Teens Starting Small Businesses that Flourish during Pandemic

TikTok creates its own Small Business Resource Center to help entrepreneurs like these.

Via TikTok

TikTok creates its own Small Business Resource Center to help entrepreneurs like these.

Kylee Johnson, Editor

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started a year ago, students from all backgrounds have admirably and impressively started their own businesses. While many physical small businesses were temporarily closed during the beginning months of the pandemic, online businesses began to thrive. TikTok has been a major influence in promoting small, student-run businesses, by allowing people to advertise their handmade, self-taught, and self-supplied new businesses. With over 20 billion views on TikTok, the hashtag #smallbusiness has significantly driven the sudden popularity of self-running businesses.

This new phenomenon has made its way to Santaluces as well, with many students using their talents, hobbies, and passions to kick off their profession.

Senior Marc Jean-Baptiste started his ‘customs’ store during the 2020 Covid-19 quarantine while heavily relying on TikTok to promote his products.

“I always planned on reselling hyped-up shoes, clothing, and accessories around the beginning of my senior year. Since the 7th grade, I’ve always wanted my own store where people could buy from and catch a vibe at,” says Jean-Baptiste. “I usually have to depend on the TikTok platform to really branch out and get more customers, which has worked pretty well so far.”

Jean-Baptiste creates his business’ own website to promote his unique items.

Not only have these students successfully managed a self-run business a such a young age, but they have also done it during a global pandemic and major lockdown. Although quarantine forced the entire world into seclusion, it allowed people’s creativity to thrive.

Quarantine had different plans for me. I started drawing and getting back to my roots when it came to art. Something clicked and told me to start doing customs and then integrate my original plan into that,” says Jean-Baptiste.

While the pandemic is what indirectly caused Jean-Baptiste to start up his business, it was also what made it difficult to advertise and reach new customers. This is a familiar concept for many of these young entrepreneurs, causing them to revert to online platforms, especially TikTok, to expand their views.

“I honestly feel like if it wasn’t for the pandemic, I wouldn’t have really started up my business and take it as seriously as I do right now. I had lots of free time and decided that I should start my own business with it,” says Woodson Merius.

Merius, a junior at Santaluces, ironically began his business without intending to.

“It all started about a year ago when one of my close friends asked me to give him a haircut knowing that I’ve never cut anyone else’s hair but my own,” says Merius. The cut turned out to be pretty good and then it took off from there.”

While many teens took advantage of the recent global lockdown to startup their own business, Sophomore Claudia Joseph started her hair business in 2018.

“I never had anyone to do my hair when I was younger so I started to practice on myself and on mannequin heads. I taught myself how to do hair. I researched, watched videos, and practiced,” says Joseph.

What’s particularly impressive about these entrepreneurs, is their ability to attend their high school classes daily and maintain a social life, whilst responding to customers, tending to appointments, and physically creating their unique products.

“It’s lowkey stressful, having to balance my classes and homework, then do hair afterward and stand for hours, but I make it work, and I have good grades as well,” says Joseph.

“Having a job really tests the management area of it all,” says Jean-Baptiste.

Another unique aspect of running your own business is the ability to form your own flexible schedule. While managing a heavy school workload with a self-run business can be extremely stressful for others, Merius enjoys the adaptability of it all.

“I get to make up my own schedule and not have to worry about going in or calling off of work when I need time to do homework and other things,” says Merius.

Being a teenage entrepreneur is not uncommon nowadays, and the best advice that the previous interviewees have for future entrepreneurs is to stay persistent and to believe in yourself. 

“The best inspiration is criticism and hate; use it to get better,” says Jean-Baptiste.