How a Cookbook Taught Young Girls Entrepreneurship | 08/29/2016

Special thanks to the lovely Jane Harbison for sharing her story creating a cookbook and business empowering young girls! I think it's ...

Special thanks to the lovely Jane Harbison for sharing her story creating a cookbook and business empowering young girls! I think it's amazing what she has been doing... Check out more about what she's doing at dreamingbigforlittlegirls.com!

copyright The Teentrepreneur


It can be hard to get entrepreneurial experience as a teenager before being confident enough to delve 100% feet first. That is why “Cookbook” was created.


Twelve blossoming youngpreneurs (under 15 y/o) have been inspired to take an entrepreneurial journey, where they are featured with their favorite gastronomic creation in a first of its kind cookbook.


“Sparking entrepreneurialism with our young is setting them up with foundational tools that they can use in all aspects of their life.”


Jane Harbison, an accountant, designer and first time children’s cookbook author has provided an opportunity for kids to be entrepreneurs. Jane started the venture with a recipe competition and was thrilled with the variety of entries.


The idea came to Jane after spending a year designing gifts for girls. She wanted to create something that was lasting and tangible but also involved the girls she normally designed for.


“We value quiet confidence in young girls because this supports resilience and an ‘anything is possible attitude’. Confidence, we feel, is gained in large part by doing things. That is why all our products encourage doing. We feel this cookbook is a great way of facilitating that.”


Engaging Australian chef Alison Alexander, twelve young ladies were very excited when advised they had been chosen. Interestingly only 1-2 recipes on average per cookbook are used. Because Jane wanted to increase the chances that all of the girl’s favorite recipes were used only twelve were selected. The recipes were allocated among the different meals of the day to make it even easier for mums, dads and kids.


The cookbook was successfully crowd funded through Kickstarter to commence the design and printing process. With 81 backers and 125 books pre-sold it took 6 months to design and print. A lot of work goes into preparing a successful crowdfunding campaign, one that Jane was prepared to invest in on behalf of the girls.


As well as contributing to the content of the book the girls could participate in profit sharing. They could earn $3 per book for every copy they sold. Jane Harbison Design (JHD) has taken a lot of the risk out of publishing a book for them, but they still get to experience the selling process. Importantly they got to experience earning their own money and choosing what they will do with it.


The Profit Share Program works by buying the book for A$13.95 from JHD. It is then sold by the youngpreneurs for A$16.95. By having the girls responsible for selling the book and profiting from it they have learnt sales (cold calling family and friends), marketing (on social media, flyers at school etc.), packaging and distribution (mailing the book), simple invoicing and payment into their bank account.

Every book they sell, contributes to reaching the magic minimum 5,000 copies that makes a best seller in Australia. Those copies can be sold anywhere in the world and have currently gone to twelve countries.


This is such a simple program and we have made it available to anyone, anywhere around the world. It is still available to anyone who chooses to seize the opportunity.


The girls are then interviewed, and their story is put up on the Dreaming Big for Little Girls blog and linked to social media, for others to view. They are asked how they went about selling the books and what they learnt from the experience. Here is a link to Kate Plowman’s successful venture on Dreaming Big for Little Girls.


This experience is taken one step further. Some stories are sent to media outlets such as local magazines, national radio and newspapers. This gives them exposure to media at an early age and contributes to their confidence.

In addition girls have been invited to accompany Jane to speak to over 600 school children for Book Week and present at the Book Launch. Partnerships including a cooking segment on stage at one of Australia’s largest Agricultural Shows and a children’s Cooking Class with celebrity Australian TV Chef, Dominique Rizzo, have been exciting experiences for the girls.


“It has been a great opportunity for the girls involved. They have saved, spent and shared their hard earned money in interesting ways. Some of the organisations that have benefitted include Indigenous Literacy, Our Rainbow House, and Foodbank Australia.


“Looking at acquiring real life skills, this little book with its simple recipes and powerful purpose, is a great source of inspiration for doing just that.”


Jane Harbison

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