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Interview with young entrepreneurs from Henrietta Barnett Grammar School

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Prenderland News and Interviews

Interview with young entrepreneurs from Henrietta Barnett Grammar School

April Prendergast

Firefly are a group of 16 highly motivated and passionate girls from Henrietta Barnett Grammar School who took on the challenge of a Young Enterprise Project and have created a fantastic, glow in the dark, children's book.

We absolutely love their philosophy which is "to teach young children that everyone is special in their own way."  They believe that every child glows without exception and their goal is to send that message to children everywhere.

What was the project brief that you were given?

As a Young Enterprise Team, we were originally asked to start and run our own company based on a product or service. It's a 'learning by doing' endeavour aiming to teach us vital business skills by giving us the opportunity to be really hands on. 

How did you decide what you wanted to do?

We brainstormed ideas for products - particularly, a thermochromic mug, glow in the dark products, a tutoring app and a children's book. Then we developed initial sketches further to help us identify the pros and cons of each one. 

'Felix and Friends' was born from the children's book idea incorporating the educational side of the tutoring app, and the novelty of glow in the dark.

What roles have you all taken on in order to complete the project?

As well as having a managing director, two deputies and a general secretary - we've had to form various teams based on our individual skills. Whilst we were producing 'Felix and Friends' these sub-teams included writing, illustrating and marketing - and the structure has evolved since then to include social media and sales. By putting ourselves into these groups it's much easier to allocate responsibilities, and let people work with what they are best at and enjoy most. 

What is your book 'Felix and Friends' about?

'Felix and Friends' is about a firefly called Felix, who doesn't feel like he has anything special to offer because he can't glow. Along with his friend, Faith, he goes through the woods meeting other animal friends like Nancy, Olly, Bingo and Holly (who all know why they're special) on a quest to find what makes him unique. 

The book aims to teach children that they are all special, even though it may not seem like it. It may just take them a little longer to discover what it is that makes them glow, just like it does for Felix! 

What have you enjoyed most about creating Felix and Friends?

The early stages of producing the book were amazing, because we had all the freedom to design characters, choose names and think about story ideas. We have a team full of talented artists, designers and writing enthusiasts, so being able to play to those skills and put our creativity to use was really rewarding. 

Very recently, we also had a stall at Brent Cross, and we had such an overwhelmingly positive response to the book that it was incredible! We've never been prouder, and in fact our very first customer bought thirty copies to share with his friends! Moments like that make all the effort worth it. 

What have you found most difficult on this project?

We are a relatively large team of 16 girls. At surface value this seems like an advantage - and the variety of skills that this size brings to the table definitely is. But managing such a large team has been very difficult, especially when trying to listen to what everyone wants and attempting to incorporate their ideas. It has, however, been a learning curve, and we've been working better and better as a team every day.

What are your hopes and dreams for your book?

Our vision for the book is to go as big as possible. We believe that our message is unique in this market, and that our characters and the story bring the message to life in the best possible way. The passion that we've put into 'Felix and Friends' means that the sky's the limit, and we'd love to see Felix represented on every bookshelf across the country, championing our cause.

Have you got any plans to write and illustrate more books together?

For now, we aim to focus on what we've already created in 'Felix and Friends'. However, that doesn't stop us from thinking about Felix and his comeback!

What are your favourite children's books?

We have to admit that our market research was probably more enjoyable than it should have been, as we spent a lot of time rereading our childhood favourites. 'The Gruffalo' was a definite winner (our Managing Director has it memorised) along with 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' and 'The Rainbow Fish'!

If you could spend a day with one of the PrenderPals who would it be and why?

Definitely Rosie the Raccoon. She's excitable, chatty and determined - and so are we! At Firefly we're all huge bookworms, so a day chatting about books with Rosie would be amazing. She also reminds us of a determined little firefly that we know...maybe Felix will soon have a new friend!

We would like to say a huge thank you to the girls for taking the time to do this interview. They have already achieved so much with their book and are a real inspiration.  We wish them all the best with their Young Enterprise project and look forward to seeing Felix and Friends on bookshelves in book shops everywhere!  Good luck girls, you should all be very proud of yourselves!

We hope you have enjoyed reading thier answers and we know the girls would love you to visit their website to find out even more about the project and their fantastic book.