Posted by: laughs4dads | July 19, 2010

Greed is Good

I’d like to introduce you today to Hannah Altman, of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

She is an entrepreneur, with a growing e-business ( selling pencil toppers, which are cute little things that go on the tops of pencils for no apparent reason. So far, Hannah has sold over a quarter million of them, which is slightly more traffic than this blog would get, if I visited it every day under 249,990 assumed names.

Like many entrepreneurs, Hannah is driven to succeed and works very hard. Unlike many entrepreneurs, Hannah is nine years old.

This raises two very important questions:

  1. People still use pencils?
  2. Why the hell have I been screwing around going to school and writing advertising for the past 47 years?

Hannah has a lot of support from her parents, who run a home-based business selling zipper pulls. So if you need essential accessories for your zippers or your pencils, the Altman family are the folks to see.

Hannah is also quick to point out that she takes time out from her busy money-making schedule to be a kid. In an online article by Carol Berman, Hannah is quoted as saying, “”I have school, I play basketball and soccer, and play hockey and baseball at home. I always just find time.”

She plays baseball at home? You mean enough money can be made selling cute pencil hats and things to hang off your pants zippers that you can have a baseball field in your back yard, like Kevin Costner? Or maybe their house is so big the baseball field is inside it.

The article also quotes Dan Kindlon, who teaches child psychology at the Harvard School of Public Health: “”I think in this culture we tend to downplay kids’ abilities. Kids used to be economic assets for the family. We keep children as children in this culture far longer than most other cultures. Kids are usually capable of more than we give them credit for.”

Well, that’s true. We used to need our kids to till the fields or work in sweatshops for 10¢ a day when we were immigrants living in tenements with no indoor plumbing and an alarming tendency to burst into flames.

But our economy doesn’t work like that anymore. If the economy keeps going like it is, we may get back to those good old days when our children were “economic assets,” if only to be able to afford our cell phone service. In the meantime, however, I think most of us would say that, economically speaking, our children are firmly on the debit side of the ledger.

My daughter, Casey, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. When she was just a little older than Hannah, she created something called “Flatty Pets,” which were cute little animal pins she designed and made out of a clay called Sculpey. She sold a few at a crafts fair, but she could never get over the major hump of having Chinese people manufacture them in large quantities so she could actually turn a profit.

But lots of kids seem to be starting businesses these days.   The same article mentions 14-year-old Jason O’Neill, who has a booming online business selling…pencil toppers (!

In conclusion, I just want to say that we should all encourage our children to make lots of money. Alternatively, we could all just invest in the Dixon Ticonderoga company, because people must be buying an awful lot of pencils!




  1. I remember Flatty Pets – and selling them @ the Holiday Happening I think… I had a purple dog, cost me $5 – and she made no profit?! She did off me! Haha

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