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TL;DR: Can I buy second-hand toys, make them better with my 6.5 years old daughter and sell them for a higher price?


Some context:

This year for Christmas, Santa brought some Lego bricks for my 6.5 years old daughter. She has a few sets, but not so much, so I wanted to buy second-hand bulks of bricks so she can create more sophisticated things.

Then I realised: some people have a lot of sets that they acquired during a long period and they lost a few pieces. Then they sell everything in one batch. So my idea would be: I buy such batches, we (my daughter and me) sort the pieces, check the missing ones, buy them if necessary, build the sets, and then we sell them for a higher price. With this money, we can buy some more sets for our own collection or buy a new batch and start again.

I already asked my daughter if she'd be interested, she said yes, but I'm not sure if she exactly understood the idea.

At first glance, it seems to me to be a very nice idea:

  • Playing with the bricks is fun, for my daughter but for me as well
  • She can learn some basics of investing money, spending it wisely and generate income (so, basically, how any business works)
  • She can even learn a little bit of photography and marketing when selling the complete sets
  • Don't forget some basics of accounting if we do things right
  • She will also understand the concept of a loan because I will be providing the initial money
  • She also learns to let go the toys she had fun with
  • And, and this may be the most important thing, this looks like some very valuable father-daughter time

But, and that's my question: what are the downsides?

One I can think of is that she may be a little young to do business, does she really need to be a businesswoman instead of just having fun with her toy? Additionally, why would a child need to work to buy their own toys?

Side note: in any case we don't plan to get rich, a 5 or 10$ beneficial margin could already be very nice. It would not be a real business.

Thank you for any insight.

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    The main downside is that you probably won't make much money doing this. People who pay "serious money" for "complete sets" want the original boxes, instruction booklets, stickers not already attached to the pieces, etc. And there are plenty of people already doing this kind of thing (on ecommerce platforms that sell only used FDBG merch, not E-Bay) who know exactly what used parts and partially-complete sets are worth, so don't expect to find many genuine "bargains". – alephzero Jan 2 at 22:59
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    @alephzero: Additionally, it is my understanding that the FDBG company will sell individual parts to people who need them, if you have the part numbers (which can be looked up in the instruction booklet or online). – Kevin Jan 2 at 23:35
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    Not exactly an answer but there are some companies that already do this is a big way. You'll find details on this Stack Exchange bricks.stackexchange.com - Just type in a question-heading and you'll get a list of similar questions that others have asked. That's not to discourage you, just a way to see how it's currently done. You may even be able to sell to or through these sites thus saving yourself a lot of time.. – chasly - supports Monica Jan 3 at 10:56
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    Why can't we cite the brand? Merely referring to something is definitely fair use. The purpose of a trademark is so that buyers won't get confused and you can't abuse a familiarity with a brand to sell your unrelated products, fooling your clients into thinking you are a representative of that brand. – vsz Jan 3 at 11:02
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    Yes, you can use the brand name "Lego" here. Also "Palmolive". Likewise "Coca-Cola", "Fuddruckers", "NFL", "Sheetz", "Goodyear", "Dominos", "The Ford Motor Company", and "Harry Potter". And if I'm wrong, hopefully the latter won't turn me into a newt! :-) – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Jan 3 at 22:09
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As others have said, the primary thing is that you make this a fun activity that the two of you do together, not a chore. That means that you will wind up doing the bulk of the actual work; do not expect her to sort half the bricks, handle a camera competently, or anything else. As a rule of thumb children under 10 have an attention span in minutes roughly equal to their age in years, so she won't stick at a boring job like sorting blocks for more than about 6 minutes.

Also I would suggest being a bit less ambitious about how many business concepts you throw at her initially. A loan is probably too complicated a thing for now; start with the idea that you buy the bricks, put in some work, and then sell it for more.

OTOH telling her that you are partners so she gets half the profit (as long as that isn't silly amounts of money for a 6 year old) would be a very good idea. And the idea of doing the marketing together (again, you are going to do the bulk of the work) is good too.

One thing to avoid; if she does an Ebay advert or similar thing then she is going to be proud of her work. Avoid the temptation to improve it; that just sends the message that nothing she does is good enough, so she shouldn't bother trying. As long as the advert is honest, let it run. If the item doesn't sell, then discuss how to make it better and try again.

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    If it turns out to be a silly amount of money for a six year old (unlikely), I smell a college fund. – Joshua Jan 4 at 2:04
  • @Joshua I agree. Let her keep about as much as she'd get for allowance, and tell her you're putting it in the bank for the future. – Shawn V. Wilson Jan 5 at 0:46
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    @Joshua Better yet- Pay her ordinary income, submit taxes. Keep it under the standard deduction for the year (around 4500$) and put ALL the money into a ROTH IRA. She will NEVER pay taxes on it EVER. And can be leveraged for college, starter home etc. – Micah Epps Jan 5 at 15:58
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I don't think this would be essentially different from a backyard lemonade stand.

Make sure it's something she does for fun, and not something she feels forced to continue with. That's the biggest downside I can think of, but it should be avoidable.

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Can I buy second-hand toys, make them better with my 6.5 years old daughter and sell them for a higher price?

Yes you can. But don't expect your daughter to be a true business partner.

Make sure they are participating because it is fun to do and don't let it become a chore (preferably for the both of you).

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My first reaction, child labor rules and protections.

You may intent and plan to run this as fun and a teaching experience. But it comes close to child labor and if checked you may run into problem if not carefully set up.

And make sure your child will never have a valid complaint you made her work for you while she was too small to have a paid job out of the house.

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You need to check your jurisdiction's law to see if a minor can be admitted as partner in a partnership firm.

From first principles I would think very unlikely. Partners in a partnership firm are legally bound to contracts signed by each other on behalf of the partnership. Since minors are not considered to have the capacity to enter into contracts, it is evident that a minor cannot be bound to a contract signed by someone else. Hence, it is likely that a minor cannot become a partner in a partnership firm.

However, your jurisdiction may allow a minor to be admitted to the benefits of partnership under certain conditions i.e. the minor is entitled to his or her share of the profits and property of the firm, he or she is entitled to access and take copies of books of accounts and his or her liability is limited to his or her share in the partnership assets and profits.

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"Does she really need to be a businesswoman instead of just having fun with her FDBGs?"

This could be something she looks back on to inspire her to be a proper business woman in the future, so doing both I think could be a fun idea. I don't think she needs to be a business woman, but you can try and treat it like an extra level to the game, save the money like you said for when she can appreciate the value and try keep it as a fun experience for now. Every kid will try be an entrepreneur at some point, whether it be a lemonade stand, sweeping drives in the snow, selling sweets at school. This just sounds like a unique method that you can have a level of control over to guide and enjoy the experience along with her.

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  • "Every kid"? I know quite a few who never had that stage and do not feel your statement is true. This does not invalidate the answer, I would just tone it down to 'almost every kid'. – Willeke Jan 9 at 15:24

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