c3420AIhu2432AFE.lg

Camp Kate Kate founder Deborah Kanafani hands out certificates of completion to her students Friday at Santa Monica Place. The camp teaches young girls how to create a business plan, market and create their own products for sale. (photo by Hannah Berkman)

SM PLACE — While Santa Monica Place was bustling during the lunch hour, the Community Room was bustling with the girls of Camp Kate Kate and their proud parents.

The attendees of Camp Kate Kate, a young girls entrepreneurship camp, presented the final products of their hard work for the past two weeks to their parents and teachers. These 7 to 14-year-olds all founded their own companies and created marketable, profitable products.

Deborah Kanafani is the founder of Bizzy Girls Inc., a trained psychotherapist and the author of “Kate Kate the Fashion Plate,” whose tween fashion designer protagonist is the namesake of the camp. Kanafani explained that the girls learned how to create product lines, make a business plan, understand who their customer is and the concept of profit and cost, and make business cards and press releases.

“All these girls are very serious little business girls,” Kanafani said. “And they’re very enthusiastic and they want to make money!”

Most of the girls in the program made clothing lines like Kate from the book, although some, like 8-year-old Maia Dittbrenner, made paintings instead. Whatever their products were, the girls learned a lot and made many friends in the process.

“It was a lot of fun,” 10-year-old Allie Idelson said. “I liked everything! We got to do so many things! One day we went to a spa because the person who owned the spa was an entrepreneur and the next day we went to the market because the person who owns that is an entrepreneur, so each day we did something different and it was really cool.”

Allie and her friend and business partner Billie Morton,10, created a fashion line called “Pink Girls.”

“We created clothes and accessories and everything has pink in it,” Morton said. “And we try to make our clothes and accessories as colorful as possible!”

Morton’s mother, Jennifer Morton, is an entrepreneur herself as well as a Santa Monican; she owns two restaurants in Santa Monica, Blue Plate and Blue Plate Oysterette, and is opening another, Blue Plate Taco.

“It’s been fantastic,” Jennifer Morton said. “Learning about developing a product from start to finish and learning how much a product costs and the reality of going into business was a great experience for the girls.”

Samantha Sternberg, another Camp Kate Kate girl, came up with the idea of “Creative Girls,” a company that specializes in reversible purses and coin pouches. Sternberg proudly announced that she is “8-and-a-half years old” and dressed up as Coco Chanel for her presentation.

“My company is mostly purses and coin purses, and they also hold credit cards,” Sternberg said. “When you purchase it, it comes with my business card already just to start a little collection.”

Kanafani is very pleased with the camp and the girls’ accomplishments. She also stresses the idea of empowering girls at a young age, especially because recent New York University studies revealed that girls’ self-esteem is now peaking at age 10 because of their want to be beautiful and their inability to live up to their unrealistic images of beauty, Kanafani said.

“Giving them tools that help empower them at this age is really important,” Kanafani said. “This is a good age to target.”

The girls’ products will be displayed at Distinct Designers on Pico Boulevard, at the 2012 ConnectHER and Influential Event Conference, and at a pop up store at Santa Monica Place, either in a storefront or at a kiosk. Some of the girls also set up Etsy stores for their lines and plan to sell their products at their parents’ offices and around their neighborhood.

news@smdp.com