By Jill Fox
While most children are enjoying playing on their iPads and living in their pajamas, Ellie Pulsifer is starting a business, one waffle at a time.
Living in Parkland’s MiraLago community since 2017, the nine-year-old discovered a love for musical theatre and finding her home away from home at Broadway Bound Performing Arts School.
The busy fourth-grader spends three nights a week in virtual rehearsals for a community theater performance of Annie (she plays Molly) at Lake Worth Playhouse and auditioning for agents and other shows, including Broadway’s Frozen.
After booking her first professional role as young Fiona in Slowburn Theatre’s Shrek the Musical in 2019, her family decided to leave Riverglades Elementary and begin homeschooling her to accommodate her hectic schedule.
Ellie said, Shrek the Musical is her favorite show because she likes the meaning behind the story– it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
When Ellie’s father, Rob, took a pay cut due to COVID-19, finances became a topic at the dinner table among Ellie, her 12-year-old sister, Grace, and 4-year-old brother, Ben.
“We talked about what we could cut out of our monthly budget and where we could save to get by during these times,” said Ellie’s mother, Angela.
Ellie wanted to be able to help out the family by paying for some of her acting and voice lessons to try and lessen the burden of the pay cut. So, while sheltering at home, she came up with a business plan.
“The idea came from a simple mini waffle maker we had so much fun with, creating and baking together as a family,” said Ellie’s mom, Angela.
Ellie had been trying to start a business since October when she learned about making money through acting, and her father opened up her first savings account.
“I’ve attempted to start businesses before, and they’ve never gone very far,” said Ellie, “But these waffles were really good, and I told my mom I thought we could sell them.”
Ellie decided to name her mini waffle maker business Mix and Make dreams come true, tying it in with her dreams of one day being on Broadway, which can be seen in the design on the box.
Angela ordered seven waffle makers, and Ellie pre-made the dry ingredients. Her kit included a mini waffle maker, a jar of her mix, and three toppings: chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, and pastel sprinkles. Ellie created her infomercial and pitched her business to friends during a Zoom call, where everyone bought a $20 kit, which came gift-wrapped, with a thank you card.
Along with each purchase, buyers received admission into her Mix and Make dreams come true baking club, which meets Saturday mornings on zoom. The friends bake together and share recipe ideas with their mix and make kits.
“We are super proud of her creativity and love watching her come up with new ideas to share with the group,” said Angela, who saw this as a huge learning experience to teach her the financial, creative, marketing, and all the different sides of starting a business.
She said, Ellie’s customers are mostly local theatre kids who share the love of the stage, and now they are sharing the love of baking and creating new ideas in the kitchen.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 11 and Randi, 7.
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