Harlow Wilkinson is a confident young woman with an innate talent for business and marketing who connects easily with her customers. Wilkinson sells pottery, handmade journals, willow heart decorations, and hand-dyed towels through her business, I am a verb. Despite being only nine years old, she’s already won two trophies from the Children’s Business Fair, one for Strategic Professional and the other for Passionate Overcomer. She has an eye for decorating and designs her booth to be a cheery, happy place where customers love to shop.
Edge: Why did you begin making pottery?
Wilkinson: My mom teaches a pottery class, and I absolutely loved it. So, I thought, why don’t I do something that everybody will love? It will make them happy, and they’re also useful.
Edge: Can you tell us about the products you make for the Children’s Business Fair?
Wilkinson: I want to sell something different every year, so if my repeat customers don’t want to buy the same thing again, they can still buy something else.
My pinch pots are tough to make and time consuming. I do light pastel colors because I really love those colors together. It’s always super exciting for me to get the pinch pots back and see the color they changed into. The pinch pots are useful as a spoon rest, to hold beads and rings, or even for holding jam for a charcuterie board.
At Christmas time, I made little willow hearts using willow branches that people can use to decorate their house. They are really festive and pretty.
I used watercolor to decorate my journal covers. Those are my favorite things to make because they’re thin, and you can fit them in your book bag or purse. Plus, they’re easy to make because I just use paint.
Edge: Why do you use natural fibers and dyes for your products such as the tea towels?
Wilkinson: As a baby, I had severe eczema, so my mom had to buy natural fibers for me, and I wanted my products to be beautiful and useful for people like me. The tea towels I sell are, believe it or not, made from avocado pits, and they turn out pink!
Edge: Do you have any advice for kids just starting out?
Wilkinson: Sometimes the things you make don’t work out. One time when I was painting glaze on my pinch pots, I put the glaze on too thick. When we got them back from their second firing, they had bubbled up. I couldn’t sell those because they were a mistake and people don’t want to buy something that is broken or cracked. Another challenge I have is starting too late, and then I don’t have enough time to make all of them. For kids out there, you have to start early.
Edge: What other interests do you have outside of your business?
Wilkinson: I also love reading, and I am learning piano.
Edge: What do you like about homeschooling?
Wilkinson: You get to stay at home and be with your mom all the time. And then you really build a relationship with your parents or whoever teaches you, and I love that.
Edge: What’s your favorite part about running your own business?
Wilkinson: I love to create things and decorate. When you get to engage with art, it’s so fun! I also love talking with my customers and feel like it’s a gift from God.
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