Acton Academy Omaha

A treasured journey

“I won’t be able to come to the Pop-Up Shop,” she said with disappointment in her eyes, breathing out slowly and glancing at the floor. Her energy slumped like a balloon that was slowly deflating.

I tried to cheer her up – “That’s ok, we’ll make sure your pitch is on our Facebook page and people can see the globes you are selling that way!” Although she was very supportive of her family’s decision to engage in our Session #2 exhibition on entrepreneurship virtually, her eyes revealed her heart.

This was not the first time she had built a business. Last year, at the beginning of her first year at Acton, she had created 3-D printed figures and sold them alongside her sister at our Omaha Acton Children’s Business Fair. She was excited about her product, and yet as strangers passed by her booth, she stood back a bit while her younger sister engaged more naturally out front. So it caught me by surprise this session when she had announced with a confident smile, “I’m doing my OWN booth this year,” and shared the business plan she had obviously put a lot of thought into. Her business? Selling sparkly globes she designed out of varied shapes of glass jars, each with a Lego character inside at center stage. The robot one was her favorite.

Her determination to make the best of this experience surprised us all.

The day of the Pop-Up-Shop finally arrived, and the heroes were ecstatic! As the time came for them to set up their businesses in the gym, a bubbly hum of excitement filled the large space. Some of the heroes had done this 1, 2, or even 3 times in the past. For some, this was their very first time. From peppermint bath bombs, snow globes, Christmas greeting cards and ornaments, to buttons, snacks, masks made into necklaces, intricate paper creations, home décor and business card holders, what a special day it was. With big smiles they shared their businesses over Zoom with some kind, local entrepreneurs serving as judges. With even bigger smiles many took some money they earned and rushed over to another friend’s booth to purchase something their eye had caught. Some sold out! Some brought in over $100 in revenue! Some had the courage to stand with their booth for the first time and share what they were selling. So many moments of growth and confidence to celebrate!

As we reflected on this experience the next day in the studio, we also got to hear from our heroes over Zoom who had set up their businesses virtually. We were curious to hear how it had gone for them.

We sat with wide eyes and gaping mouths as she announced with bubbling excitement, “WE BOTH SOLD OUT!!”

“Whaat?!” We had to know what happened.

“Well, I wasn’t getting any sales, so I decided to pack up my globes, put my mask on and went knocking on doors in my neighborhood and asked if they wanted to buy a globe! And my sister came too with her button business. AND WE SOLD OUT!!”

Her face again revealed her heart. Confidence and satisfaction glowed from ear to ear. Last year, reservation. This year, boldness.

Boldness in the face of adversity.

Who knew that staying at home and engaging virtually would offer her such a beautiful opportunity to prove just how empowered she really was!

Where did this boldness come from?

She built it, one day after another. It’s revealed in the moments of victory, yet built in the moments of challenge. Challenges like sharing her voice and holding her friends accountable in the studio. Challenges like showing integrity and holding herself accountable to her promises. Challenges like taking a big project, like starting a business, and with courage break it down into manageable parts so it doesn’t look so scary.
Each day, growing upon the last, transforming challenges into precious gems tucked away inside.

A treasured journey, indeed.