Bath Junkie Teaches Girls About Dollars and Scents
The one-week camp, geared toward girls ages 11-15, teaches them all about building a business.
When Bath Junkie owner Katie Cantor was 11 years old she never thought about starting her own business. It wasn't because the New Orleans native didn't want to, but rather because she said it was just something she didn't know was possible.
But after graduating from college at the peak of the recession, Cantor put together a business plan and applied for small business loan. Three months later, the former photography major opened a franchise of the Arkansas-based company that had given her her first job. From applying for permits to painting the interior, Cantor became a hands-on entrepreneur and hasn't looked back.
Since opening the North Avenue bath emporium—a birthday party-staple for girls ages 7 and older—nearly three years ago, Cantor has learned much about the ins and outs, pros and cons, and benefits and challenges of starting her own store.
The 25-year-old business owner will share her hard-earned knowledge this August when she co-hosts a week-long camp geared toward girls ages 11-15. The workshop will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13-17.
Cantor's objective is to help tweens and teens recognize that entrepreneurial opportunities abound if they are open to them. With 200 fragrances to choose from, girls will be given money at the beginning of the camp to use to make purchases toward creating their own product. They will also have a chance to develop their own business and marketing plans. At the end of the week, the girls will create a window display to showcase their innovations.
Joining Cantor in her quest to impart the entrepreneurial spirit is Kris Silvestry, owner of Berkeley Heights-based Peace of Mind Counseling. Together, the business owners believe the camp will be unique and creative but also an empowering, confidence builder.
"There are lots of fun camps out there but we want this camp to be so fun but quietly informative at the same time," Cantor said.
Cantor said she has drawn inspiration from watching her 14-year-old sister design headbands and cards as she creates her first business venture.
"It's that age where you kind of start to experiment a little bit with businesses, (like) lemonade stands," Cantor said. "We wanted something that would encourage them to really get their hands in something. At the camp they're going to get money and they're going to have buy their raw materials and figure out how much it costs to make something and how much they should sell it for, market the item and package it. We really want them to—while having a great time—build self-confidence and learn about themsleves a little bit more. This experience will be really useful."
Throughout the week, the girls will participate in activities that strengthen their public speaking skills before making presentations before the group. The camp also includes a walking tour of Westfield during which local women business owners will share their insights.
"We're actually going to take a really fun tour around town and we're going to talk to specific owners about their journey," Cantor said. "We really want quick intros to the best (practices), the challenges, and what it really takes to do what they're doing. There are some incredible women just in this town. We're really gearing toward store front businesses."
Cantor said she looks forward to answering the girls' questions, many of which arise when she hosts parties for Girl Scouts.
"I always talk to the girls about what it's like; I was 21 when I started," she said. "So I talk about what are the best parts, what are the hardest parts, what would I change."
Both Cantor and Silvestry believe that empowering young women to believe in themselves and recognize their strengths can go a long way toward combating issues like dating violence, which Silvestry noted is on the rise among teens.
"It's very hard to be a girl today," the counselor said.
"Young women need more positive role models," agreed Cantor.
Another topic that the camp will address is how to apply for your first job. Depending on the interest level, Cantor and Silvestry said they would like to offer follow-up workshops, either after school or during holiday breaks, after the camp ends.
"Once you open the door, it's really hard to close again so it would be really exciting to see what they come up with on their own," Silvestry said.
"I think the best part of being a business owner is not only accepting my failures but taking credit for my successes," Cantor said. "I like the responsibility of it. I can't imagine doing anything else at this point."
The cost of the camp is $600 per person but Cantor and Silvestry are offering a $150 discount to the next five girls who enroll. Space is limited to 15.
"We're really excited to show people what we have planned and what it's all about," Silvestry said.
Contact Bath Junkie for more information or to register for the camp at email@example.com or 908.264.8633.