RASPBERRIES LEAD TO ENTERPRENEURSHIP
bramble: a collection of a group of plants — such as blackberries and raspberries — that have thorns.*
They contain dietary fiber and high levels of antioxidants— substances that health experts believe protect cells in the body from damage that they say can lead to diseases such as cancer.
Production and consumption of blackberries, in particular, have been increasing in recent years,…*
Ahh—that last part, that production and consumption of blackberries…have been increasing…would have been good news for a young child who lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the time when the 20th century was changing decades from the 1940s to the 1950s.
That child was me.
At the upper end of Spring Street, my home, there was a thick rambling thorny fruit patch. At some point I discovered its succulent blackberries and raspberries, and also discovered there was a market for them. I started picking blackberries and raspberries and selling them.
That was the second step in my entrepreneurship.
I had already discovered, at the age of 7-years-old, that I had another marketable item: a scar received from a severe appendectomy.
I don’t remember this marketing ploy but my older sister Nancy does. She tells me that after I recovered I offered to show the scar to people for a couple of pennies.
Inflation has raised the price in today’s world. Today I’m willing to show you my unique scar for $2.00.
The raspberries were seasonal. During the off-season I began covering metal hangers with yarn, making them slip-proof—thus preventing clothing from slipping off onto the floor to lie in a disheveled heap that left them wrinkled and in need of ironing, or worse, washing and ironing. Remember, back then women spent hours standing in front of an ironing board manning the iron as they disposed of every wrinkle and crinkle in their clothing.
I soon discovered there was a market for these improved hangers.
Recently I saw a group of these yarn-covered hangers on a church coat rack, and I wondered if there was a child out there following in my footsteps.
After Thanksgiving one year I ordered greeting cards, and began marketing them door-to-door. Unsuccessfully. One autumn evening, after dark, I knocked on a door and a man answered.
“Would you like to buy some cards?”
“No, thank you.”
The negative answer was more than I could take and the tears fell.
Unexpectedly the sympathetic man purchased two boxes of cards.
Fortunately I didn’t learn the lesson of that experience. I didn’t learn that the way to market an item was to break down in tears when I was told No.
In high school I joined Junior Achievement, participating in three companies during my years in the program. In Junior Achievement companies sponsor high school groups who form a company, make a product, market that product, and perform all the practices necessary along the way. One year the product my company made was bellows. I can’t recall the other two products.
The skills I used as a child selling berries, hangers, and cards and my innate entrepreneurship interest persisted into adulthood, during which I’ve created several businesses: a craft/sewing business, a child day care home, a training program for women who want to operate a child day care home, and a child abuse prevention program.
In my current life I am a writer. I hear many writers cringe at the marketing aspect that makes their work a success. In some ways, I look forward to it.
I continued to read the newspaper article on blackberries and raspberries: A research project has begun in Ohio to find ways of increasing the state’s production of blackberries and raspberries as consumer demand for the fruits continues to grow…“Raspberries are tougher to grow in this climate, because they are soft and perishable and humidity can hurt them…*
It’s time for breakfast. I think I’ll add some fresh raspberries to my morning cereal. Yum!