San Jose teen entrepreneurs find business is booming

Portrait of Arely Rodriguez, taken on April 16 2024. (Elda Alvarez/Mosaic Staff)

Editor’s Note: This article was written for Mosaic Vision, an independent journalism training program for high school students who report and photograph stories under the guidance of professional journalists.

Teenagers such as 17-year-old Naomi Andalon Garcia are leaning more into becoming their own bosses rather than applying for part-time jobs while they go to high school.

She’s one of many students who have started their own business while still in school. A 2022 survey by Junior Achievement USA showed that 60% of U.S. high school students were more interested in starting their own business instead of working traditional jobs.

Andalon Garcia, a senior at Yerba Buena High School in San Jose, has operated a jewelry business for more than four years. Her Instagram account, @thepalomajewelry, which is her main platform for distribution of silver jewelry, has more than 640 followers.

“You would think I mainly sell at school but it is mostly people on Instagram,” Andalon Garcia said.

Selling jewelry is not her first business.

“I used to sell peanuts, I would go around the neighborhood yelling ‘cacahuates’… I love the sense of freedom,” she said. The growth of her businesses gave her financial independence from her parents.

Andalon Garcia goes to Mexico two to three times a year to buy jewelry which then she resells. She estimates she has spent several thousand dollars doing that.

Another budding business owner, Lidia Dominguez, a senior at Latino College Preparatory Academy in San Jose, applies acrylic nails for clients who come to her house.

“I’ve been doing this before my freshman year, so for almost four years,” she said.

Dominguez started in the backyard and now she has her own designated nail room inside her house. With over 1,530 followers on Instagram @nailsbymelissa.12, she was fully booked in May with around 10 appointments every week because of proms and graduations. Due to all business she no longer relies on her parents, she invests what she gains back into her business.

“I took art classes throughout high school, which I feel like boosted up my creativity and my line work, ” she said.

Throughout high school Dominguez has created loyal clients. As she expands her business her schedule gets busier.

Another entrepreneur, Arely Rodriguez, a senior at Latino College Preparatory Academy, wanted to get a job but her parents wanted her to focus on school. So instead  she started her own business, which her parents allowed her to do. She uses colorful ribbons to create artificial bouquets, crosses and flower baskets.

Portrait of Arely Rodriguez, taken on April 16 2024. (Elda Alvarez/Mosaic Staff) 

She started last year and has slowly started growing. Her Instagram account, @rodriguez.bouquets, has about 90 followers since the business started last year.

“I honestly love creating flowers, I don’t do it for the money, it helps me de-stress myself from school,” she said.

All three students are graduating this month, and all three want to continue growing their businesses as they head to college.

Andalon Garcia is planning to do pop-ups this summer at local parks. Then she will attend San Jose State where she plans to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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