Being Your Own Boss: Entrepreneurial Students Balance School With Business


Grace Woodruff, Staff Writer

Sophomore Chloe Lein stands by the oven waiting for the ding of the timer to let her know her cupcakes are done as their sweet smell fills the kitchen. She is one of many other students who juggle the full-time job of school along with that of being a self-made entrepreneur. Spare time at LASA is a precious commodity, and some students choose to take advantage of the free time they have to create their own businesses, selling things from cupcakes to clothes.

Senior Jackie Meisel sells clothing online through her brand YUGO. Though she says she has always been entrepreneurial, she found her calling for designing clothes this year.

“Since I was a kid, I was always trying to kind of make my own small business, I would make friendship bracelets or choker necklaces,” Meisel said. “I found out this year that I was pretty good at selling and designing. And so it was a really good opportunity to be like, ‘Oh, I can take this passion I have for having a side hustle all the time and having small businesses with something that I’m actually good at.’”

Sophomore Catherine Watson makes and sells knitted items on Etsy under the name KnitTheStars. She said that she started knitting to relieve stress but soon found a way to monetize it.

“I taught myself to knit as a source of anxiety relief because I’d heard it was supposed to be really beneficial for that,” Watson said. “I was looking to expand the number of things I could make and have more of a purpose in what I was creating, and then also to spread all the joy I found in meeting with other people. So I decided to channel that into creating a business.”

Owner of HappyLlamaSnacks, sophomore Chloe Lein, makes money selling baked goods for her business. She started baking for a school project and decided to pursue it as a business endeavor.

“I’ve always enjoyed baking as a hobby, but I had gotten used to following recipes,” Lein said. “When we had the opportunity for our 20% time project in eighth grade, which was just basically a little bit of time each English period to work on whatever we wanted to, I knew that I wanted to work on something where I could create my own recipes.”

Meisel’s brand YUGO is one of several clothing lines produced by LASA seniors. Brands that came before her include The Fat Flying Bread Brand and Grandioso Brand. She said that she usually makes her clothes all at once, from start to finish, during her free time.

“First I cut all of my flat pack materials,” Meisel said. “Most of the fabric that I use is like recycled bed sheets or refashioning other old clothes that I had. So I cut out those patterns. I have a Project Runway rubbish sewing machine. So I usually work in a really fast burst as if I’m on Project Runway and probably make about three to four shirts.”

Watson, on the other hand, prefers to work slowly over a long period of time. She said that she knits in whatever free time she has.

“I’m always knitting when I’m at school or doing something else,” Watson said. “And then on the weekend and when I have more free time I put work into building my website or shipping orders or creating new designs, some of the more technical work. But any other time I’m just knitting on the go.”

According to Lein, her process is a mixture of Watson’s and Meisel’s. She bakes when schoolwork is light over a period of several days.

“I’ll make a base for whatever thing that I’m selling,” Lein said. “If I know I want to make cupcakes, I’ll make whatever cupcake base for the flavor that I want to come up with. Then, I’ll just think about what the finishing touches are going to look like. And then I’ll go back to whatever my base product was and try to kind of turn that into my final vision.”

Meisel finds her sewing projects to be incredibly satisfying. She said she enjoys each step of the process, not just the final product.

“The most rewarding part is probably just having that step by step process that ends in a really cool accomplishment that somebody else enjoys having,” Meisel said. “The entire process is something that feels meaningful the whole time and doesn’t feel like ‘Oh, I’m doing this because I need to get money.’ I’m doing this because every step of the way, I’m having fun.”