Students foster creativity through a passion for entrepreneurship

Students foster creativity through a passion for entrepreneurship

Diya Mandyam

From designing t-shirts to hand lettering quotes, juniors Erin Alexander and Jessie Jones are student entrepreneurs with their own thriving businesses.  

Alexander first found her passion for mandalas, intricate designs involving repeating patterns, when she saw a Youtube video about them in eighth grade.

“I just find comfort in it, because it’s like an organized chaos… For me it’s just a good way to relax and let myself go with art,” Alexander said.

Alexander explores many different mediums such as ink, watercolor, and colored pencil and now sells t-shirts based on the designs she comes up with.

After she has a sketch of the design, Alexander sends it to a shop called Kinkos to get the design printed on a silk screen. She then cleans up the printed design in preparation for the final print. The process takes two to three days depending on the design.

Since the process of making shirts can be time-consuming and expensive, Alexander had trouble pricing the shirts in the early days of her business.

“Time is really my worst enemy right now, but whenever creativity hits, even while doing homework, I just kind of go try it out and see what comes out,” Alexander said.

The profits Alexander has made will be donated to a non profit organization called Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center.

Jessie Jones is another entrepreneur who has her own online print shop.

Jones has been hand-lettering since she was eight years old. With encouragement from her family, Jones opened up her first Etsy shop, an online shop where people can sell handmade goods, in her freshman year.

“It didn’t do very well so I took it down and I took more time to figure out what I really wanted to sell and how I wanted to market it,” Jones said. She started her second shop in 2017 and it’s been doing well ever since.

“I made my prints more unique. Before I was just lettering quotes, but after I started to have them all with silhouettes and make them more unique and attractive,” Jones said. “When people are scrolling through, and they see something, they’re not just gonna be like, ‘Oh this looks just like everything else here,’ but they’re going to say, ‘Oh this looks different and interesting.’”   

Jones also plans to expand her store soon by selling physical products that she can ship out rather than emailing them to her customers. She’s also debating adding pins to her store.

Running a business has given Jones great opportunities. She was contacted to design a Mean Girls poster for a popular blogger to give to her daughter, and was recently contacted by a non profit theater company to donate a few of her prints.

For both girls, running a business has given them a chance to improve and share their art in a positive way through the many opportunities they’ve received.