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Student entrepreneurs start to pave their futures

Published May 8, 2024

BY IMOGEN NICHOLSON

Home to a crocheting business, a budding florist business and a hauling business, beneath its surface CHS has a number of hidden student entrepreneurs who have turned their hobbies into something more. 

Junior Amery Gill has started a business from crafting crochet wearables to plush toys. 

“It started off with clothing items, and it’s formed into more stuffed animals right now,” Gill says. “I started crocheting for fun, and it took me a really long time to get good at it.”

The AP Art 3D student’s passion for crocheting found success at Jerome’s Carmel Valley Market and Olivia and Daisy Books, right next door. Gill’s family wanted her to go into selling at local businesses in the village.

“It’s been going really well there,” the junior says, “and it’s only been for a little bit.”

Judith Verdeja’s family owns a floral shop in Mexico, and this is where Verdeja’s interest for the hobby started. (courtesy of JUDITH VERDEJA)

With school and a job, Gill’s crocheting is more of a hobby than a source of money. The junior plans to become more successful and open a website along with eventually joining the farmers’ market in Mid Valley. 

“This would be something I would like to pursue after high school,” Gill says.

Balancing school, work and her business presents its own set of challenges for the CHS student.

“I crochet a lot,” explains the student entrepreneur. “I do it in art and sometimes during my classes because it’s very therapeutic. Usually every weekend I will dedicate a day or maybe even two days and grind it out.”

Gill hopes to expand her business through online platforms and pop-up shops, while also working on accurately pricing her items to further her commissions.

“It’s really hard to get the pricing correct because everything takes around six to eight hours to make,” the crochet business owner says.

CHS students Wells Houlihan and Judith Verdeja are also turning their hobbies into profitable ventures. 

“I cut wood, sell it and then I haul people’s trash or any junk that they want me to take to the dump,” says Houlihan, who drives a Ford F-350 Tremor. 

Houlihan has other jobs outside his business. The senior is also a welder for Randazzo Enterprises Inc. and as a manual laborer. The welder started his business selling wood with a neighbor down the street who had his own business.

“I brought him more customers,” Houlihan says. “I split the wood, and we both sell it. To improve my business, I would get more employees, more trucks, more trailers and more wood.”

Houlihan gave his hauling business the name HD Hauler in 2021. The hauler is motivated to be successful in his business because he plans to buy land in the future.  

“If you want to buy something without looking at the price,” Houlihan says, “you’ll have to work without looking at the clock.” 

CHS senior Judith Verdeja has her own floral business called JV Floral, which she sources from local farmers markets to make bouquets. The junior has done flower arrangements for events such as her sister’s wedding, with a total of 70 bouquets so far.

“I really want to pursue this after high school,” Verdeja says. “My family in Mexico has their own floral shop too, so I think it just runs in the family.”

Verdeja’s business idea started when she was making bouquets for her sister’s graduation.

“I just loved the way the colors went together,” the florist says. 

With both school and work, Verdeja starts to work on her bouquets at around 10 p.m. and usually ends up working till 1 a.m. Verdeja often works on her bouquets by herself but occasionally will have her mother help out. The florist entrepreneur needs around two to three weeks of notice for a bouquet order because of how long it takes for her to get all the flowers.    

Potential student entrepreneurs will have the ability to learn more about owning a business through the new business courses CHS will offer next school year, providing students with an opportunity to learn some critical tools to help them begin ventures of their own someday.

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