While still in high school, Karly Jones has become a colorful entrepreneur
MANSFIELD, ARK. – Karly Jones is a young 4-Her and actor who has been involved in multiple local theater productions with Fort Smith’s Community School of the Arts.
When she was 12 years old, she wanted to raise money to pay for theater classes, so she went to her father, Kevin Jones, with the proposition that she gets her first job.
“Well…you’re 12,” was his response. “You have plenty of work to do around the farm.”
She had experience in gardening from tending to all sorts of different crops on her family’s farm, and after discussion with her Kevin, they had the idea to make money selling fresh-cut flowers.
Karly, now 14, is an active member of 4-H, being a county teen leader and a member of a newly formed club called Legacy 4-H. She decided to first start selling flowers to members of her 4-H community, which helped her feel more confident with speaking to people and helped her business grow through word of mouth.
Karly grows and sells roughly 30 different varieties of plants. The list of flowers that she sells includes snapdragons, zinnias, sunflowers, gladiolas, dahlias, and bells-of-Ireland. Their most popular flowers are sunflowers and zinnias, though Karly’s favorite to grow is the snapdragons.
Kevin has made an active effort to avoid pesticides, herbicides, and commercial fertilizers in the farm, and has taught Karly to do the same. Currently, they have about an acre of sunflowers and thousands of other flowers planted and growing. They are planning to create a sunflower field for people to visit and take pictures of and will plant new flowers every two weeks so they remain fresh. She and Kevin are also growing a blackberry, strawberry and blueberry patch, which they hope will bring a nice harvest come next year.
They started the fresh-cut flower business around the summer of 2021, and estimate roughly $300 in sales from last year. They expect business to increase even more this year with their new plans. Karly and her father say they already have people calling and asking when their flowers will be ready.
“I don’t think there’s any reason she couldn’t generate enough income off the flowers to pay her way through college,” Kevin said. “I think in another year she’ll really have quite a business. There’s a lot of interest, and there’s a lot of people calling us.”
“I at least want to be able to buy a car,” Karly added. “The goal is a Mustang.”
Indeed, the flowers have already begun to attract attention from many groups outside of 4-H; this June the Photographic Alliance of Fort Smith came to the farm to have an all-day photoshoot. Karly also has discussed selling her flowers at a local farm-to-table store called Roots and Fields by creating a “flower bar,” where people can come and choose their own fresh flowers to create bouquets from.
Between participating in 4-H, being in a theater production of The Little Mermaid, practicing the fiddle, and playing in a jazz group, Karly still manages to find time to run a successful fresh-cut flower business to help fund her future endeavors. Her business is a part of her family’s farm operation, Blackjack Blooms & Berries.