By Beth Hauptle
When fourth grader Serena Soldavin dreams, she dreams in pastels, specifically Boo Blue and Silly Nilly, the original names of the blue raspberry and pink vanilla colors of cotton candy. Soldavin incorporated these hues into the Cotton Candy Color Block soap bars that she created for her business, Serena’s Soaps and Scrubs. Soldavin’s soap and a well-crafted pitch won her first place in the elementary school division of Howard County’s Annual Young Entrepreneur’s Biz Kidz Market Day last fall.
Soldavin launched her new business in the month leading up to the Shark Tank-style competition with the help of weekly workshops for “kidpreneurs.” The sessions, which teach Biz Kidz how to start and grow their own businesses, include such topics as goal setting, business pitching, interview preparation, marketing and financial management. The program is hosted by Le’Chic Academy Foundation in partnership with Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.
Soldavin was surprised when the winners were announced. “When I heard my name, I thought that they called the third place winner first,” she says. It wasn’t until she walked to the front that she realized she had won the grand prize. “When they were congratulating me, I kept thinking ‘I really won?’ I was so happy to go home and tell my family about it,” Soldavin recalls.
First place winners are awarded a laptop computer, a custom designed website, business cards and coaching sessions.
Like many 9 year olds, Soldavin enjoys extra curricular activities. She has run two 5k races with Girls on the Run, plays lacrosse, is active in band and chorus and serves as a girl scout. At school she mentors a special needs kindergarten student.
Her future plans include working with animals, “most likely dogs,” she says. She also plans to expand her soaps and scrubs business by launching online sales and showing at local craft shows. She has expanded her product line to include seasonal products, including a fall Sweet Apple Pie Scrub and holiday-themed red peppermint and blue snowflake soap bars.