Everyone dreams of being his/her own boss one day, but only a few individuals actually risk bringing an idea to fruition. While some entrepreneurs wait to graduate college in the hopes of starting their own business, to others the craft of managing a business comes naturally.
For fourth-year human resources major Casey Green, her fascination with makeup turned into a business during her college years. Green’s eyelash business, Coated, transformed from her simply posting pictures on social media to selling lashes to women across Toledo.
Green’s fascination for makeup developed at nine years old when her mother gifted her with her first eyeshadow palette. Instantly, she said she fell in love with the idea of makeup enhancing an individual’s beauty.
Years later, Green started her own business to continue providing people with similar opportunities to experiment and feel more confident in their own skin.
"When you buy eyelashes, you can become a different person,” Green said. “You can have a different style one day and then a different style the next.”
Since she’s always felt intrigued by makeup, particularly lashes, Green said she took the extra step and found a vendor to bring her ideas to life. Her major in human resources management alleviated the process by helping her manage time efficiently as a full-time student and business owner.
When she first started out, Green said she had a hard time finding consistent business since nobody wanted to buy her lashes. She worked especially hard to build her brand; through word of mouth, her business expanded.
To further attract more customers, Green said she provided special offers on eyelashes such as BOGO deals. Her secret to building a clientele is keeping customers intrigued, which allowed her to grow her brand alongside her following on social media.
Green’s advice to students starting their own businesses is to never put their time toward just one thing. While running a business is important, students need to prioritize education, she said.
Green added there are endless possibilities to experimenting with lashes; Coated offers a variety of styles, ranging from short and simple everyday wear to long and dramatic party wear.
"It allows you to be somebody else every day,” Green said.
However, Green isn’t the only student at UT who applied her education to her own business. Grant Goatley, a third-year business major, started a lawn and landscape business along with Brendan Callahan, a third-year marketing and sales student. The two started Executive Lawn and Landscape as juniors in high school.
While the two originally started by raking leaves for three clients, they now boast clients from Toledo, Sylvania, Perrysburg, Bowling Green and Maumee. Grant said their business expanded through word of mouth and through social media.
The services they offer include spring cleanups, lawn aeration, dethatching, mowing lawns and leafing. Their education in growing their business came from a combination of applying what they learned in class and getting real life experience from starting their business.
Goatley said that while classes taught him how to build his personal brand and learn more about using social media to their advantage, what made him even more comfortable in owning a business was taking the steps to start it.
Goatley said his advice for students starting their own business is to prepare for the difficulties but not give up. Start with small increments and grow when you can.
"I think the only way you can fail is if you just quit,” Goatley said.
While most individuals turn their dreams into businesses, some expand on other’s visions. One such individual is Brianna Stewart, a fourth-year communication major who works at Jera’s Heavenly Sweet.
The small bakery located downtown began with Stewart’s mom baking for friends from home. Her hobby expanded into taking orders and eventually getting licensed by the health department, Stewart said.
On June 19, 2017, they opened their very first location. Participating in food truck Thursdays meant the business already had a customer base downtown, making the transition easier.
Stewart said while the experience is new, she has learned a lot from marketing through social media. She applied everything she learned from class to the business.
Her involvement in the business started way back when she was a kid helping her mom decorate cookies. Today, not only does she assist her mother in the baking process, but she also manages their social media, Stewart said.
“My mom has wanted to do this since she was a little girl,” Stewart said. “She always wanted to have a little bakery and her own business. For a long time, she didn't know how or where to start.”
Eventually, everything fell into place, Stewart said. She added that she sees the bakery opening in other locations in the future. She hopes that it develops into a place where people can sit down and feel at home.
"I know that the difference between us and other bakeries is the personality of the people that work there,” Stewart said.
She added that when her mother started baking at nine years old, her grandmother always made homey-feeling sweets. This encouraged her mother to continue perfecting her expertise in baking.
"They're normal things that you think of when you're at your grandma's house and so when you bite into something that we make, we want you to feel like you're back at your grandma's house," Stewart said. "We want you to feel like you're at home, like you're at peace."
While Stewart has helped her mother live her dreams, she also has her own dreams to fulfill. However, she said she hopes to come back to continue helping her mom build her business.
"My mom likes to have me as a part-owner, but it's actually her vision, it's her dreams, it’s her bakery; I'm just a part of it," Stewart said.