Six-year-old businessman gives 50% of profits to charity!

Posted by Ryans Dad on 25th February 2010

After saving for the last few months, Ryan’s hard earned profits had grown to the point where it seemed time to make his donation to United Way of Broome County. So, yesterday I picked him up from school and we headed over to the United Way offices here in Vestal, NY to do just that. Ryan had decided on his own long ago that he would give a full 50% of his Work Builders profits to United Way. This was his first chance to put that plan into action.

Ryan shows off his blocks for the TV cameras.

Ryan shows off his blocks for the TV cameras.

Last week I contacted United Way to let them know Ryan wanted to make his donation. They were already aware of his charitable activities supporting Toys for Tots and SOS Shelter as well as his intentions for supporting United Way once his profits accumulated. In fact they have been very supportive of everything Ryan has been doing helping to spread the word and even buying some of his blocks.

When we arrived there were already two TV camera crews there and two more would come shortly thereafter. There was also a reporter from the local newspaper who had come for the story. They took a little time to interview Ryan as best you can with a six-year-old and he shared a bit about the day’s donation and how he had raised the funds. At one point Ryan was surrounded by four TV cameras and a photographer. That was without counting me. I did come prepared with camera in hand and took a few photos of my own! Ryan seemed to take it all in stride. I was able to find the news report done by News 10 Now online. You can view the video here.

Ryan with Mr. Alan Hertel, Executive Director of United Way of Broome County.

Ryan with Mr. Alan Hertel, Executive Director of United Way of Broome County.

Next Ryan got to meet Mr. Alan Hertel, Executive Director of United Way of Broome County, who was looking forward to meeting Ryan and would personally accept his donation. Mr. Hertel waited patiently as did the room full of news crews as Ryan carefully counted out the money he had brought to donate, $60.00 in all. Ryan then gave his donation to Mr. Hertel and in return received a receipt for his records. I’ll talk with him more about that later. Mr. Hertel talked with Ryan a bit about how his donation helps United Way and some of the things United Way does for our community. Before he was done, Mr. Hertel also bought a set of blocks from Ryan. A nice surprise that added to the fun.

When Ryan left the United Way offices he had a smaller stash of money in his shiny money box, but I do believe he had a bigger smile than the one he arrived with. He really enjoyed making his donation and I enjoyed watching him.

25Feb

What would you pay for Easy Builder building blocks?

Posted by Ryans Dad on 28th October 2009

What would you expect to pay for a set of Easy Builder building blocks? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

As the date approaches for Ryan’s story to air on WICZ FOX 40 TV I’ve had a growing concern, pricing. As things currently stand, we are simply not able to make any money. There just isn’t any profit margin. Maybe this is another learning opportunity with Ryan. So far I have truly left all final decisions throughout this endeavor to Ryan. The question of product pricing has been one he’s expressed strong opinions on from the start.

Ryan’s preference has been to keep the pricing of his blocks as low as possible, very low. His thinking? If the price is too high no one will buy the blocks. NO ONE. However, the pricing he started with was excessively low. $1.15 per set to be exact. At that time he was selling only through personal arrangements with his grade school friends who simply do not have any money to begin with. Even at pricing below $2.00 per set, the vast majority of those original sales were never paid for. It makes sense and it is something Ryan has learned from.

Easy Builders muslin carrying bagSo, a week or two ago Ryan and I did a little math to figure out what it really costs for us to produce these sets of blocks. The results were eye opening for both of us. For Ryan it was a big surprise to see how much it really costs to make his product. For me the eye opener was in learning which of the materials represented the greatest expense. It was the paint, followed by the nice muslin bags we are using as packaging.

So now with an accurate picture of what our costs were the discussion moved to what we should really be pricing the Easy Builder building block sets at. Ryan’s initial answer was… the exact cost we had just arrived at. So, Dad continues with the discussion in hopes of a better answer. Ryan’s final decision on the matter left us with less than $.50 “profit” on each set of building blocks sold which is where our pricing currently stands.

