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Student entrepreneurs during COVID-19

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Student entrepreneurs are those who split their time between education and running their own business. 

The lockdown provided many students more time to work on their business outside of school. These businesses include students manufacturing and selling products. Some may only do this as a part-time job while still attending classes and having another job, whereas some students turn these businesses into full-time careers.

Two custom-designed phone cases from student-operated CaseItDesigns. Photo by Amy Prescott

Amy Prescott, founder and owner of CaseItDesigns, is a second-year Cuesta College student who started her business on March 11. She uses a technique called sublimation where she prints out photos and heat presses them onto phone cases. 

“I enjoy making money on my own time, I wanted to be creative and put my own twists so I went with phone cases,” Prescott said. 

Aside from designing and making phone cases, Prescott also works as an administrative assistant for a farm management company. While she likes having another job, she enjoys being her own boss at CaseItDesigns.

Prescott’s business centers on phone cases, but she only makes designs for iPhones. She hasn’t had any requests for Android phones such as Galaxy or LG, so she isn’t making any designs for them at this time. 

Luckily for Amy, COVID has had no effect on her business. While she mainly works from home, she also offers handouts as well as shipping.

Setup of handmade candles from CANDL Company. Photo by Trevor Howell

Trevor Howell, founder and owner of CANDL Company, has turned his business into a full-time job. Currently in his final year attending Cal Poly, his process for making candles involves taking recycled aluminum cans or glass bottles and mixtures of fragrances and wax, which he combines to create unique candles.

“I was working part-time doing tech sales but I quit because I had too many candles to make,” Howell said. “I still go to school in Cal Poly but I graduate in June.”

Howell’s bedroom with wax and fragrances. Photo by Trevor Howell

Howell made his first sale with CANDL Company on Dec. 2, 2020, and has been continuing to make sales. Candles weren’t the first thing Howell sold. In the past, he designed custom t-shirts and stickers that he would put out for sale.

“Due to classes being turned to online because of COVID, I had a lot more time in my house to put more time into making more candles,” Howell said.

Cuesta College has a Student Entrepreneurship Club, which is currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic during this time.