With a little urging from her parents, Queen Anne teen Emani Burkhart has turned a hobby to keep busy during the pandemic into something even bigger.
The 13-year-old recently started a business, Wish Upon a Star Jar. For $10, people can buy a small glass jar filled with different colored and patterned origami stars, which she learned to make at a friend’s birthday party. At her parents’ suggestion, she decided to turn the hobby into a business.
“During COVID-19, I just wanted to spread some happiness and joy through these little glass jars,” Burkhart said.
While Burkhart wanted to make decorative jars that cheer people up, she didn’t want to be the only one who benefited from her venture. For every glass jar sold, Burkhart is donating 25 percent to Conscious Kids, an organization dedicated to educating people about race and racism by bringing books about those subjects into children’s classrooms.
“As a middle schooler, I’m more aware of what’s happening in the world, and I wanted to make a difference,” she said.
Burkhart, who will be an eighth-grader at St. Anne School in the fall, said she has been learning about racism and Black Lives Matter by following the news and wanted part of her proceeds help in the fight against racism.
When searching for organizations to help, Burkhart appreciated the Conscious Kids mission of all the organizations she researched.
“I thought it was a really good way to bring information to kids through the power of books,” Burkhart said. “I also thought it was really cool that it was focused more on kids and educating them.”
Since she started, Burkhart has been responsible for almost every aspect of her business, including building the webpage and Instagram account through which the 2 ounce jars can be purchased. She orders the materials she uses through Amazon. Each jar is filled with about 24 to 30 stars, depending on the thickness of the paper she uses for the stars.
So far, Burkhart said she has sold more than 120 jars. Except for the amount donated to Conscious Kids, she primarily uses the money she earns to buy more supplies. She said she hasn’t decided how she will spend the remaining profit.
Burkhart said she enjoys picking out the paper colors and patterns featured in her stars. She has four different collections from which to choose: a galaxy collection with four different colors, a nature collection, a glow-in-the-dark and a glitter collection. She also has a limited edition collection with red, white and blue stars. Burkhart said she hopes to come out with more collections and colored stars in the fall, including custom orders for school colors or favorite teams.
Burkhart said the best part of her business is when she receives a note from customers telling her how much they like their jars or offering suggestions on new collections. Sometimes she receives pictures of one of her jars.
“It really makes me happy to see them with their star jars,” Burkhart said.
The stars even have their own significance, Burkhart said. In the Japanese culture, they are meant to be given to loved ones for good luck and best wishes.
Burkhart said the tradition came from a Japanese story that began with a star falling out of the sky.
Worried about even more stars falling from the sky, the children in the village gathered together and folded over 2,000 stars to replace the ones that fell.
Burkhart said, the origami stars are considered lucky because whenever one is made, a fallen star is saved.
“My goal for this business is to spread joy through this pandemic,” Burkhart said. “Whether it’s through the donations or through the little pops of color in the jars, it’s just my goal to make people happy.”
To learn more about Wish Upon a Star Jar or to make a purchase, people can go to Burkhart’s webpage or Instagram page @wishuponastarjar.
People can also email Burkhart at wishuponastarjar.com.