Go back to Chapter Three
That weekend at Maya’s, we didn’t dance to Taylor Swift at all. We didn’t watch a movie, we didn’t play games. We didn’t even eat sundaes! From the moment we rushed in on Friday night, all we did was make bracelets.
“Whoa!” Maya’s mom said as we sprinted past her. “Maya Angela Martinez! What did I tell you about running in the house?”
“Sorry, Mom!” Maya shouted without stopping.
My mom walked in and was shaking her head with a big smile on her face.
“Hola, Camila,” she said as she helped us carry plastic bags from the craft supply store down to the basement. “Sorry about this. I feel like this is a little bit my fault.”
“Oh,” Mrs. Martinez shrugged and relaxed a little, giving my Mom a side hug and a kiss on the cheek. I tapped my toes impatiently. “No hay problema. It’s no problem,” she said, slipping into the mix of Spanish and English she always did when she and my mom were together. “In fact, I think this business idea is a pretty good one. As long as you all don’t get sick of it, and we’re left with a house full of half-finished bracelets,” she said sternly, turning to me.
“Oh no,” I said seriously. “This is my dream.”
Mom laughed then but stopped when I looked at her. “I know, Cara Bear!” she said. “I believe in your dream!”
Mom really did believe in my dream. I told her about my idea to build a business and use math to figure out how much to charge for the bracelets we sold when I got home from school after our class on percentages. She was checking emails at her laptop at the kitchen counter while I was telling her about my day, looking up every so often and sometimes pausing to peek out the window and make sure Jack, who was playing outside, was still alive.
When I told her about how all the girls in our class had asked us to make bracelets for them, and about how I’d suggested we make it a business, Mom stopped typing and took off her glasses.
“What?” I said immediately. When Mom takes off her glasses, it means that things are getting serious.
“Tell me more!” Mom said, sound excited, which just made me excited.
I told her about how I remembered what she’d said about how she uses math at her business to make sure things run. And I said I remembered that it had cost $36 to make six bracelets, and how Bailey had then done fast mental math to figure out that that meant each bracelet cost $6 to make.
“So now we’ve got to figure out how much to charge for our bracelets so we can make a good profit and keep it going,” I explained.
“Very smart, Cara Bear,” Mom said. “I’m proud of you, honey.”
I know she meant it, too, not just because Mom doesn’t say stuff she doesn’t mean, but also because I heard her telling my dad about it later that night when they thought I was asleep, but I was getting up to get a glass of water from the bathroom that’s right next to their room.
“She encouraged her friends to start a business and start it smart,” Mom was saying. I paused, because I knew they were talking about me.
“She’s a bright one, that’s for sure,” Dad said. “And she’s awfully creative, too.”
“Oh, don’t try to make her an artist!” Mom groaned. “Why can’t you just let me have my little businesswoman?”
“Well now, why can’t she be both?” Dad said back. And then I heard Mom laugh and what sounded like a kissing sound, and I ran away because ewww.
On Friday before going to Maya’s, Mom took me to the craft store to buy more supplies. When we had checked out, Mom handed me the receipt.
“Here you go,” Mom said seriously. “This is your first business expense. You need to pay attention to this and make sure you know how much you’re spending versus how much you’re earning.”
“Should I put it in a folder, like I have for my math homework?” I asked.
“Yes, I think that would be a very good idea,” Mom agreed.
Once we got to Maya’s, I showed everyone the receipt.
“Ok, girls,” I said. “This is it. This is our first business document.”
“Oooh,” said Perry.
“This is so exciting!” squealed Anjali.
“We need to decide how much to charge,” said MacKenzie. “I think that’s really our first order of business.”
“Yes, I agree,” I said. “I was thinking, what if we charged $12? That way, we would earn back all the money we spent.”
“I don’t know,” said Rory. “That might be too much. I know most of the girls in the class only get $5 a week for allowance, and some get $10. I think people would be likely to save one or two weeks’ allowance for our bracelets, but probably not three.”
