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For Crafton Elementary school students, loom business is booming

| Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, 3:20 p.m.
Crafton Elementary School 4th graders Shelby Palmer, 9, (left) and Sydney Jarvis, 9, display their Rainbow Loom figurines for sale during lunch. Proceeds from the sale will go to animal friends and to save Panda bears.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Crafton Elementary School 4th graders Shelby Palmer, 9, (left) and Sydney Jarvis, 9, display their Rainbow Loom figurines for sale during lunch. Proceeds from the sale will go to animal friends and to save Panda bears.
Crafton Elementary School 4th graders Shelby Palmer, 9, (left) and Sydney Jarvis, 9, take orders for their Rainbow Loom figurines for sale during lunch. Proceeds from the sale will go to animal friends and to save panda bears.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Crafton Elementary School 4th graders Shelby Palmer, 9, (left) and Sydney Jarvis, 9, take orders for their Rainbow Loom figurines for sale during lunch. Proceeds from the sale will go to animal friends and to save panda bears.
Crafton Elementary School 4th graders Shelby Palmer, 9, (left) and Sydney Jarvis, 9, take Rainbow Loom 3.   inventory of their Rainbow Loom figurines for sale during lunch. Proceeds from the sale will go to animal friends and to save Panda bears.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Crafton Elementary School 4th graders Shelby Palmer, 9, (left) and Sydney Jarvis, 9, take Rainbow Loom 3. inventory of their Rainbow Loom figurines for sale during lunch. Proceeds from the sale will go to animal friends and to save Panda bears.
Mary and Joseph Rainbow Loom are for sale during lunch at Crafton Elementary School.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Mary and Joseph Rainbow Loom are for sale during lunch at Crafton Elementary School.

Crafton Elementary School has two young entrepreneurs with customers lining up at lunch with money in hand.

But rather than purchasing food, they are waiting to place orders for Rainbow Loom items.

Back by popular demand, Shelby Palmer, and Sydney Jarvis, both 9, spend their lunch period operating the second annual Rainbow Loom Christmas Sale.

The girls make everything from Christmas trees to Disney's “Frozen” characters out of the colorful elastic bands.

“The more elaborate the design, the higher the price,” said Shelby. Item prices range from $2 to $9.

The $2 designs can be made in about five minutes while the more expensive ones can take up to an hour.

The girls sold about $200 in items last year and plan to match that amount this year. Eleven percent of this year's profit will be donated to Animal Friends, a non-profit animal shelter where the Jarvis family recently adopted their Australian mix pitbull.

The remaining revenue will be split between the girls to be used at their discretion.

“I wanted to teach the children about being good Christians and a role model, and to do so you have to make sacrifices,” said Dana Jarvis, Sydney's father. He also oversees the sales.

Dana said his family is avid watchers of the ABC show “Shark Tank,” which features Mt. Lebanon native Mark Cuban, and wants to teach his children how business works.

“I want them to know they don't need to be the person that works for others when they can be the person that manages and leads,” Dana said, who also teaches business courses at Duquesne University.

Originally slated to sell for three days, popular demand led the fourth-grade students to extend their sale an extra week.

“You look at them during lunch and see two responsible ladies working to please their customers,” said Andrea Mackey, the students' teacher.

In addition to their lunch period, Sydney and Shelby use their afternoon recess period to stick around the lunch room and sell to the younger students.

Shelby said the idea to sell bands came from Rainbow Looms rise in popularity last year.

This year their offerings have expanded. Their hottest items are Olaf and Elsa from “Frozen” but have said many teachers have shown interest in characters such as Spider-Man and elves as well.

The girls make the bands separately after school, dividing the work with about a two-day turnaround for each order. Each have their own kits and buy packs of 600 bands at a time for only a few dollars. They receive about five orders a day.

They said the work has helped teach them business skills.

“We've learned it is a business and you have to prepare in advance for a lot of stuff,” Shelby said.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or afelser@tribweb.com.

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