Some students have started businesses from scratch throughout quarantine, each having their own unique story on how they manage it on top of trying to balance their school work. These businesses were forged from something they found enjoyable, and students have taken advantage of this opportunity to make money off of their creativity.
Kaylee Yonamine, junior at DVC, began her business “Kyo” during this past summer while in quarantine because she wanted to make great use of her spare time. She personally doesn’t wear makeup but thought that an item such as lipgloss can be a really subtle makeup product that can give someone a lot of confidence.
“I just want everybody to feel confident. I know for me, especially, I don’t wear a lot of makeup,” Yonamine said. “If I do, I’ll enjoy wearing mascara, blush, lip gloss, but I feel like it can really elevate your confidence, even if it’s just a little thing like lip gloss.”
When Yonamine began her business, it wasn’t easy at all. She started off by watching multiple YouTube videos to find out which oils moisturize lips and did her own research on the ingredients necessary to make lip gloss. Yonamine began her business with baby syringes but then received a machine from her parents for Christmas that pumps out the lip gloss. This has made it easier for her to run her business and made it less time-consuming to pump the lip gloss in the tube.
“It would take me 3 hours when I used the baby syringes to pump the lipgloss, so receiving the machine has saved me a lot of time,” Yonamine said.
As her business continues to grow successfully, academics can dramatically increase the stress of the whole operation. Yonamine has been rebranding her business, so starting from scratch and remaining consistent with her academics has been incredibly demanding.
“You have to be able to find the right balance between not only school and your business, but also time for yourself, family, and friends,” Yonamine said.
Makayla Wilson, junior at DVC, also started her own crate business called “Kaykreationz” during the January of 2020. The idea of starting a crate business came to her mind as she was helping her mom with a craft that was being completed in her home.
“My aunt was like ‘Can you spray paint this box for me’ and it all just came along and I was like ‘Ooh my God’, I could turn it into something,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s crates are something that can’t be picked out of the store because they are personalized in the person’s favor; she paints them your favorite color, adds in bath and bodywork kits with lotions, body gels, candles, snacks, drinks, and other goodies depending on the occasion.
“My room smells like paint, the backyard, probably has a whole bunch of spray paint on the floor,” Wilson said. “It’s a mess but the end result was like my favorite thing as it all comes together.”
As time-consuming as creating crates can be, Wilson describes it as having many sleepless nights with trying to manage her homework, honor classes, sports, and clubs. Her mind is consistently racing on what she has to do for school or her business.
“I can definitely say that if you are a student with a small business, being flexible and adjusting to your schedule or whatever last-minute things that pop-up is something that I had to get used to but will always be an ongoing challenge,” said Wilson.
Perris Mykel, a senior at DVC, is the CEO of Nightmare Clothing that launched in June of 2020. Before the pandemic, she realized that she wanted to start a clothing brand and prepared ahead of time with the supplies. Her first sale was a success with the creativity that came with the hoodie.
“I just try to make my hoodies as different as possible, which is kind of how I stumbled across the reflective mining on the hoods which did really good in my first sale,” said Mykel.
In order for businesses to become successful or known, focusing on social media is paramount so more consumers can be attracted to the brand. Mykel makes sure to show what makes her hoodies special and cool to wear when promoting them.
“I really want people to see they are not just them being just regular hoodies so I just try to post as much content of how the hoodies work and make sure to really emphasize on the reflective part since that makes the whole Nightmare hoodie image,” said Mykel.
When maintaining a business, there will be obstacles of it going through a no-sale stage, but it’s important to stay positive and motivated to overcome them.
“When there’s like periods of no sale after there was a period of really good sales, it was discouraging at first but you realize it’s a part of the marketing business and you just have to work harder in promoting your stuff,” said Mykel.
During this pandemic, Mykel has found it manageable to run her business during online school. It has become much easier for her now that she works from home because of the way she makes her own schedule and has access to most of her supplies at home. She finds ways to keep herself busy by dividing the time to work on the hoodies on her sewing machine or to do her school work.
“I would definitely not be able to do it if I was still going to school,” said Mykel.
If interested in starting a small business, focusing on a novel idea and not worrying about any other businesses that can be doing better tends to help. Keep in mind to trust the process. Another key to success is to be patient because a small business will not blow up overnight and there won’t always be immediate customers. A lot of time and energy has to be invested in it for it to grow within the year(s).
“It’s a matter of promoting on social media, pushing your brand out, word of mouth, and constantly creating content,” said Yonamine.