“It takes time to do things, but it’s fun to do it.”
“It makes me feel really accomplished. I never thought I would ever be out there.”
“I’ve learned that any idea is a good idea. No matter what it is, it can still be a good idea.”
Soy candles, wooden toys, jewelry, paintings were all on display at the Youth Entrepreneur Expo at the Greenwood Cultural Center – several of those businesses were owned by Tulsa Public Schools students, who learned how to create and operate a small business.
“I’m loving that they are growing and learning about the economy,” one parent said.
Tulsa Public Schools students from all areas participated in the event. One group, Carver’s Women of Power – a program offered to 8th grade girls to help them become ready for the next level of life - had several business owners at the expo who took something they were passionate about and turned it into a business.
“I am selling body-positive crop tops because I want young women to feel comfortable in their bodies because society says that you have to be and have to look a certain way. I just want them to be comfortable in their bodies,” said Aleeyah, a Carver 8th grader.
Her shirts say, “Love Your Body” - a message that drives her business.
“Crop tops don’t have a body type and you can wear what you want,” she said.
For 14-year-old Paris Bedford, her paintings are a way to express herself.
“I was never good at communicating with people and when I would I’d get frustrated because I didn’t know how, so I resorted to painting,” she said. “Now, whenever I’m angry, whenever I’m sad, I’ll take a canvas and some paint and just slap it on there. But now it’s not just an outlet, it’s something I love to do and love to do for other people.”
Paris said through selling her paintings, she’s learned to better connect with people, to keep going when things get hard, in both business and in life.
“I wanted to quit at least 60 times and I just want it to be over with, but you really have to keep trying. And I know that’s something you don’t want to hear from people, but it’s really important,” she said.
Most of the students said it was hard, but that when they reached a bump in the road they were motivated to keep going because they wanted to share their passions with others.
“I’m very glad that I did it. I’ve developed more speaking skills with people. And having people compliment my art, I’ve learned that some people do like it and it’s not just me,” she said.
Congratulations to all the small business owners!