It’s never too early to start your career. Take it from 15-year old Casey, a Capetonian female entrepreneur. She’s only in Grade 9, but is the proud owner of Color Shock. The inspiring young lady talks to us about her business, entrepreneurship, and more.
Casey Hawkins is a 15-year old student at Jan van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town. We met Casey at her school’s career expo and were gobsmacked and super excited to hear about her proactive and ambitious approach to her professional future in the make-up industry.
She’s only in Grade 9, but this young lady has decided that she isn’t going to wait until the end of Matric to kick-off her career.
Check out what this born go-getter tells us about her business Color Shock Makeup Studios , and what it means to be a high school female entrepreneur.
The Color Shock Makeup Business
Casey is the owner and founder of her own makeup company.
“My business is called Color Shock Makeup Studios. I do makeup for school productions, model shoots, children’s parties, special effects makeup and evening makeup.”
Like the innovator she is, Casey thought carefully about the name for her business, and decided that the American spelling of color lends itself well.
“The American way in which the word ‘color’ is spelled is shorter and therefore makes the name look more appealing to the eye and can be very eye catching.”
How I started Color Shock Makeup Studios
“I started Color Shock about 3 years ago when I still lived in Joburg. Like many young girls, I’ve always loved playing with makeup. However, it didn’t stop at play. I always used to get transfixed with the transformation that can happen with a bit of ‘color shock.’ I was particularly intrigued with costume and special effects makeup.
When I was 12 my mom heard of a bridal makeup evening course and thought I may have fun doing it. She was right! I absolutely loved the course and afterwards, for the first time, I realised I could make money doing something I loved.“
“That was the birth of Color Shock.”
Casey started advertising her services in a local community magazine and started handing out pamphlets at pre-schools, her own school, and to friends. Many of her first clients were friends who needed their makeup done for modeling and photo shoots.
Casey says she aims to do at least 1 or 2 makeup gigs per week, even though the makeup business can be quite seasonal – for example, her services are in particular demand around the time of Matric dances, or special occasions like Halloweeen.
By doing 1-2 jobs a week, she can earn a lovely, steady income. Casey currently charges from R280 onwards, depending on the kind of makeup. But of course, like any smart business lady, she already worked out a discount system for productions and children’s parties – for example, at a kiddies party, she charges R50 per face.
What It Means to Be a High School Entrepreneur
Needless to say, this endeavour calls for balance. Casey has set up the following schedule for herself:
- 6 hours per day at school
- 1-2 hours per day studying and doing homework
- 2 hours per day working on her business
- remaining time spent with family and friends
“Being an entrepreneur at such an early age takes a lot of commitment, determination and motivation.
Being a teenager is a stage where you are still finding yourself. To start a business, you need to know who you are and also need to know where you want to be in the future. It all requires a lot of self-acceptance.
Being an entrepreneur in high school shows that you already know which direction you want to take for the future.”
Taking on such a big extra occupation during high school requires the right motivation and drive. Here’s how Casey has found hers.
“What motivated me most to start my own business was my passion for makeup, and the ability to start making my own money through something I enjoy doing.
I wanted to do something productive that involved my talent and my passion. I also liked the idea of becoming a part of the economy in a tangible way, at an early age.
Having my own money at a young age, and not having to rely entirely on my parents, makes me feel independent and like I’m able to do things more easily on my own terms.”
Why to Start Young
“It’s highly important to know what you are doing in the business world. It can be quite intimidating at times. By starting early, you are giving yourself that extra push and extra time to get used to the crazy working world.
There are many advantages that come with starting a business while you are young, like getting early-on, invaluable experience, as well as extra time.
When you start young, you can afford to make mistakes. It’s better to make mistakes earlier rather than later, so you can grow and learn from them.
A business often takes time to start making proper profits, and the earlier you start, the more time you give your business to grow while you focus on others things too, like school or university.“
“Starting young also helps you to figure out what you really want to do.”
“If you try and start a couple of businesses as a young high schooler and things don’t work out, or you don’t really like that field or career choice, you have time and opportunity to explore different ideas, as your income doesn’t fully depend on that one business just yet.”
Pretty impressive for a teenager, right?
Challenges High School Entrepreneurs Face
“There are quite a few challenges that a high school entrepreneur may face. School can put a lot of pressure on you, just as much as starting your own business can.
So, having to deal with school work, exams, and assignment deadlines while also trying to run your business, things can become quite hectic. While you are in school, it also means that time for the business is restricted to before and after school time.”
Casey explains that she tries to manage her time so that no makeup gigs interfere with her school work. Although it doesn’t always work out perfectly, she studies very hard and her marks haven’t suffered because of Color Shock – in fact, she claims they have increased owing to the fact the her business has taught her to be highly organised.
Casey feels that people celebrate entrepreneurs, and particularly respect females who start their own business. She does, however highlight that starting young and being in high school does make it difficult to gain the respect at first.
“I’ve realised that people don’t always respect your age and the fact that you are still in school when starting a business. Many people don’t trust you at first when they find out how young you are, so it’s up to you to prove your skills.”
Where to Get Support
Casey has 3 main pointers for high schoolers when it comes to getting support.
“If you have a family member that has started their own business, it’s always very helpful to consult them and ask them if you need any help or advice, for example with finances.
Having family to back you up emotionally is very important. They motivate you to keep going when things do get tough.”
2. Fellow Entrepreneurs
“Asking other high school entrepreneurs can be a great help, because they might have gone through a similar situation and can give you tips.”
Casey doesn’t personally know many fellow high school entrepreneurs, but she says some of the more popular areas that high schoolers explore for business are photography and tutoring for primary school.
3. The Internet
“You can research any advice and business questions on the Internet, or find stories that could help you in a specific situation.”
Indeed, there are tons of Youtube videos, blogs, and other online resources that you can use to help you start your business. That’s the great advantage of growing up in this technological era.
The Next Step
“My next step is make my business grow to a point where I can employ 5-7 very creative people who can do makeup and design very well. I also want to start specialising in special-effect makeup for medical and action movies.”
Check out some of Casey’s previous work on her Facebook Page!
If you are currently in high school and are fostering a personal business idea in your creative mind, let Casey be an inspiration to you. It’s never too early to start, and being in high school doesn’t mean you can’t reach for way, way more than just completing Matric in the years you attend school.
We all have ideas. But the ones who succeed are the ones who go the extra mile to see that idea become a reality.
If you or any of your high school friends have an inspiring story to tell, make sure to get in touch with us.
Make sure you follow our social media countdown – #30daysofyouth. We’re announcing something flipping awesome on the 16th of June and want to celebrate it with all of you. So if you haven’t yet, go and like us on Facebook and follow the #30daysofyouth hashtags on Instagram and Twitter ☺