“That’s a good point, Rory,” said Maya. “Should we make it eight dollars?”
“That’s only about 33% profit,” said Bailey quickly. “It would take us forever to earn something really worthwhile.”
“Well, what about if we charged $10?” said Perry. “That kind of seems like a good middle ground. And if we did that, then we’d make…” she scrunched up her face. She looked at me and her face fell. “I don’t know,” she said.
“Sure you do,” I said encouragingly. “If $2 more is 33% profit, then what’s $4 more?”
“Maybe 66% profit?” she said.
“Exactly!” said Bailey, unable to keep herself from talking about math any longer.
“That sounds like a good amount to me,” said MacKenzie.
“And $10 just has a nice ring to it,” said Maya.
“Ok,” I said. “All in favor of charging $10 for each bracelet and keeping $4 for profit?”
“Hear, hear!” everyone said in unison.
And then, we got to work.
Earlier that day, Maya and I had made an order form that we’d passed around to all the girls in our class. By the end of the day, we had nine girls signed up to order bracelets--the five from our class, two from the other fifth grade class, and two fourth graders who’d heard about it from their sisters. When we got to Maya’s, the first thing Rory did was transfer the hard-copy order form to a digital spreadsheet.
We then set up a sort of assembly line, so we could make the bracelets as efficiently as possible. We decided to make more than the nine that had been ordered, in case some girls decided to buy two, or in case other girls saw them and wanted to make an impulse purchase.
While we were designing the jewelry, we started talking about what each of us would do with her share of the profits.
“I can’t wait to buy new soccer cleats,” Bailey said. She’d been eyeing new ones for a while.
“I think I’m going to take a coding class,” said Rory.
“Good one!” sang Anjali. “I’m going to buy sheet music for my guitar.”
I knew exactly what I was going to do with my share of the profits, but I didn’t want to say it out loud; I knew Anjali would roll her eyes and Perry would make a joke about it. But all I wanted was to take the profits and put them it back into the company, so we could buy higher-quality beads, make cooler designs, and make Brookies’ Bracelets something that would really last.
On Monday morning, we brought the bracelets to school, and all of the girls were thrilled.
“Ooooh,” said Priya. “They’re gorgeous!”
“I want that one!” said Yuting. I saw Mackenzie perk up and smiled; Yuting had pointed at a bracelet she’d designed.
“We have enough bracelets for everyone,” I said. “And we’re charging a very fair price of $10.” I bit my lip. When we’d made the order forms, we’d told the other girls that we would be selling the bracelets, but we hadn’t told them how much they would cost.
Priya nodded. “Okay,” she said. “I brought in $20--all the money I’ve saved for books, games, and accessories--just in case.”
“Can you hold mine for me until tomorrow?” fretted Desiree. “I forgot to bring in my allowance today.”
“Yes, we can,” said Rory, whipping out her phone and typing furiously into the spreadsheet she’d saved in the cloud. “We’ll check back in with you tomorrow, Dez.”
By lunchtime, we had sixty dollars, which Maya was keeping zipped up and very safe in an old makeup bag of her mom’s.
“Don’t let go of that bag, Maya!” said Perry wildly.
“I won’t,” said Maya calmly, biting into the colorful salad she’d brought from home. Perry visibly relaxed; we all knew Maya was the best person to trust with this kind of thing.
“Sixty dollars,” said Rory, shaking her head. “Already ten for each of us,”
“Well, minus the expenses,” I said, thinking of the folder with the receipt from the craft store.
“And three more orders to fill tomorrow,” said MacKenzie matter-of-factly.
“I can’t believe it,” said Bailey.
“We’re gonna be rich!” said Perry.
“Shh!” I told her, because I didn’t want to jinx it. But I couldn’t help but think about how big our little company could grow, if we just kept making some more money to help it run.
Continue to Chapter Five
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