Now I worry that should we get a surge of sales (even a small surge would be significant) by virtue of good publicity with the upcoming tv news story broadcast, will we find ourselves spinning our wheels? Without any appreciable profit margin we create no income for Work Builders and we also are not able to support charity as Ryan intends.

Easy Builders building block set - 12 blocks with carrying bagSo the question I would pose to you here is simple. What would you expect to pay for a set of Easy Builder building blocks? Each set contains 12 blocks of varying sizes, they are sanded smooth and painted as you see here. The blocks are sold with a nice muslin carrying bag and there are a number of color choices you can choose from. Please leave your comments right here in this blog post. I appreciate any feedback you might be willing to offer. Keep in mind, Ryan will be giving some of this money to charity. More info on that coming soon!

28Oct

A reporter, a video camera and Ryan’s story…

Posted by Ryans Dad on 25th October 2009

Update: Ryan’s story is scheduled to air on Thurs. Nov. 19, 10:00pm news broadcast.

Today we had a special visitor at our house, Chris Whalen a reporter for FOX 40 WICZ TV here in Binghamton, NY. Chris was here this morning to capture some more video and get some interview footage with both Ryan and I. Fox 40 is planning a story which will run sometime in early November about Ryan and his Easy Builder building block business.

Ryan was excited to have the reporter here and to have a chance to tell people about his business. Chris captured video of Ryan and I working on some building block sets, cutting wood, sanding and painting the blocks and finally putting them into their muslin bags for delivery. Then he spent a little time interviewing me followed by Ryan.

I’ve been second guessing everything I said in the course of that interview ever since, but I think it went ok. Ryan did great with his interview answering questions and showing his excitement for the whole project. It’s a difficult thing for a 6 year old to handle something like that and I felt good about how well he did.

Now I am left with an odd feeling not knowing how their story will come across after they have edited the footage and put their spin on the story. I am used to being on the other side of the camera and being in control of that side of the equation. It is a daunting feeling to have the presentation of Ryan’s story now out of my hands or control. I am sure they will do a great job, but I have to concede that I will not be comfortable with it until I’ve seen the final result. (fingers are crossed…)

Around the house, I always joke with my wife about who gets the most media notice. Her work puts her in that position from time to time and I have had my moments occasionally in the past. But now Ryan is on track to muddy the waters in that regard. Why not. Go Ryan, go!

As soon as we know when Ryan’s story will air on Fox 40 WICZ I will mention it here so you can catch it if you are interested.

Categories: Easy Builders,Media
25Oct

Ryan’s 15 minutes of fame starts today

Posted by Ryans Dad on 14th October 2009

Ryan delivers more blocksToday was another delivery day for Ryan, bringing two full sets of Easy Builder building blocks to friends in his after-school program. This delivery had a bit of a twist to it though. This delivery would have media coverage!

Earlier in the week our local Fox network station (FOX 40 News WICZ-TV) contacted me having heard about Ryan’s project. They wanted to tell his story. After some discussion with Dawnie (Ryan’s mom) and with Ryan himself, we decided that it sounded like fun.

I made a point of being at Ryan’s after-school to see how it all went. Right from the start all of the kids were excited. Yesterday they had heard that this would be happening so when they arrived and saw the Fox News van in front of the building they were anxious to get on with things. Once all of the kids were assembled in their room, with the camera rolling Ryan gathered the two sets of building blocks and delivered them to his two “buyers”. There was a bit of camera shyness but I think all of the kids really got a kick out of having the news camera there and especially with the idea that they might all be on TV sometime soon!

They took just a bit of footage of Ryan making his deliveries today. My understanding is that they are planning to come to the house this weekend to get some more video and more of an interview with Ryan and either his mother or I. We are yet to have those details firmed up, but Ryan is looking forward to that just the same.

Here comes at least part of Ryan’s “15 minutes of fame”.

Categories: Easy Builders
14Oct