Kalissa Armstrong, 16, launched her cake business when she realized that every week she was attending a different friendsâ€™ quinceaĂ±era, a coming of age ceremony common in the Hispanic community and is held on a girlâ€™s 15th birthday. After doing some research on the city of Dallas where she lived, Armstrong learned that Hispanics made up 66% of the population and celebrated 20,000 quinceaĂ±era every year. So when she needed to start a business for school, Armstrong thought about her love of baking and decided this market was a prime opportunity to make a profit onÂ quinceaĂ±era cakes. Now charging $35 per cake she has earned profits of $850 so far for 2009 and plans to open up a bakery in the future.
But scheduling around a business can be tough for a teen entrepreneur. For her first quinceaĂ±era, the high school junior had to bake two dozen cakes that would be used as centerpieces. â€śIt was very challenging,â€ť says Armstrong who says the job took her two and a half days and required help from four volunteers. Although she says she has fun baking cakes she still knows that organization is a key recipe to her success. Here is her advice on how to make the dough without missing out on the sweet life.
Create a detailed schedule. Armstrong suggests that teens make a chart of everything they need to complete in a day. Include time for school and homework before planning to spend time on the business. Finally, add must-attend events with friends and family.
Choose a business that is fun. Armstrong doesnâ€™t mind spending 30 to 40 hours a week on her business because for her it doesnâ€™t feel like a job. She had started baking as a hobby before coming up with the business concept. She encourages other teens to start a business doing something they already love to do so they wonâ€™t have a problem doing it. â€śOnce my business is up and running, my hobby will have just turned into a career,â€ť she says. â€śFor me, thatâ€™s my fun right there.â€ť
Donâ€™t let your customers down. Some people will doubt your abilities because of your age. Make sure they know that they can trust a young start up, says Armstrong who is very aware of the importance that young Hispanic girls place on the success of their quinceaĂ±era. She compares their desires to how she wanted her own Sweet 16 party to be perfect. “Every time I make a cake I put myself right back in that place. I tell my customerâ€¦I will make sure your day is as perfect as my sweet 16.â€ť