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Seniors enter business world with entrepreneurial endeavors

Courtesy of Emma Pitcock

Courtesy of Emma Pitcock

Senior Emma Pitcock spends her free time hand lettering canvases, mugs and wood pieces. "Calligraphy gives me a break from everything.," Pitcock said. "Sitting at my desk listening to music and writing is so peaceful. My favorite part is spending time reflecting and thinking about the quotes I've written."

Roba Abousaway, Cinco Ranch High School

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There are myriad businesses around every corner. Some sell jewelry, some sell t-shirts and tank tops, others sell calligraphy art pieces. But this is not a mall. The owners of these businesses are not middle-aged, degree-carrying adults either. They are students at our school who have undertaken entrepreneurship. Seniors Jason Gilcrease and Emma Pitcock are a few among others who have decided to start earning money by creating and selling their own products.

Jason Gilcrease

For Gilcrease, the journey began his sophomore year when he launched his company called Edge Outdoor Apparel. The start-up is a unique lifestyle brand that reflects the theme of the great outdoors. Recently, he organized a campaign that reflects his passion for helping others in need. