Students’ small businesses on the rise


Courtesy of Aiyana Purnell

As seen on @naileddby.yamsss on Instagram, Purnell showcases the work she does on her clients.

Anna Berges, Staff Writer

There comes a point in time where teenagers begin to get jobs. Saving up for extra money for a car and even for college becomes the big idea.

But getting a job where you put in anywhere from 25-40 hours a week, depending on the season, can be hard on a young teen, especially while juggling school and extracurriculars. Finding ways to earn money without having to work for someone else can be much more enjoyable and gives a sense of control.

Some teens find their own way of making money. This can be seen as simple as selling old clothes, or running their own business. The commitment and time put into these businesses pay off, as they start to be successful on their own and having the opportunity to be their own boss, which most teenagers do not get to do.

To that end, many students at Stephen Decatur High School are now running their own small businesses, like senior Aiyana Purnell, who in 2020 started her own nail care business.

“When COVID-19 began and everything was shut down, I was not able to get my nails done,” Purnell said. “So, I ordered nail supplies, but never touched it. Once everything opened back up, I went to go get my nails done, and I did not like how they did them anymore. They always did them the opposite way and the shape was not for me. I became serious and picked up a nail brush and started practicing on my self and friends,”

Social media helps these aspiring teens make their businesses grow. Having multiple platforms to display your work on makes your audience expand. Creating a well-developed website also draws people in more, as they see how well-put-together you are.

Purnell plasters her work online, which helps her business’s expansion. She now has a growing Instagram page for her nail care businesses as well as an established website, where clients can schedule appointments and view pricing.

“I started to offer free sets until I got better,” Purnell added. “I then started to make my prices $25 to $35, my clientele started to get bigger. At first, it was all a hobby, but now I love it and I accomplished so many things with my business.”

Starting a business at such young age comes with benefits that you would not get at an older age, according to Business teacher Kurt Marx.

“I think it’s awesome,” Marx said. “Students get to gain experience early on. They are not risking much financially, either.”

Starting a business at this young age comes with little risk, as you generally have nothing to lose.

Senior Emma Johnson has her own Etsy shop. She creates handmade items, which started with pencil cases. The demand for these became high and soon expanded her line to purses, bags, scrunches, steering wheel covers and more. Her Etsy allows her to sell her items nationwide.

“I started my business as a way to learn more about what it takes to work in the world of business in order to prepare for my future career,” Johnson said.

Branching out from the accepted idea of working a 9-5 as young as 15 years old shows these teenagers that they can step out of the box. The persistence and determination to become successful by making money on their own at such a young age shows hard work and dedication.

Sparking ideas that can lead you to having money flow in is easier than acting on it. The absence of patience can discourage some, but following through with plans and ideas leads these teens to possible success. Having the right mindset means these new creative ideas are much easier to obtain and add onto. These businesses are impressive, and show the capability these teens hold.