Students take on business world


Courtesy of Anna Leigh O'Brien

Senior Anna Leigh O’Brien sells her artwork at a recent art show with her sister Blakely.

Layni Havard, Staff Reporter

   Three students from the high school have taken a step up in the world and have started their own businesses. 

   Senior Anna Leigh O’Brien started her business during the quarantine. O’Brien always wanted to sell her artwork but never found the time to do so. The quarantine allowed her to start her career. 

   O’Brien made an Instagram account with her business name Art by Anna Leigh and started sharing her creations. She also has her own Etsy and Facebook pages that help promote her works.

   With the help of her friends, she has also been able to spread the word about her business. 

   O’Brien has a schedule of when she posts on the account and has a list of commissions to work on. 

   Juggling school and her business is something O’Brien struggles with, so she sets up her time where she spends her fourth block working on her homework and attends cheer after school, then she gets time to work on her artwork. 

   It is on the weekends when O’Brien has the most free time to work on the list of commissions for that week. Unless there is a deadline to be made, then she will change up her schedule to prioritize that commission.

   The time it takes for O’Brien to finish a piece varies by the time in her schedule. 

   “In reality, the one item can take a day or two, but it has to come behind the other things,” O’Brien said. 

   O’Brien has her workspace set up in her room, where she has a desk that holds all her supplies.

   Prices range depending on the piece or commission. O’Brien sells Bibles for $65, acrylic paintings for $20-$35, watercolor paintings for $25-$40, cowbells for $40 and oyster shell ornaments for $12.

   The money that O’Brien is making is going to go towards college as well as her supplies. 

   O’Brien had an art show on October 24 at the Ivy and Pine Boutique.

   Another student entrepreneur is senior Calise Ardoin, and she started her business at the beginning of the year.

   Ardoin handmakes jewelry and does consignments. Her jewelry side of the business is Upearrings and the consignment is Calises.Consignment.

   Her shop is on Instagram, where she follows major thrift shops and sometimes gets advertised by them.

   Snapchat is another platform Ardoin uses to inform about her business and to promote it. 

   Ardoin schedules when she will do her school work, and after she will make earrings and post them on her Instagram account. 

   According to Ardoin, making jewelry can be time-consuming. She has to do everything individually, so it can take a lot of time.

   “I’ll get so invested sometimes,” Ardoin said. “And sometimes I’ll stay up for four hours working on several pairs of earrings.”

   She charges a range of $5 to $9, depending on how much it cost to make the earrings.

   For consignments, Ardoin usually gets her clothes from her closet, thrift shops or people give her their clothes. 

   For the clothes that do not sell, she will donate them. 

   Prices vary according to the quality of clothes or how old it is. 

   Junior Bailey Martin is a jewelry maker and seller. She has a page on Facebook and Instagram called Living Water Jewelry.

   She started the business after seeing rings on Pinterest and decided she could make them herself. 

   She gets her wires from a jewelry supplier, so her rings are real copper; the rest of the supplies come from Hobby Lobby, Etsy and Walmart.

  After getting many compliments on her rings, she decided to make more and start selling them.

  This happened last month, and now she has around 500 members on her Facebook page.

   Martin promoted her business by ordering business cards and setting them up with a jewelry booth she has at a boutique.

   Family and friends also help her share her creations. She also does giveaways on her page.

   Aside from Martin doing an online business, she recently had her first pop up stand at Strolling the Streets in downtown Lucedale.

   Martin handmakes all of her jewelry. It is a time-consuming task. She has to go to school and work as well as find time to make more products. 

   After work, Martin usually stays up at night to work on the jewelry. 

   Martin’s range from $5-$15 for one item. She also sells sets, which consists of a ring, necklace and earrings, for a much higher price. 

   The money invested in Martin’s business came from her own pocket. The money she makes from the business is going to be saved for college, and she dreams of having enough money to make many rings for the patients at St. Jude’s Hospital during Christmas time.