In this season of camping and backyard barbecues, here’s your chance to get some entrepreneurial inspiration from a favorite crispy campfire treat — and from two brothers who saw the need for a better roasting stick.
Whether you’re a Boy Scout, Girl Scout or just a fan of hanging out around your backyard fire pit, chances are you’ve roasted a few things over an open flame. Of course, marshmallows are the treat of choice. Gooey s’mores are part of many camping survival kits. More hard-core campers have tried other popular recipes, like roasting biscuit dough and filling it with cream to make eclairs.
Spencer Harrison and his brother Tanner, both Boy Scouts and aspiring entrepreneurs who love “fire and food” have figured out an easier way to roast and fill that biscuit dough. After watching their cousins cook dough on broomsticks over a campfire, the brothers set out a few years back to design a better product for campers far and wide.
They came up with the Wolf’em Stick, which allows cooks to shape biscuit dough around the end of a metal stick with a cooking head to form a roasted cup that can be filled with pudding, soup, fruit and other tasty treats. They also sell a marshmallow/hot dog attachment.
“We wanted to make a product that’s super fun and easy to use, and we added the rotary handle,” says Spencer Harrison, 17, of South Jordan, Utah. The rotary handle allows for more even cooking.
The Wolf’em Stick is currently sold on their website and in about 300 stores, including many KOA locations and Sportsman’s Warehouse. It is also sold on The Grommet, which helps entrepreneurs launch undiscovered products.
Trade-offs and Opportunity Costs
Spencer says running the business — with the support of his parents — has helped him learn more about business finance, as well as managing money in general. He says it’s important for other teens to understand the opportunity costs that go with launching a business and developing sound financial habits. You may have to give up some things to get a business going.
An opportunity cost is the value of what you are willing to pass on as the result of making a decision — in other words, the value of the next best alternative. It is one of the most important concepts in economics. It is often talked about in relation to making trade-offs, which is when you sacrifice one thing to obtain another. Trade-offs create opportunity costs. Whenever you make a trade-off, what you don’t choose is your opportunity cost – the thing you could have had if you made a different decision. Young entrepreneurs like Spencer often sacrifice their social lives, buying that cool new car, or even getting top grades in order to build their businesses.
“You need to have your priorities together. In order to be a good entrepreneur, you need to be smart and educated,” says Spencer, who is heading into his senior year of high school. Tanner Harrison, 20, is currently serving on a yearlong mission for their church.
The brothers developed their business plan after taking an entrepreneurship class through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Their idea won first place in the state and they went on to compete at the YEA! national competition. Spencer recommends that teen entrepreneurs educate themselves and learn how to write a business plan, including the financial details.
“I could definitely see selling in the hundreds of thousands of these per year,” Tanner said in a promotional video on the company’s website that was made when Tanner was 17 and and Spencer was 14. “I want this to become a common household item just like the s’more.”
It’s been a few years since the invention of The Wolf’em Stick. Have Spencer and Tanner reached their goal? What else could they do to make The Wolf’em Stick a household name?
Do you know of any other recent entrepreneurial ideas from campers? If so, what are they? Do you have one? Share your camping inventions in the comments section of this article.
Spencer talks about the opportunity costs related to entrepreneurship in high school. What is an opportunity cost? Why is it important to consider in decision-making?
As Spencer mentions, opportunity cost is simply put as, “the next best alternative.” In economics, just like life, there are trade-offs and the opportunity cost of something is the value of the next best alternative. For example, if I have 5 dollars to spend at the toy store, spending those 5 dollars on a deck of cards instead of a toy truck creates the opportunity cost. In this case, the 5 dollars is another economic concept; scarcity. Scarcity relates to the fact that there are a limited amount of resources for us to use and therefore we must use these resources in a scarce manner, allocating them to use to the best of our ability. The toy truck is the opportunity cost since the deck of cards cost 5 dollars as well and we cannot allocate our resource ( the 5 dollars ) to purchase both items. Economics is driven by the concept of scarcity and opportunity cost falls right into line.
I agree with his response because if you only have 5 dollars for the toy truck, you should spend the money on the truck since that is what he went to the store for and he has no more money to purchase the cards. As Spencer said, opportunity cost is like the next best alternative, and more entrepreneurs should think of this. Some owners will only make changes in the company if it benefits them, like getting them more money. What they should be doing is thinking and making the decisions based on the benefit of the company. The truck and card example was a good example because it shows opportunity cost and scarcity perfectly.
Yes Spencer and Tanner have reached there goal, they have their own website and also their product is sold in more than 300 stores. To make the Wolf’em stick a more household name, they could try to do a commercial to advertise it more. No I do not know of any recent entrepreneurial ideas from campers and I do not have any ideas either. A opportunity cost is the value of what you are willing to pass on as the result of making a decision. It is important to consider opportunity cost in decision making because say you decide to make a product and you put money and time into it. If that product doesn’t end up going through, you want to have a plan B just encase so you don’t waste your money and time.
I agree with the fact that they reached their goal and I like the addition of how many stores their product is sold in, it shows the real-life accomplishments they’ve made. I also agree that it is very important to consider the opportunity costs. It is essential to make sure plan B is available. Loss of any money is horrible to a new entrepreneur, especially an upcoming one. If it can be avoided, or minimized, that is crucial to be considered.
Yes, they have reached their goal. They have a website, a few youtube videos, and a couple of interviews on smaller news channels. The Wolf’em Stick is also sold in many stores and on Amazon. If they wanted it to become a household name they could start putting a little bit of money into advertising, such as purchasing things like billboards, commercials, or magazine ads. I can’t think of any entrepreneurial camping ideas nor do I know of any other people came up with at the moment. An opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. This is important to consider because you need to think about how much you would lose if you choose one idea over another, and whether this loss outweighs the gain of the other option(s).