A CRAFTY kid with an eye for design and a head for business is to launch his retail empire this weekend - and says it is the first step on the road to becoming “as big as Alan Sugar”.
James Peters has invested £10 in a stall at the St Saviour’s craft fair in Shotton Colliery tomorrow to sell his hand-made jewellery, designed especially for children.
He will be pitting his wits against established businesses who will vie for customers on stalls selling everything from baby clothes to wooden sculptures.
But the confident nine-year old, who lives in the village with mum Susan and older brother Conor, 13, is not phased at the prospect and has his eye on the prize of a new set of speed bearings for the wheels of his prized scooter as he bids to better his mates at their favourite Peterlee skate park.
James will draw on experience he gained selling his bracelets, necklaces and hair bands for charity at a previous fair at the church, where he raised £510 for a Save the Children campaign for Africa and received a certificate and letter of thanks from the charity for his efforts.
But this time, James aims to make a profit for himself and sees the fair as the start of his business career.
Speaking to the Mail from the hub of his manufacturing operation - his grandma Muriel’s spare room - James admitted that he is starting small but pointed out that Lord Alan Sugar did exactly the same. James said: “Alan Sugar started out as a barrow boy on the streets of London, and look where he ended up.”
But James says that even if Britain’s biggest businessman uttered the immortal words “you’re hired”, he would turn him down because he wants to start his own business rather than work for someone else.
He said: “By the time I grow up I want to be working for myself. I’ll probably open a shop selling scooters and trick parts for them like racing bearings or ones that let you do tricks.
“But I’m going to carry on with the jewellery for now. At the moment I have about £35 of stock ready to sell at the fair on Saturday, but I’m making more so I can take as much with me as possible.
“My jewellery is aimed at kids so I try to think about what kids want and what kind of designs they would like to wear, and I use bright colours I think kids will like.
“At the moment I only have jewellery for girls, but I’m planning to expand and start making things for boys too.
“But they will have to be more macho than the girl’s things, obviously. I can’t see lads in Shotton walking around with brightly coloured beads so I might make things like leather bracelets and stuff like that.”
James, who has been designing and making things since he was four, says he enjoys the process of making his jewellery but is adamant that it not just a hobby.
He added: “I like to make something from nothing and see the finished item.
“I buy the string and beads out of money mum gives me for helping around the house, and I sometimes do the designs on the computer first to see what they look like.
“I also look on the internet for ideas and to see what kind of jewellery is in fashion. I’m always trying to improve and make better things to sell.
“I’m keeping my prices low because kids obviously don’t have much money to spend. I’ll be selling bracelets for 50p, necklaces for £1 and hair bands for £1.20, and I’m also going to make up kits with everything people need to make their own jewellery so they can choose exactly which colours they want, either for themselves or as Christmas presents.”
But even though James is determined to make the St Saviour’s craft fair his first step on the road to his own business, the big-hearted Shotton Primary School youngster is planning to donate half his profits to the St Saviour’s building fund to help the church reach its £250,000 renovation target.
The fair, at the Jack Turnbull Hall in the grounds of St Saviour’s, in Grange Terrace, gets underway at 10am and goes on until 3pm. It will feature around 15 stalls selling hand-made craft items such as greetings cards, bath and body products, soft furninshings, knitted scarves and gifts made from wood, slate and tin.