By Nancy Nelson, Staff Writer
When children approach a certain age they reach a point when they want the independence of earning their own money to spend as they like. When a child is younger than fourteen he or she might mow lawns, deliver papers, or do chores around the house. After fourteen they might become employed at a particular business on part time basis, such as a grocery store, or a fast food restaurant.
For Paxton O'Connor, he creates unique items and peddles his wares as any business person would through a variety of marketing avenues. The 14 year old Cherokee Middle School student has created a niche market for his small pewter figurines set on polished rocks and marbles that he cuts and molds himself. The majority of his business is conducted on Internet through eBay, but he also travels to various festivals around the midwest, setting up a booth or table to sell his product. He also rents a small space in the front of his mom's Main Street store, Phase I, in Cherokee.
It all started when he lived in Arizona and a retired friend named, Kenny, who worked with rocks, marbles, and pewter, taught Paxton the craft and gave him many of the supplies and molds to continue making the items. He also cuts and polishes rocks and sells those as well.
When asked why he wanted to sell his pewter pieces, he said, "I wanted extra money for vacations with family." His success has gone beyond extra spending money. He has been able to purchase his own moped and his wardrobe. This level headed young entreprenuer also operates like all businesses should. He splits his money into thirds and puts one third into the business, one third into banking, and one-third for his personal spending money.
Through eBay he has sent pieces to places such as New Zealand, England, Canada, Hong Kong, and Norway. He has even sold his golf figures to a high end golf course in Georgia. At a recent festival he attended in Nebraska, a women purchased enough religous figures for each of her Sunday school students. The items sell between $1.25 and $3 each and they make nice gifts, collectibles and even game pieces, according to O'Connor.
It isn't all business for the teen. He likes to the usual teen things such as hanging out with his friends. During the school year he participates in jazz band, regular band, and marching band. He is also an athlete, enjoying sports like basketball, football and track. This summer he has spent time swimming and playing golf, golf, and more golf. He plans to forgo track next spring and get ready to join the freshman golf team at Washington High School.