- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

WALWORTH, Wis. (AP) - Vivian and Jasmine Ford have the entrepreneurial bug.

The Walworth sisters volunteer at a neighbor’s horse farm, earn tips from Christmas caroling and snag other job opportunities when they pop up.

But their brainchild is Organigirls, a business run out of the Fords’ home and garden in Walworth, just down the road from the Wisconsin-Illinois state line, The Janesville Gazette (https://bit.ly/1SYoN4U ) reported.

Vivian, 11, and Jasmine, 13, sell homemade baked goods, crafts and homegrown veggies from a stand along Alden Road in the spring and summer.

Organigirls began in the summer of 2014, when the two plucked white daffodils from their mother’s garden and began selling them.

With a group of five girls_Jasmine, Vivian and three girls who live close to the Fords_the business grew out of the girls’ strengths and interests: gardening, crocheting and baking. Eventually, the business partners dwindled down to just Vivian and Jasmine.

Some could say the entrepreneurial spirit Jasmine and Vivian have is in their blood. Their parents, Julie and Richard Ford, are entrepreneurs with their own careers.

The girls took a stab at being businesswomen because they wanted to learn about running a business and experience what it’s like to work regularly. It also provides some pocket money. Or if you’re like Vivian, you squirrel away the money you make.

The reason behind the name, as Vivian put it, is simple: “Because we wanted to go organic, and, well, we’re girls.”

Jasmine and Vivian tend the fruits and vegetables in their garden without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Running the business has taught them how to plant and nurture vegetables and which ones thrive in Wisconsin.

Their stock typically includes cherry and Roma tomatoes, squash, lettuce, kale and more.

Like any business, it has had its ups and downs.

The girls have learned about mixing friendship and business and how the weather can put a damper on sales.

They’ve also learned how to manage expenses, the importance of saving and have even created a system to fairly divide their profits based on the work each partner contributed.

The girls had a big year in 2014 and were in their stand nearly every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, holiday weekend and occasional Sunday, flagging down cars and selling goodies. In 2015, the sisters went there maybe 10 times, Jasmine said, because of musical performances and uncooperative weather.

This year, the two plan to welcome a few other kids aboard and staff the stand just as much as 2014.

“We’re learning with every mistake and every year,” Jasmine said. “This year will be better.”

Last year, the two learned that horse manure sometimes adds too much nitrogen to the soil, which can be bad for the plants.

They also learned this: Plant marigolds around the garden’s perimeter. They keep those bunnies from eating your peas, beans and lettuce.

Over the years, Vivian and Jasmine have also become creative crocheters and great bakers. Jasmine crochets coffee cup koozies, hats and baby booties while she’s doing her math homework, and Vivian creates her own natural syrups for snow cones. All are sold by Organigirls.

This summer, people driving along Alden Road will see the handmade Organigirls sign prominently displayed to attract customers making their way to the lakes.

If the sign and friendly smiles fail, the girls will rely on last year’s Plan B: the neighbor’s kittens.

“We had so many teenage girls stop,” Vivian said.


Information from: The Janesville Gazette, https://www.gazetteextra.com

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