Haliburton resident Olivia Irvine, 11, has started her first business, which is operating from two locations. Roasty Toasty Campfire Wood is available at the end of her driveway, and at the end of her Nana and Papa’s driveway. /Submitted photo

Roasty Toasty Campfire Wood focus of 11-year-old entrepreneur

By Sue Tiffin

Olivia Irvine is Haliburton County’s newest business owner.

The 11-year-old Haliburton resident describes her entrepreneurial pursuit as being “really cool,” a project that launched after she read a book recommended by her dad, Rich Kid, Smart Kid: Giving Your Child A Financial Head Start by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

“My dad got this book about financial stuff, and he wished that he had read it 20 years ago, so he bought the kids’ version for me, and it was really educational, so my parents thought that I should start my own business so I can learn how to work and I can learn how to manage my finances,” said Olivia.

“I learned about assets and liabilities, how to make your money work for you, and investments,” she said.

Using money she had saved from Christmas and birthday gifts, and from bake sales she’s held, Olivia connected with some very important suppliers.

“My Nana and Papa had a bunch of trees down, and firewood would be pretty easy to do,” she said of her business concept.

And so Roasty Toasty Campfire Wood opened to customers about a week ago, with bags of hardwood and softwood being offered at the end of Olivia’s driveway, and at the end of her Nana and Papa’s driveway.

“I used the money I’ve been saving up and I bought bags for the firewood, and I pack the wood in the bags, and helped build the structure and designed the logo and came up with the name and bought all the signs and stuff,” she said.

The name for the business came easily.

“When you think of campfires, you usually think of roasting marshmallows, so that’s where I got roasty from, and campfires are always toasty, so … Roasty Toasty!,” explained Olivia.

Her dad has helped cut the wood, and Olivia sees good prospects in the business continuing for a few years with a little help from other local suppliers.

“There’s wood everywhere that my parents’ friends are saying they have,” she told the Echo. “We have wood behind our house, and wood behind my neighbours’ house and wood behind my dad’s friends house.”
So far, business has been “going good.” Olivia said she’s sold five bags, though she usually doesn’t see her customers, as she’s also managing online school as a Grade 6 JDHES student. Proceeds from sales will help further Olivia’s goals.

“I’m going to invest it in future businesses, and invest it in my education,” she said.

Olivia said she was grateful for support from her parents, Sean and Lisa Irvine, and her Nana and Papa, Bill and Brooke Irvine.

While Sean said that at first Olivia was afraid to let go of the money she had saved, the book taught her about taking risks, and that big risk can sometimes equal big reward.

“I’m excited for her that she’s trying to do something with her life,” said Lisa. “Kids like to sit and watch TV and my kids like to sit and watch TV and sometimes it’s hard to get them motivated, so this will give her something to do on the weekends, and she goes to check on it every night. Something to do and something to look forward to. She loves helping people and hugging people, that’s her favourite thing. She’s a lovey gal, so she likes that she’s helping people.”

While Olivia has managed the business, she is also the company spokesperson. Her sign notes, “Hi, I’m Olivia. I’m 11 years old. This is my first business. I’m excited to work for you!” But she herself sells the product easily when asked why customers should support Roasty Toasty Campfire Wood.

“It’s not very expensive,” she said.

Roasty Toasty Campfire Wood is available at Meadowview Road, and 1133 Bitter Lake Road in Haliburton.