The mission of the Wylie East High School news site is to inform, educate and entertain readers. Established Jan. 13, 2011. Principal: Mrs. Tiffany Doolan; Adviser: Ms. Kimberly Creel

Blue Print

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The mission of the Wylie East High School news site is to inform, educate and entertain readers. Established Jan. 13, 2011. Principal: Mrs. Tiffany Doolan; Adviser: Ms. Kimberly Creel

Blue Print

The mission of the Wylie East High School news site is to inform, educate and entertain readers. Established Jan. 13, 2011. Principal: Mrs. Tiffany Doolan; Adviser: Ms. Kimberly Creel

Blue Print

The selling point

Students own, operate businesses
photo credit: Maggie Volpi
Getting hooked \\ Working on a new book jacket to sell, senior Isabel Zambrana offers a multitude of custom crochet projects in her shop. “People can DM me on Instagram for custom made things, like clothing or sweaters,” Zambrana said. “I’ve also made a lot of coasters and car steering wheel covers.”

High school students are often eager to get their first job, and more specifically, their first paycheck. As soon as they hit 16, these aspiring employees rush out into the world, applying to starter positions at places from McDonalds to Walmart to Cheddar’s. However, some students have found alternatives to a typical part-time hustle and have started their own small business ventures operating out of their very own homes.

“I love crocheting—I do it all the time—so I figured since I already do it so much and half the stuff I make I don’t end up using, I might as well try to sell some and see what comes from it,” senior Isabel Zambrana, owner of YarnbyIsa on Instagram and Tiktok, said. 

Zambrana sells a variety of custom crochet items, such as sweaters, coasters, steering wheel covers and beanies. Those seeking a specific custom item can DM her on Instagram, and Zambrana works to craft the perfect match to what her customer wants.

“The biggest challenge is trying to grow a platform and following,” Zambrana said. “If you’re not avidly marketing everyday and constantly trying to reach out, nobody will find you, so you have to promote heavily so people know you’re there.”

Another young shop owner is junior Grace Sweet, operating as Spicycheetah24 on Instagram where she sells realistic, hand drawn portraits.

“My long term goal is to try to keep this up as a side hustle when I get older, and short term I just want to get each commission done day by day,” Sweet said. “I’ve learned that owning a business involves a lot of risk taking and flexibility, and also a lot more communication than I initially expected. It’s definitely helping me grow as a person.”

An aspect of owning a small business that students might find appealing is the economic autonomy, as shop owners are able to set their own prices. Finding a unique niche also allows small businesses to offer novel products that are seldom found on the market, driving up demand among a limited supply.

“I usually have help from my father in deciding the price on different commissions,” Sweet said. “I have to take into consideration how big the piece the person wants is, as well as what medium they want, such as paint, charcoal or ballpoint pen. So far all of my commissions have ranged from $80-100.”

Throughout the holiday season, stores such as Amazon, Walmart and Target see a big spike in sales as busy shoppers scramble to buy gifts for every loved one, clearing out shelves of toys and storehouses of items across America. While these corporations provide convenience and affordability, there are many merits to shopping at local businesses as well, such as higher quality items and the peace of mind knowing that the products came from sustainable and ethical labor. 

People should shop small to help people who make quality goods make a living wage,” senior Calena Burrell said. “Shopping small is much better than pouring more money into large corporations.” 

Burrell started her business, selling fresh baked cookies in a wide variety of flavors, in 2019 after the COVID-19 pandemic. Her bakery is currently on a hiatus, though Burrell said she might reopen later in the year.

“I bake all the cookies by myself and I have to stay up late most times baking, packaging and planning for a sale,” Burrell said. “It becomes very tiring after being at school for most of the day.”

Today, platforms such as Etsy, Instagram and Tiktok make owning a small business very feasible for people of all ages, including high school students looking to stray from the typical service industry part time. 

“If there’s something that you’re passionate about and you really enjoy doing it, why not make it a business?” Zambrana said. “If you’re in band and you really like music you could become a lesson teacher, if you really like drawing you could offer commissions, if you’re really smart you could offer tutoring. If there’s something you really like, I would say to just turn it into a business and see what happens, because the worst that could happen is that you end up doing it just for fun.”


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About the Contributor
Maggie Volpi
Maggie Volpi, Copy Editor
Howdy partner, my name’s Maggie and I’m your rootin’ tootin’ copy editor for this year’s edition of the newspaper! I’m a junior, which makes this my second year on the Blueprint staff. Aside from working on journalism stuff, I also play the flute in the band, and in my free time I like to draw, bake and crochet (not at the same time though). Some of my favorite things include old, ugly grandpa sweaters, watching Adventure Time, getting coffee from Dutch Bros and camping with my dad. Speaking of camping, I love spending time in nature, and one of my long term goals is to visit every National Park! I’ve been told that I have resting annoyed face, but I promise that I’m friendly and you should definitely say hi if you see me in the hallway or at Target or something. Anyways, I am super thrilled to be an editor and can’t wait to document this school year!

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    lobnaApr 2, 2024 at 2:14 pm

    good read maggie!!