Young Entrepreneurs Engage in Personal Businesses
It’s a Thursday night.
While some students can be found working late shifts at their part-time jobs, finishing their homework at the local library, or working up a sweat at practice, Thomas DeGroot, junior, is at the hair salon.
But he’s not getting a new haircut. Rather, Degroot is working as a hair stylist at his mother’s hair salon, The Stylist Salon. DeGroot is one of the many students working to develop their own companies.
“I’ve just been seeing her do hair my whole life, so I’ve been really inspired to sort of follow in her footsteps and do the same thing as her,” DeGroot said. “My sister works there too and I’ve always looked up to her.”
DeGroot said seeing the finished product is the most rewarding aspect of his job, and he absolutely loves the transformation on his clients.
Working as a hair stylist, DeGroot said he is presented with more benefits than a typical high school job. He has the power to set prices and create his own schedule. Although his hours vary, DeGroot said his work often focuses around dates of dances such as Homecoming and Prom.
“It’s so crazy all the time – for this Homecoming, I’m fully booked all day,” DeGroot said. “It’s very on and off because some days I’ll have four people come in while other days are completely different.”
Outside of working as a hair stylist, DeGroot also works as a receptionist at the salon and helps to look over the salon.
“Some days, I’ll be doing hair and also be having to do the dishes in the back later or cleaning up the salon,” DeGroot said.
DeGroot said the hardest aspect of the job is time management. He wants to try and fit as many people in a day to get more recognition, yet often struggles to fit in enough people.
“But it’s really nice because there isn’t anyone really telling you what to do at each certain time,” DeGroot said, “You can choose your own hours and plan your own schedule.”
Crystal Tullock, business education teacher, said owning a business allows students develop their own ideas and helps to develop dedication and passion in students.
“They’re more invested when they enjoy doing it,” Tullock said. “If it’s a product they create themselves, obviously they have some enjoyment in their product to be able to offer it to other people.”
Compared to a normal part-time job, Tullock said students gain important skills in finance and management, like how to budget their companies, as well as lead a group of people.
“In my Personal Finance class, we talk about how no matter what your first job is, you get those humble soft-skills,” Tullock said. “Having responsibility, being able to complete expectations from a boss, and fulfill your job duties are skills that may lack when you’re your own boss and you kind of do what you want.”
Tullock said high school is a great time to begin experimenting with jobs and entrepreneurship, which allows for students to begin seeing the world on a larger scale and learning to work with all different types of people.
“When you’re in high school, you’ve most likely been around the same kids growing up,” Tullock said. “Being able to work with different people is good to get students out of their high school shell.”
Sophia Lombardi, senior, reworks thrifted clothing and sells her finished products at Mesa Home, a vintage shop that sells reworked clothing, furniture, wall art, and home decor.
“I saw a post on Instagram and I thought ‘oh, I could do that’ and then I got my grandma’s sewing machine out and began making shirts,” Lombardi said.
While Lombardi is also employed at Chick-fil-A and Rachel’s Grove, Lombardi said working towards establishing her own company was more exciting and rewarding than any other job she has had before.
Despite the benefits of her job, Lombardi said the most difficult aspect of her job is coming up with innovative ideas and designs to present to her customers.
“Coming up with new ideas can be really difficult,” Lombardi said. “I make a lot of crop tops, but I’ve been trying to test out other ideas, and some things just don’t work out so then I have to try something else.”
In the future, Lombardi hopes to continue growing her company into college and selling college-themed items to her fellow students.
“I just hope to make more things and sell clothes to people in college and to just continue to grow,” Lombardi said.