Beni DiVasta may have resolved an enduring hair-tie problem. Her solution: using fold-over elastic to create a stylish hair tie that looks good on your wrist and doesn’t leave a bump in the back of your head.
Beni, who turned 16 this month, started making and selling the hair ties to get herself to Disney World on a school trip in March. At $1 apiece, the Duxbury student made $200 the first week she sold them in school. With
her mother accompanying her and her brother, Jared — who makes bowls out of old record albums — to local craft fairs, Beni sold more than 2,000 hair ties before her trip.
The mother-daughter-brother gig has since spun into what is being billed as the first all-youth arts and crafts fair on the South Shore, to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Duxbury High School.
“We really enjoyed the fairs, but the whole time we were pretty much the only kids there,” Beni said recently.
Her mother, Lisa DiVasta, came up with the idea for the all-youth fair. “After going to several craft fairs with them selling their products, I thought why can’t we have an all-kid one? How cool would that be?”
DiVasta approached Duxbury Art Boosters, and “Here I am,” said DiVasta, now the chairwoman of Duxbury Youth Arts & Crafts, an organization with which she was previously uninvolved. “I’ve been going crazy ever since.”
“There are so many kids out there that don’t do sports, that don’t do drama — this is their thing — but there’s never been an outlet for them to display it or show it to the world,” she said. “And that’s why I’m doing it. It’s been amazing that there are all these kids out there that do this.”
More than 90 youngsters ages 9 to 16 from Boston and 13 suburbs have signed up to fill 62 tables with items such as painted bird houses, pencil sketches, reversible tote bags, biscotti, clay magnets, and duct-tape wallets. DiVasta said she has had to turn applications away because of space constraints.
Admission is free, and fairgoers are invited to make a “DIY” scarf from a T shirt. Norwell’s Full Circle Youth Chorus and Duxbury-based band New Violet will provide live music, and Duxbury High School freshman Will Flederman will do street-performer-style magic and comedy.
DiVasta said the value in youths participating in craft fairs is life lessons: learning behind-the-scenes business skills, from supply-and-demand to making a customer happy, and even just talking to adults.
“They’re learning business skills, they can gain self-confidence, they’re talking to people and actually selling these things,” she said, adding that the youngsters don’t even realize this. “And they’re just having fun.”
Beni, whose hair ties are now found in stores in Duxbury, Marshfield, Norwell, Hanover, and Plymouth (and who says she can barely keep up with the demand), prepared a “how-to” guide for participants interested in pursuing craft sales.
She said it’s important to stand up straight, look people in the eye (not at your cellphone), and really engage those walking by with what you are doing.
“Once people know what you’re doing and they learn more about you and your story, they’re more apt to buy something,” she explained.
She said she is most looking forward to seeing what other youths in the area have done.
“At all the other craft fairs I’ve been to, I’ve thought, ‘Wow, that’s so cool,’ but it’s usually an adult and they’ve probably spent 20 years practicing it.”
She recalled meeting a 17-year-old boy who made remarkable blown-glass pieces.
“It’s so cool because it’s not his one job; it’s his hobby and it’s really cool. I’m just so excited to see what everybody else is doing,” she said. “It’s so cool that they’re my age and they’re making that.”Anne M. Steele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AnneMarieSteele.