Not many middle schoolers in Marion County spend their fall Saturdays working on their business, but Emerson Corby, 12, of Hillsboro, is not your average middle schooler.
“I have always wanted a business,” said Corby.
He tried several things as an elementary student during COVID-19 including making and selling lotions, but he didn’t have much luck. Then one night he and his parents, Clint and Heather, did some research and stumbled across vanilla.
“We started making small rounds going to farmer’s markets. We would sell 10 or 20 at a time. And then we got bigger, and we started going to craft fairs and festivals and it’s doing well,” said Corby.
Corby, who shares the business with his parents, is not afraid of hard work and puts in the hours for the business to be successful. And he finds it rewarding.
“I meet a lot of different people doing this. We get to know the vendors in the booths around us. Once when we were at Shop Kansas Farm, there was a vendor across the way from us that was serving yak stuff and making yak stuff. I got to try yak jerky and it was really good,” Corby said.
Corby said he enjoys talking with customers who come to his booth as well.
He makes and sells two different kinds of vanilla—Madagascar and Tahitian. The Madagascar is recommended for general baking such as cakes and cookies while the Tahitian is suggested for ice cream and frosting.
“Some people put it in their coffee. We have a couple of people who love that,” said Corby.
The young entrepreneur also sells deer scent attractant.
“You spray it and it covers your scent when you’re hunting deer. It’ll also attract them because it smells different,” said Corby.
All the items make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. He will even put it in a little gift bag and attach a tag for easy gift-giving.
If you are interested in buying from Corby, he will be at Hillsboro’s Down Home Christmas in December. Or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.