Students operate small businesses


Photo used with permission of Namya Kohli

The photograph above pictures one of Namya Kohli’s orders, a fall themed vanilla cake with hand piped floral decorations.

Katelyn Chu, Staff Writer

Many teens fill their free time with playing sports, participating in clubs or playing instruments. However, some students have turned their creative hobbies into enterprises. From wellness brands to baking, student entrepreneurs have created profit while learning about business ownership. 

Senior Sheersika Mittapally runs a business with Chantilly graduate Kayla Kim. Their company, Eunoia Beauty and Self Care, sells vegan soaps and handmade bracelets. 

“I created Eunoia Beauty & Self Care in the hopes of spreading the need for self-love,” Mittapally said. “Through my experience, I’ve learned that time management is an important aspect of starting a business.”

Sophomore Namya Kohli runs a baking business called Sweet Treats by Namya. She sells cakes, cookies and decorated cupcakes through her Instagram and Facebook accounts.

“I decided to start my business because I love baking and I thought that it would be a quick and easy way to make money while doing something that I love,” Kohli said. 

Running a small business can be hectic and time-consuming, especially while juggling school, but may turn out to be rewarding in the long run. According to Junior Achievement, 13% of adult entrepreneurs started their business before they were 18 years old.  

“Starting a business as a high school student has taught me that getting a plan together and finding the time to do crucial tasks like launching a website or advertising our products determine how well a business will function,” Mittapally said.

Gaining a leadership role can be a motivator behind teens starting businesses. According to Gallup, 77% of students want to be their own boss in the future, while 45% hope to create and own a business. In addition, Guidant Financial reports that the second-highest motivator behind starting a business is the desire to pursue a passion. 

“[Kayla and I] share a love for prioritizing self-care, [which is] why we started to make products that are cheap and vegan,” Mittapally said. 

In addition to generating sales, promotion and marketing help to develop a business. Social media has become a popular method to advertise products as it is free and can reach many users very quickly. According to Forbes, social media marketing helps small businesses increase brand awareness and website traffic, as well as target specific demographics. 

“Currently, we are advertising through Instagram,” Mittapally said. “We want to make shopping more accessible through Instagram’s shopping feature, so we decided that this app would be the best form of advertisement.”

While marketing and sales help businesses thrive, some efforts may ultimately fail. According to VentureWell, major reasons for student-run businesses failing include a lack of funding and the difficulties associated with staying focused while balancing school and entrepreneurship.

“I would tell other students who are interested in starting their own business to never give up. There may be times where you don’t get a lot of orders or you think your business isn’t doing well, but just keep pushing through,” Kohli said. ”Come up with creative ways to advertise and to get the word about your business to others in the community.”