buttons. We'll need to work on converting more of these inquiries into sales but have gotten an order or two by wearing them.
There were so many comments made to my husband & I about how no one teaches their kids how to earn money for themselves anymore...especially in the town our kids go to school in, Southlake. Many folks liked hearing his button making spiel and _the button machine intrigued people of all ages_. At times we felt like we were putting on demonstrations or having a circus show because there would be groups of people watching in awe of this young man and his magical button machine.
After we packed up, we went to a hamburger place to eat and low & behold the superintendent of our school district walked in with his family. He came up to Benjamin & asked how his business was doing. I was very impressed! His buddy, Blake, helped in the booth and we almost doubled what we made Saturday. The boys worked hard and did a bang up job. I get so tickled to hear them talk with customers. When we sell an item, we replace it so we are always in motion. It is some work to sell $2- $3 items before you make a significant earning. Attracting customer's attention was our first goal. The kids would say hello to the people walking by & start into their talk. I must say that our booth placement right in front of the main entrance could not have been better. He's very lucky to have landed this spot.
Our marketing idea of "The Stocking Stuffer Stop" worked out nicely. The mirrors made great stocking stuffer gifts. When people got it, they ordered multiple mirrors (5-7) for the ladies on their list. We sold the mirrors: 1 for $3.50 or 2 for $6.00. We sold about 50. We used a 5' high locker and put magnets all over it to give a good visual. This made selling the magnets alot easier than our first attempt (sold them 1 for $3.00 or 2 for $5). We also classified our buttons to make selection easier. All the football buttons were altogether in the sports section. We had a musical instrument section, text message buttons, dog breeds etc. By having the buttons in groupings, it was easier to tell if we needed to make a replacement if we forgot what we sold. Initially we tried baskets but that didn't work so well. Our pin back buttons were 1 for $2.50 or 2 for $4. Almost every time, people bought more than one item. Even though it is a lot more to say , "the cost is 1 for $___ and 2 for $___ " it made a difference.
Drum roll for the tallies.... We made $237 on Saturday...(somewhat disappointing.) We rallied and made several more button designs to offer the 2nd day. We also switched a few things around in how we display things on the table and brought in $484 _day 2 for a grand total of $721 for this craft fair. Add this in with the other earnings to date & he has $1,658 in this first month of fundraising. Matt & I are amazed that Benjamin has earned over 1/3 of his trip in 1 month's time. We also are doing a church bazaar this weekend and are now looking for other shows. Since we've done a lot of prep work, adding shows will be easy. Benjamin & his friends think it is a blast to sell buttons!
Benjamin's 3rd grade teacher was at the craft fair. She said she knows Benjamin will make his goal because he's a determined kid and when he makes up his mind, he's going to get it done. This weekend was a lot of hard work, but it was also very rewarding on so many levels. Someone overheard that we didn't get the community newspaper delivered to our home because we lived in Grapevine so someone brought in their copy to give us...a total stranger. Other people heard we were collecting aluminum cans, too and they said they'd give their weekly cans to us so we can recycle them. It is really terrific how the community is supporting him. What a _wonderful journey_ it has been. Thanks for all your good thoughts because we certainly received many blessings as a result. I wish you could witness this journey alongside of us but hopefully the updates will help. Your "Yes I Can" motivation has helped Benjamin get off to a great start. Who knows what will happen next. Somehow saying THANK YOU isn't enough! Dr Don, you're the best!
One event was a fundraiser for his school's chapter of National Junior Honor Society where he serves as the Vice President. The school district had a Homecoming Carnival in the football stadium parking lot and his organization asked Benjamin if he could make some special buttons for the event as a fundraiser. His fellow members worked the booth under his guidance and they made a little over $300 in 3 hours - so $100 an hour AND boatloads of fun for the kids. Kids can be excellent sales people and have a great time without realizing they are expanding their people skills.
Then Benjamin did an outdoor PetFest at a new dog park and he showcased a number of animal and school spirit buttons. Outdoor events are a bit more challenging in dealing with the wind so you need to be prepared to handle wind gusts- a tent helps but paring down the supplies is a good strategy. The rest of the booths were indoor craft shows. Each event offered different sized booths so you have to be flexible. Benjamin likes to bring the button machine and do demonstrations as this attracts interests. Sometimes he lets another student make their own button with the machine if there is time and they seem capable. Even men are fascinated by how this incredible little machine works time & time again without electricity and a few simple pieces. We are ready to do any kind of button on the spot: Pinned-Back, Magnet or Pocket Mirrors. We take custom orders and give out loads of business cards with his button event schedule listed on the back. Benjamin was lucky enough to have a large 5" x 7" colored photo listed in the local newspaper again this year of him & pals in the booth.
By being at public events and having contact info: Benjamin gets business all year long- including bulk orders. This week, he is working with a non-profit organization who want at least 300 buttons. Despite having just turned 13, people see Benjamin as dependable & professional and they refer him to others. Two years ago, Benjamin was able to raise all the tuition to go on an educational trip abroad to Canada. Now he is selling buttons to help him attend mission trips with his youth group at church to help people. Last year he went to Tulsa, OK to help do maintenance on a school in need of refurbishment. He learned carpentry skills in the process of that week. This summer, he will go to Joplin, Mo to assist tornado victims rebuild. He has discovered the joy in giving to others. Through out all the button selling steps, Benjamin's public speaking skills have blossomed, organization skills have been acquired and the self esteem he has realized in making these opportunities for himself has been tremendous. Dr Don's support has been such a blessing and our gratitude is overflowing for him in serving as a mentor.