Lemonade stand teaching girls financial lessons

A couple in Henderson is taking a hands-on approach to teaching their children about work and money — they’ve helped their three preteen daughters create a profitable business and now they’re working for their kids.

Stacy Rocheleau and her husband Rock, both attorneys with the firm Right Lawyers, worked with their daughters — 10-year-old Jessica and twin 12-year-olds Jordan and Jenna — to develop Family Fun LLC, a large-scale lemonade stand the girls operate at local events.

“They are in charge… we work for them,” Rocheleau said.

She comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so she feels it is important that her girls learn financial lessons. Her hope is to empower her girls and teach them that they are in control of their destiny.

It’s working. The girls have banked thousands of dollars in profits and are busily expanding their product line.

After some initial help with setting up the limited liability company and some capital to get started, the girls were off and building their business. The girls “play an active role” in all aspects of the business, Rocheleau said.

Together the family spent four to six months developing a solid business plan. Jessica, Jenna, and Jordan were intricately involved in selecting a product and creating a unique recipe. The girls held taste testings while working to develop a strawberry lemonade with just the right ratio of sweet to tart.

The youngest of the group, 10-year-old Jessica, created titles for each role. There’s a “casher” who runs the register, a “shaker” who shakes the lemonade, a “maker” who mixes the lemonade recipe, and a “backer” who makes sure they are stocked with water, ice, change, or any other items they might need. The parents are usually “backers,” allowing the girls to run the show.

Along the way, the girls are learning to deal with aspects of banking, insurance, and health department regulations.

Family Fun launched its business earlier this year at a St. Patrick’s Day event. Averaging one event a month, Family Fun has recorded profits of a few thousand dollars per event.

Next up is the Super Run, a classic car event in Henderson Sept. 24-26. There, the girls will debut their latest menu item: coffee.

Many of these events are well established. It can be difficult just to get your foot in the door. But it’s hard to resist these young entrepreneurs who are quick learners. Family Fun focuses on developing solid business relationships with the coordinators of events, the girls said.

Kathy Blaha, a public information officer for Henderson, said “they’ve done real well” at the last few events and “recently expanded to include frozen hot chocolate.”

The girls agree they also are learning to get along better with their siblings.

Jessica, the youngest, shared that she has learned “how to deal with people and make things for them” and the experience has also taught her about getting “a reward like money.”

Jordan “likes working with family” and is proud of the fact she “learned about money basics … how to break up hundreds” at the can register.

Jenna likes getting “to meet lots of people.” She is excited about the new menu items. She “learned how to make mocha (and) caramel mocha” and she learned important skills like “measuring, (using)a blender” and how to clean up.

And, of course, there are lessons about handling the proceeds. They have learn about saving, choice and responsibility.

The girls are learning about gross and net profits along with expense deductions and other aspects of business obtaining a sales tax license, a Nevada business license, and the Southern Nevada Health Department permits required for each event.

Among early decisions was to use initial profits to repay their parents for their capital investment in Family Fun.

They have established three goals for their profits: college, cars, and cellphones. Jenna, an aspiring chef, has expressed interest in attending Cal Poly — San Luis Obispo; Jordan, who has expressed a desire to open a dog walking business, is considering UNLV or UNR, and Jessica has hopes of attending UCLA before working in fashion design.

Their mother said that by working for their own money, the girls also are earning a sense of accomplishment and life skills.

“If it profits, great; if it doesn’t, great because what they are learning, the customer service aspect — they know how to treat customers, they learned to count change” and many other skills they wouldn’t learn at this young age if not for this experience.”

One of the surprise aspects of the business experience has been the tips.

Rocheleau said that the girls put the business profits into savings but “they get to keep any tips that they get.” And the tips have been running about $100 per event.

Recently, one of her daughters purchased some items at a book fair. Rocheleau said she heard her daughter say “that was the best feeling; I got to buy whatever I wanted because it was my choice because it was my money.”

Rocheleau said “the pride in their faces” is truly memorable.

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