Budding entrepreneurs: students balance both school and business

Patricia Yadao, Artistic Editor

The land of learning is not the usual place to breed original ideas. However, walking amongst ordinary students are budding entrepreneurs whose dreams are often too big for mere classrooms as they go about their money making ventures.

Junior Erica Cremona has already started on a goal to create cakes and run a cake business with the assistance of her mom as her manager. Her customers contact her through her Facebook page titled “Erica’s Cakes,” but people call her “Ericakes.”

Initially, Cremona only made cakes for her family but she now makes cakes for anyone who can place an order. Although she gives much of the credit to her mom who helped her advertise her business outside their circle of family members, she does everything from baking, frosting, freezing, fondanting, decorating and delivery. She charges $75 for her usual order of a two-tiered cake in a medium price range.

Her start-up costs involved purchasing baking supplies, but she was lucky that her parents helped her out. When she first began her business, her expenses included having to purchase cake pans, cake mixes, and other supplies before when she wasn’t making things from scratch.

During the summer, she is capable of making seven cakes in a week. However with many responsibilities to juggle during the school year, it can become stressful to manage her cake business if she books too many cakes a week.

“It’s still a working process because I haven’t fully figured out how to manage my time,” Cremona said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I have to learn when enough is enough.”

Despite the amount of time and effort she dedicates to her cakes, she says the different types of people she is able to meet and their reactions has made her business worth it.

The first cake she made for a wedding — a black and white three-tiered cake with piped detailing accompanied by 150 cupcakes — still stays with her in loving memory.

Senior Rylan Ladion runs a network marketing or multilevel marketing business with his family, which is their primary source of income. They are associated with a company through direct sales where commision is paid from the sale of the product and by recruiting others to sell it.

“By getting into this at 16 years old, I’ve learning so much about something that isn’t taught in traditional educational systems, which is financial education,” Ladion said. “Personal growth — that’s what I really like about this and it made me grow up.”

His company is Seven Point 2 which is known worldwide as a leading alkaline diet company. The company claims it is the next movement in the health and wellness industry with the goal of achieving a balanced Ph body scale. The product, which is not FDA approved, claims that steering away from an acidic body fights off cancer, illnesses and chronic diseases.

Ladion plans to do network marketing for a living. He admits it’s not for everyone but people of any age are welcome to pursue this career path and there’s no limit to how much income can be generated since it is all commission based.

“Everybody wants to be financially secure at some point in their life,” Ladion said.

Senior Kalel Vaughn, otherwise known as K Flows, is an aspiring rap artist who opened up an underground business of selling candy during lunch periods in order to purchase studio equipment to launch his goal of becoming a professional rapper in the music business.

The school policy is that no one can sell anything on campus without going through student government first. Not only is an independent business on campus grounds against state law, the school is not supposed to provide students access to sugary substances on campus. If caught, the individual faces a progression of consequences called progressive discipline.

“The problem is you can’t have budding entrepreneurs on a school campus because they have a captive audience: somebody can’t walk away because you’re in a class or you’re at lunch,” Principal Bill Atterberry said.

Nevertheless, through selling candy every day for a duration of two weeks during lunch periods, he was able to make about $700, enough to finance his first single on Youtube called “I Ain’t Trippin.” The song currently has around five thousand hits in less than two months.

“My rap career, which sounds far-fetched and kind of like a dream to most people, is for me a reality,” Vaughn said. “I want a real career, not something I just had to do to pay the bills.”

Despite their different interests, these entrepreneurs have all displayed a potential for success and are immersed in the real world of numbers and opportunities at such a young age.