Senior launches Catie Creates company

Ally Little, Reporter

Being a student is not always easy and juggling homework sometimes seems downright impossible, and for those who manage to throw a part-time job in, there must never be any breaks. But imagine owning and running your own business, no employees, no delivery service, all on your own. Well, that is exactly what senior Catie Wilkerson decided to take on this year.

Wilkerson’s business, Catie Creates, is a jewelry and custom sticker business run out of her home. 

“I started designing digital art and turned them into stickers,” Wilkerson said. “I first started by selling stickers and then branched out into jewelry.”

Wilkerson said she is very proud and always open to tell anyone about her business.

“I sell super cute earrings and stickers,” Wilkerson said. “I sell mainly to teenagers, and sometimes adults will buy earrings for their kids.”

When Wilkerson says that her business is self-made, she means it, she even put the starting money in on her own. 

“I funded the operation with money from my previous job,” Wilkerson said.

It’s one thing to say you’re starting your own business but it’s not really a business until you make a profit.

“I was ecstatic when I made my first sale,” she said. “It felt like all my work finally paid off.”

It must be difficult to stay motivated when running your own business, while also juggling school, and in Wilkerson’s case applying for colleges, but that doesn’t stop her because she has built a support system to keep her going. 

“I have many loyal customers, and also my family is a big supporter,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said she is also conscious of her customers’ allergies and sensitivities, making sure that all of her products are safe. 

“They are made from plastic and silicone charms and hypo-allergenic hooks,” she said.

Not only did Wilkerson just start a business, but she started one right smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. That didn’t deter her from what she wanted to do.

“It is still difficult to maintain a steady stream of orders amidst a pandemic, but it’s all worth it because I love what I do,” Wilkerson said.

Catie Creates has amassed some very loyal customers, one of whom is junior Livvy Monk.

Monk said she is very proud of her friend’s business, and has been supporting her from the beginning, 

“I think Catie’s business is a wonderful idea, especially for a high schooler to make some extra money,” Monk said. “It’s really amazing to see a teenager create a steady and successful business for herself while at the same time juggling being a senior and applying for colleges.”

Wilkerson’s creations have even managed to sway some of the pickiest earring wearers. 

“I was never really a dangly earring kind of person until Catie started to sell her earrings,” Monk said. “I only bought and wore studs and now I’ll walk out of the house with fun flowers or ghosts dangling from my ears.” 

Though the concept of owning your own business at 16 sounds like lots of fun, very few of us could actually do it. 

“Honestly I wish I had a business like hers I could run,” Monk said. “It is so cool to be in charge but I also know she is really busy with taking, making, and delivering orders. Juggling school and packaging is something I can’t  imagine doing. I really admire her abilities.” 

Even though Catie Creates has only been running for a short time now, she has managed to launch a handful of seasonal collections, making sure that everyone can find something they’ll love.

“I loved her Halloween earrings,” Monk said. “Anything special and seasonal is so cute and I’m automatically buying it.”

Wilkerson has not only managed to make cute and trendy jewelry that is sure to appeal to many young adults our age, but she has also inspired those around her while doing so.

“I just am so proud and impressed with her business,” Monk said. “It’s difficult to start up something like this and actually make a profit after awhile. It is so cool to also be able to wear something unique my friend sells and be able to say to people, ‘Hey my friend Catie makes earrings, you should check them out!’”

One of Wilkerson’s biggest supports through this whole process has been her mom, Carrie Wilkerson.

Catie said she especially enjoyed having her mom’s expertise on the business side when initially starting.

“My mom was a huge help because she’s a business coach and so she was able to give me super helpful tips,” Catie said.

Carrie Wilkerson has some insight on small business so she was especially adept at helping Catie with her venture.

“I’m actually an author and speaker that encourages everyone to pursue some sort of small business, so it makes perfect sense to me when teenagers and young adults start a side hustle,” Carrie said.

Carrie said she does not claim to have any responsibility in the business and attributes all the success to her daughter. 

“Catie used her own money to fund her start-up,” her mom said. “I am not responsible for her business at all. Sometimes I help if she needs extra hands, but from marketing to sourcing to creation and fulfillment…it’s all her.” 

Catie’s mom said she is filled with nothing but joy about her daughter’s business.

“I’m proud of Catie’s creativity and her persistence,” Carrie said. “Building a business isn’t easy. She has a great eye for delighting her customers, from product to packaging.”

Carrie especially notes that she understands the pressure her daughter is taking on and should be admired for it.

“Running a business takes time, so I’m sure she has an added stress that other students might not have, but she also has a pride of ownership and time freedom that is rare for this age,” she said.

Carrie said she respects that her daughter will need time to make her venture work, but she has nothing but good things to say about Catie’s future.

“I’m sure sometime soon Catie will get a job for steady income while she grows her business at the same time,” Carrie said. “She’s aware that it takes time and consistency to build a loyal fan base, especially during a pandemic and crazy cultural time we are in!”