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Designing the Future This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Thesummer before eighth grade I started my own business. It all began because of myinterest in art and jewelry making. I admired how some people used pens andpencils to hold their hair up, but thought that I could create designs that wouldbe attractive and more practical. So, I made hair sticks out of wire and beads.After hammering the ends of the wires flat and curling the other ends intoabstract geometrical designs, I incorporated glass beads. My mom thought mycreations were beautiful and encouraged me to sell them at craft fairs.

At first, I did not think I would do it because it was difficult toimagine people actually buying my creations. So, I just made hair sticks for myfriends. These sticks looked great in their hair, and since they and my familyliked them so much, I decided to enter my designs in a craftfair.

Although the whole process of starting a business seemedoverwhelming, once I got organized, it became easier. My mom taught me how to getstarted and what I needed to run a business so that I could eventually do itmyself. My parents helped me get a state sales license and a business bankaccount, take trips for buying materials, and plan production.

Iapplied for my first craft fair later that summer. Then I bought a tent to set upmy booth. Next, I purchased glass bowls and vases to display my hair ornaments. Iset prices for the hair sticks: $28 for the expensive glass-beaded ones and$16-$22 for the less expensive beaded hair sticks. The prices included the costof materials and the work I put into them.

When I arrived at the fair, Iwas a little nervous because I did not know how people would react to mycreations. I was afraid customers would not see me as a serious craftspersonbecause of my age. Also, being in a position where others would critique my workwas difficult. As the day passed, I got many compliments, as well as somecriticism that I found very helpful. Hearing different opinions gave me someperspective and new ideas. I discovered that criticism was not as bad as I hadthought it would be.

To my surprise, I sold $600 worth of merchandise. Alocal merchant approached me and asked if I would sell her some hair ornaments tosell in her shop. Later that year, I sold merchandise to another store in town.

My business is still growing. I have now started to make the sticks outof ready-made teak and carved bone sticks and embellishing the ends with beadswhich works better in hair than the hammered wire and is even more attractive. Tofurther expand my business, I plan on tapping into the experience and skills of afamily friend who represents fashion designers and markets their works to retailcompanies which gets their designs into stores and catalogs. With this friend'shelp, I will soon market my product on a broader scale.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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