Wednesday Jan 26 2011
Budding entrepreneur grows success as Anna Sprout
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
From doing the books, to sales, this 10-year-old runs her own plant business
The entrepreneur behind a new, growing company is a 10-year-old Franklin Elementary School student. When Anna Azevedo decided she wanted to take horseback riding lessons, she set out to earn the fees by starting an eco-friendly plant business she calls Anna Sprout. Anna said she attended a craft fair where plants were being sold and came up with the idea of doing something similar to pay for the lessons, which cost $40 per session. “I didn’t want my parents to pay … I want to earn it myself,” Anna said. With a loan for start-up costs from her parents, Jennifer and Jim Azevedo of Granite Bay, Anna put her plan of creating mini-gardens to work. Clippings were taken from the family’s ivy, kangaroo ferns, grass and peace lily and planted in sand and soil in small glass containers her grandmother, Nancy Linn, had purchased at garage sales. “We paid my grandma for the containers … it’s 50 cents per glass, and that’s our budget,” Anna said. Other expenses included a license to sell nursery stock, a business license, and filing and publication of a fictitious business name statement. She also purchases plants from nurseries. Customers placed the first orders in early December through a new website, Annasprout.com, and as a result of e-mails Jennifer Azevedo sent to her contact list. Business really picked up, though, when Azevedo posted the plant service on Facebook. “We got a lot more orders … we’ve probably sold 150,” Anna said. Current sales have totaled $820. While expenses are at $1,238.33, Anna isn’t worked because the amount includes orders that have yet to be delivered. To keep track of finances, Anna uses accounting software on her mother’s iPad. Because Anna is under age 18, there were licenses that Azevedo had to apply for in her own name. However, Anna Sprout is Anna’s business, Azevedo said. “Her natural sense of business is inspiring,” her mother said. “She does all the accounting, all the planting, all the growing. I’ve shown her how to do all those things, to teacher her.” The entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family. Azevedo said Anna was inspired by her brother Nicholas, who makes wallets out of duct tape and has marketed them at a Franklin craft fair. Working with Anna, Nicholas and his Franklin Elementary sixth-grade class are currently involved in a project to help pay for science camp. The students are selling gerbera daisies planted by Anna that will be delivered to the school for Valentine’s Day. Anna said she is pleased with the progress of her business. “It’s gone a lot further than I thought it would,” she said. But she’s not satisfied with the status quo and hopes to expand into retail in order to afford lessons twice a week and be able to compete in horseback competitions. Jennifer Azevedo, who owns a real estate brokerage firm, said she is very proud of her daughter’s first foray into the business world. “The biggest thing … is to not be afraid to try something new … to pave your own way, create your own future and circumstances,” she said.