Time to Shine is the result of Summer Company, which is an opportunity for students returning to school in the fall, to try their hand at running a small business over the summer holidays. They are given business training, assisted to write a business plan and receive up to $1,500 for start-up and an additional $1,500 upon completion. Summer Company provides students a taste for entrepreneurship, provides experience and awareness of the strong local business community.
Below is Terra Cobb’s story.
Time to Shine
“My business is Time to Shine doing henna tattooing and makeup. I had planned on just doing henna but the makeup side is actually booming! People generally come to me in Wellington, but I get my mother to drive me if I travel for a henna home visit, which I do around PEC, up to Belleville and also sometimes in Toronto where I live part time with my dad. I have five regular makeup customers who come to me every day. That was unexpected, but it’s great. I want to promote myself so people can see the artistic side of me and the beauty of henna. My prices range from $2 to $50 because I really want to get people involved.
The henna work is like temporary tattoos, and I buy my henna from a little shop in Toronto. I do my own designs. I get ideas from henna artists on Instagram, but I spend a lot of time on original designs. I’m a freehand artist, I draw directly onto people’s skin. No templates. I promote myself on Instagram and Facebook and I have some posters, too. My customers are mostly young people, although I don’t do anybody under six because of their sensitive skin. Parents will call asking for a temporary Batman tattoo for their child.
Instagram is amazing for showcasing your work, it has a business feature with an automatic “email me” or “call me” button. Young people are totally comfortable with Instagram. Maybe by using Pinterest I could reach more adults, and I have a YouTube channel I could also use for promotion. I would love to continue with henna, but I also want to be a teacher.
I used my grant money to buy essentials for working at markets – an awning and table and chairs – plus business cards and banners. I put $600 aside for henna, but when I got so many requests for makeup I spent some of it on a makeup case. My biggest challenge has been getting up to speed with doing makeup. But there’s no complaints. I go to markets in Wellington and Picton and a place called Alice’s Place in Toronto.”
More About Summer Company
Summer Company is a core program of the Small Business Centre running annually from mid-May to August 31. It is an opportunity for students returning to school in the fall, to try their hand at running a small business over the summer holidays. They are given business training, assisted to write a business plan and receive up to $1500 for start-up. After they run their summer business, complete all group activities and administrative aspects of the program and return to school, they receive an additional participation award of $1,500.
For the second year in a row, a portion of the overall Quinte budget has been allotted for development of a satellite program to run in Picton. The 10 participants in the satellite group come from PEC, L&A and Tyendinaga. They range in age from 15 to 19. Businesses include henna tattoo, beads made from natural stone, dance and arts camps, native crafts classes, postcards of local landmarks, athletic wear, indigenous jewellery, property maintenance and sports accessories.
Applying for Summer Company is a rigorous process. By the time a student has been approved and receives their start-up grant, they have written a detailed business plan including a start-up budget and cash flow, signed several legal documents, registered the business, secured insurance if needed and set up a separate bank account. It’s fair to say that not everyone who expresses an interest in Summer company, gets through this process! Help is available in the form of Sandy Abbott, the Small Business Centre consultant Prince Edward/Lennox and Addington, but the burden of completion by the early May deadline falls on the students themselves.
“Looking back at participants I have worked with over the last 5 years, I would say Summer Company students tend to be leaders with high aspirations. These particular ten have started businesses which allow them to follow their passion and make money at the same time. They all intend to keep the business going when they return to school and one already has plans to hire an assistant for next year. The program is for students who intend to continue their education. While many restart the business every summer during university, most have plans to work in professional services or skilled trades eventually. The program builds entrepreneurial skills and experience which is a factor in many graduates becoming business owners eventually.”
The enthusiasm for ‘being your own boss’ rubs off on other kids during the summer. Friends and family of the Summer Company students watch their progress during the summer and Youth in general visit the markets and fairs where they sell their products. Many ask questions about how the businesses got started. After just 2 years, we have an unofficial waiting list of 5 students who are waiting to turn 15 so they can launch their own business with the help of the program!
“Working with the Youth in Summer Company is a highlight of my year as a small business consultant. In just 12 short weeks these kids turn a passion into a viable idea, complete as much documentation as is required of any adult and come up with practical ways to connect with customers and make money. They bring enthusiasm and positive energy to the process and the perseverance to tie all the loose ends together in a vey short business cycle.”