High school entrepreneurs learn values of business

Emma Kostroski-Polucha, Print Editor-in-Chief

Owning a business is never easy, between the customers and business partners, it can be hard to keep everything in check. Many business owners struggle through the beginning of their ownership. All CEOs have many different responsibilities to make sure that the business runs smoothly and the rest of the team falls on that person to help them stay organized.

Businesses can be difficult to handle, especially if the owner is in high school. Managing schoolwork and a business can be a tricky thing to do, especially for those who are involved in other activities as well. There are many students who run a business and are learning what it is like to enter the world of entrepreneurship.

Bathing Made Better

Some high school students are running their own business right out of their backyard, or for senior Jerod Ormond-Miller, out of his kitchen.  The business was created in September 2018 and has grown immensely since its first sale. The company name, Pony Wicks and Balls, is a pun Ormond-Miller created; in the beginning, there were also candles being sold, however, they got discontinued because of the lack of customers buying them.

Their business first started out as a fundraiser for Ormond-Miller’s Theatre trip to Scotland, but grew in popularity that they began showcasing it at local art shows and fairs. Currently, the business is also online and their website ships products as well. Ormond-Miller and his mom sell bath items that are all homemade and only contain natural ingredients.

“My mom and I run the entire show or the entire business…I am the person that handmakes craft molds and ships the product that we make…and she is the money distributor and collector,” senior Jerod Ormond-Miller said.

Pony Wicks and Balls sells bath bombs, shower bombs, and bath salts of all different sizes and scents, ranging from small to large, peppermint to grapefruit. There are also surprise bath bombs for kids, so there is something for everyone in the family. It was difficult for Ormond-Miller and his mom to decide on what to create a fundraiser with.

“We were having lunch together and we were trying to figure out how to do a fundraiser and she brought up the fact that bath bombs are a really big hit that everybody likes to enjoy throughout the fall and just all seasons,” Ormond-Miller said.

The trip to Scotland is so expensive that the majority of the money they make off the business goes directly towards the Scotland fund, not only for the Ormond-Miller personal fare but the overall fund once they have completed their payment.

“All the proceeds that we collect from doing arts and crafts shows or just expos and conventions, all the proceeds go to the Scotland fund that we have to raise personally,” Ormond-Miller said.

Ormond-Miller’s theatre career takes up the majority of his free time, typically preparing for a musical or helping out at an elementary school production. Since most of his time is taken up by theatre and rehearsal, there is not much time left for him to do much of anything else. However, Ormond-Miller has managed to keep his schoolwork up and his grades looking well.

“The schoolwork comes pretty easy to me because I only take three classes a semester and only five last semester so starting the business at the point of senior year, it’s really not big stress and not stress levels that are really high,” Ormond-Miller said.

Artistic Clothing Choice

Varying off of the bath business, senior Donyea Davis runs his own clothing line, called Blaq Clothing. While his line has not been around for long, Davis and his colleges, friends, and business partners have worked hard to get their business out there and advertise their clothing. Davis had to jump through a lot of hoops in order to create a business he could be proud of and something he would continuously be interested in.

I consider myself an artist, but it’s a very different way than what most people would and I’ve always wanted to own something of my own. I don’t like working for someone; I hate having a supervisor or manager…I’m gonna start my own thing and expand that within the future. ”

— Donyea Davis

“First, I had to think about what is it that I want to sell and how do I want to sell it? Who am I going to sell it to? And how am I going to get the money to produce everything? So I actually sat down with my notebook and I wrote all this stuff down, and goals that I want to accomplish this year. Then the road, like the steps that I had to take to get there,” senior Donyea Davis said.

Davis has advertised his business by wearing his own clothing at school, having his friends model it in and out of school, and having everyone he knows spread the word. Davis also uses Instagram as a front to showcase new items and to keep his customers updated. Instagram is not the only way people can order items; Davis also created a website for shipping and making it easier for customers to find exactly what they are looking for.

Davis has always considered himself an artist, no matter the medium. He has found inspiration in the smallest of things and has always wanted to create something that is personalized to his artistic style. Figuring out that it would be a clothing line was not hard for him to decide since he considered that it would most likely be the easiest thing to start with and could expand later as his line grew.

“I consider myself an artist, but it’s a very different way than what most people would and I’ve always wanted to own something of my own. I don’t like working for someone; I hate having a supervisor or manager…I’m gonna start my own thing and expand that within the future. Plus, I like designing stuff so I was like, why not?” Davis said.

One thing that Davis has taken away from his experience as a business owner is that it is important for someone to have his back, and for him to have a team that he can rely on for input and other responsibilities.

“It’s good to do things on your own, but having a team to support you is a key component. It’s not just me, I have a team of investors and business partners behind that,” Davis said.

Tables, Chairs, and Tents… oh my

Michael Puhrmann, social studies, and economics teacher, owns a business that he runs with his wife and a few other partners. The business rents out tables, chairs, and tents for any occasion and is called St. Croix Tents. They cater to events such as weddings, graduation parties, birthdays, reunions and more while serving the St.Croix River Valley, which includes Stillwater, Woodbury, and Hudson.

“We used St. Croix Tents for our backyard wedding. These guys are absolutely top notch at what they do,” Adam Scheler, a customer of St. Croix Tents wrote in his review. “What puts them over the top was the professionalism they had during set-up and take down.”

Customers are guaranteed “a dry, shaded, worry-free event”, as stated on their website. Set up and take down are included in the package price and all the work is taken care of by the company. All that is needed to reserve a tent is a 50% deposit and a signed contract. There are no hidden costs except for the fees if the set-up is in a public park and requires same-day set-up and take-down.

We do not set up on concrete. We do set up on asphalt as long as a waiver is signed for a $35 fee. We will not be held responsible for damage to asphalt driveways,” the website says. “A normal tent rental covers 3 days, day one for setting up, day two for the event, and day three for taking down. We may set up on the same day as the event and/or take down on the same day.”

Students and staff who run their own businesses are able to learn the value of a business in a hands-on experience, without having to learn about it in the classroom. They learn the best techniques of appealing to customers, who to look out for in the industry, and how to partner with other people or companies. There are other students who run their own business as well, including junior Carston Wall, who deals with luxury cars, and senior Mya Lysne, who creates her own fake nose rings. These entrepreneurs have experienced a world much different than the one inside of SAHS.

The instruction associated with normal classroom schooling is beneficial, but it is also noted that it is necessary to recognize that “a great deal of learning even now seems to happen casually and as a by-product of some other activity defined as work,” Annie Holmquist, an editor for Intellectual Takeout, said. “In recent years, we have come to view high school kids as just that: kids. We fail to treat them as the almost-grown-ups that they are, and as such, we often don’t give them responsibilities to match this nearly-adult status.”