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Meet Mosman’s Youngest Entrepreneur: Jack The Flat Pack Kid

At just 11 years old, Mosman local, Jack Dougherty is proving you don’t need an office to be a business owner.

This year, Jack decided he needed a desk and bookshelf to tackle Year 6 like a pro. After a trip to Ikea with his Dad to pick out the furniture, Jack surprised his parents by assembling the entire lot himself.

Jack’s talent for flat packs didn’t go unnoticed. Friends and family started joking about offering his services. Seeing the potential, Jack’s mum, Kami Dougherty Sokulsky, decided to test the waters and posted about Jack’s skills in Mosman Living’s Facebook Group.

“We thought it was a good idea to have a study area for him,” Kami says. “He chose the furniture, and my husband took him to Ikea to pick up the items. When he got home, he just started building, and we thought he would eventually need help, but he didn’t.

 

“Friends and family joked that he could do this for others because people hate putting things like this together. I laughed it off, but a few weeks later, I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I posted his services on Mosman Living, and the rest is in history.”

With a knack for following instructions and a passion for building that started young, Jack’s business has taken off, and he has become a whizz at flat-pack furniture.

“He has always loved building and inventing things, ever since he was a toddler,” Kami explains. “He was building Lego sets designed for kids many years older than him, and I thought it would keep him occupied for a few days, but he would complete them in a few hours. So the next natural progress is flat packs, which like following Lego instructions. So now he builds life-size Lego!”

Since starting his business in January, Jack has already completed 19 jobs, charging between $30 and $75 depending on the complexity of the piece.

“People send us a picture of the item to be built, so I can assess if it’s something he could do and I show him and he tells me exactly what needs to be done and then I send back a quote,” Kami says. “Normally, if there are lots of draws or doors, it would cost more than, say, a simple coffee table. It all depends, but normally simple items might range from $30 to $40 and more detailed items range from $50 to $75. A $75 job might take him 4 to 6 hours.”

Jack’s not just building furniture; he’s building a business, too.

Jack as a toddler

 

 

“I am the booking part of his company, and my husband is quality control,” Kami laughs. “He checks Jack’s work to make sure it has been done correctly before returning a job. Jack’s even had his sister, who is 9, help him while on a job by holding something up or handing him things, and he paid her $5! That was quite cute.”

In a world where screen time is a constant battle for many parents, Jack’s love of building is great to see. 

“I don’t know if lockdown is the cause of the increased screen time or just his age,” Kami says. “I held back from letting him have Roblox for much longer than his friends, but my husband and I realised we were cutting off an avenue of socialisation with his friends. So we let him have it, but like anything, it is hard to take it away after you give it to them. It is a hard balance, but I know he loves to build and this helps him do what he loves and he doesn’t get bored and turn to the screen.”

In addition to keeping him off screens, Jack’s flat pack business teaches him valuable life lessons in customer service, time management, and responsibility.

“As parents, it makes us so happy to see him do something he loves, and that is good for his brain development. It also teaches him how to manage a business and his time,” Kami says. “I have told him if he makes a mistake he will have to take his profits to replace it, which has taught him he is accountable. It is so hard these days to teach children hard work because we all want to help them so much, but sometimes too much help takes their drive away.”

So next time that Ikea flat pack is giving you grief, you know who to call.

If you’d like Jack to tackle your flat-pack furniture, contact Kami via Facebook.