J-Rock’s Pop Shares Business Advice at ArtHouse’s First Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop / by ArtHouse Gary

J-Rock’s Pop Shares Business Advice at ArtHouse’s First Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop

Jayden Hammond started his own vegan popcorn business, J-Rock’s Pop, when he was just 12 years old. Jayden, who is now 13, got the idea for gourmet, vegan popcorn from the movie nights he would have with his parents and little sister. Before starting the film, Jayden’s mom, Terisa Hammond, who works as a health coach, would pop some kernels while the kids helped to flavor them with various seasonings. Now, Jayden has his own website, www.jrockspopchicago.com, where he sells three flavors of his popcorn: Plain, Classic, and his personal favorite Ethiopian Barbeque. But he’s not taking it easy. Jayden has big plans for the future of his popcorn business.

“Within the next year and a half, I want to have a food truck,” he said. “And I see myself owning at least two to three actual shops by the time I’m an adult.”

Jayden shared the some of the keys to his success with young and aspiring entrepreneurs who attended the experiential Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop held on Saturday February 4th at ArtHouse.

Deciding what type of business to run is easy, according to Jayden. Just take out a piece of paper and finish the question, “Wouldn’t it be cool if ______?” Once you’ve done that, you have an idea on which to build your business.

Ten-year-old Ben Watkins of Gary attended the workshop with his mother Leila Edwards. But Ben didn’t come to learn about how to get an idea for a business. He came to the event to meet Jayden because he, too, is a young entrepreneur. Ben’s business is called Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbeque, Bakery and Deli and it is based out of Miller Beach. Like Jayden, he also took inspiration for his business from his family.

“My dad really liked to barbeque and my mom taught me how to bake so I just thought it would be a good idea,” Ben shared.

After Jayden discussed the origins of his business with the audience, he demonstrated how he makes a batch of his popcorn. He even included his signature ‘J-Rock toss’. After the demo, the attendees were divided into groups and given some plain popcorn and a variety of sweet and savory seasonings. Each group was tasked with creating an original flavor of popcorn, naming it, setting a price point, identifying a target audience, and developing a slogan for their product.

“It was fabulous having a young person here talking about their thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur,” said Arleen Peterson, Community Engagement Coordinator for ArtHouse. “Sharing that is incredible.”

ArtHouse is scheduled to have the next Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop on March 28th. To learn more about that and other ArtHouse events, visit the events page on their website.