South Speaks: Businesses
By Casey Sanders
Outside of academics, many South students have become young entrepreneurs, pursuing their passions through creating their own businesses. Here are a few students whose businesses have achieved a great deal of success.
Bonnie Charles: BC Makeup
Tutorials on Instagram taught me the art of makeup. Video by video, I learned the jargon, the science, and all the categories of products that are used by skilled makeup artists. My freshman year of high school marked the beginning of my little self-made business, which my friends refer to as “BC Makeup”. That year, I began doing the makeup for all of our school’s theatre performances. My friends who did the shows with me started asking me to do their makeup outside of theatre. As word got around, I started getting asked each weekend by many different people to do makeup for parties, dinners, and even prom.
Because makeup is extremely expensive to buy, and I was using so much of it, I decided to start charging. Makeup artists in Great Neck usually range from around 90-120 dollars. Given that I am 17 and completely self-taught, I decided 30 dollars was a fair price. Each Thursday afternoon, I review my schedule of clients for the weekend and feel a pinch of excitement knowing I’ll be in my makeshift makeup studio, which doubles as my kitchen, helping them prepare for their fun night ahead. Makeup is truly my creative outlet, and I am so lucky that I’m able to share it with others!
Dylan Sanders: DressedByDyl
Dressed By Dyl is a business that I created where I restyle clothing by cutting, sewing, bleaching, etc. in all different ways. My goal is to make whatever I am working on look totally different than what it looked like at first. It all began when I was visiting the University of Michigan last September and didn’t have anything to wear to the tailgate. I thought that since I did not have time to go shopping before the trip, I should restyle an old t-shirt. Since then, my friends have asked me to make shirts for them because they really liked what I had done with this first shirt. So I went ahead and made shirts for them for occasions like when they visited school, Halloween, and even just shirts to wear on a normal day. This is when my business began to take off.
At first I didn’t really think about it becoming a very big business. I thought that I would just create different shirts for my friends when they needed them; however, this was not the case. I have people getting in contact with me from other towns around Long Island, the city, and even New Jersey and Florida. Today, I aspire for this business to become much bigger than it is right now and for people living all over to know about it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition regarding this kind of business. Many other people, especially around Long Island, enjoy doing what I do and have created businesses of their own. For this reason, I try to differentiate my business from others by styling clothing in different ways than anyone else has. I base my business on Instagram, and I communicate with my customers through Instagram as well. Whenever I make something I post it on the Instagram account so that everyone who is following me can see my latest creation, and see all of the different things that I am capable of making, which will hopefully encourage them to want to do business with me.
Brandon Alwadish: shoes
My business is an online sneaker reselling business. I buy limited sneakers when they release (for retail) and sell them (after they sell out) for more than I pay. Sometimes I buy other peoples’ pairs off of them (for more than they paid) in hopes that the value will rise. I have been successful making money both ways.
I started my business almost indirectly. I wanted to start paying for my own shoes in sixth and seventh grade because I wanted more than the usual pair or two that my parents got me every year. Towards the middle of seventh grade, I made my first few attempts at reselling. At the very beginning, I was awful at reselling if I’m being completely honest. My parents started getting mad at me because I was losing money. Then I took a step back and tried to learn more about the shoe business. I started talking to people who knew more than I knew, and I asked them what to buy and when to buy it. By the winter of eighth grade I started reselling successfully.
The idea behind my business was just to make enough money to add shoes to my own personal collection. Eventually, I realized that I could earn more money in this business than I had originally thought. The focus gradually turned from collecting to reselling. This year my business definitely grew substantially. With the help of other resellers (mainly people I met on Twitter), I became better at getting pairs for retail. November has seemed to be one of my most productive months every year. Last November in particular I decided it was time to increase my inventory, now working to obtain 10+ pairs every release. That month was capped off with 42 pairs, all of which sold really well. This November was no different. The Yeezy 350 Boost “Beluga 2.0” released on the Nov. 25, and I managed to get 65 pairs. Definitely my best release ever.
The sneaker reselling industry is a very competitive space. The hard part is not selling. It is obtaining product. Many people searching for a limited product makes them hard to get.There is very little differentiation on the selling side of things. Selling has become much more impersonal than when I first started out. Today over 85-90% of my sales come from apps such as goat app. In this case, I list the shoe on the app, it sells, I ship it off to them, and once they receive it, they “legit check” the shoe to make sure it is authentic and then send me the money. Very rarely do I sell directly to a person anymore. I preferred doing this in the past, but selling on apps is just much easier and also appeals to a larger market than I could have reached on my own.