For most kids and teenagers, summer is a time to relax, enjoy a break from the rigors of school and spend time hanging out with friends.
But for 12-year-old Jonah Daniels, summertime brings an opportunity to work on a business that he launched last year with the help of his parents, Roxayn and Jamey.
It all started with a Grade 5 school project in which Jonah, a part-time White Rock resident, prepared a speech about youth entrepreneurs. Inspired by the amount of young people starting businesses that he discovered while researching his speech, Jonah came up with the idea to start his own venture, selling homemade, all-natural popsicles.
“My mom always made me eat a lot of healthy foods,” Jonah explained. “So instead of buying popsicles at the store, she made her own, and very healthy.”
Called Rebel Pops – to highlight the family’s rebellion against processed, unnatural foods – the frozen treats are sold by Jonah at White Rock Farmers’ Market every Sunday, as well as at markets in Maple Ridge and on Granville Island.
The popsicles are made of organic fruits and herbs sourced locally and blended into unique, original creations – plum vanilla spice, peaches and cream and huckleberry wild rose are just a few examples.
“It usually takes a few different runs to fine-tune a new recipe,” Roxayn, the ‘ice-pops designer’ said. “We get inspiration from different places – maybe a jam that we’ve made, or a tea that we’ve tried.”
Jonah said he helps his mom make the hundreds of Rebel Pops each week – a “very labour-intensive” process – but said the aspect of the business he most enjoys is meeting customers at the markets.
“I really enjoy the energy, it’s such a happy energy,” he said. “I love seeing people walk away with a smile on their face, enjoying our product.”
With a keen interest in business, Jonah said he’s researching different ways to improve their marketing, how to source out the best-quality ingredients and how to improve their customer service.
The family hopes to expand into other local markets, or perhaps into local health-food stores.
For Roxayn, seeing her son so passionate about their business venture is a source of inspiration.
“I’m continually amazed at what he can do at his age,” she said. “Kids can do a lot more than people expect sometimes.”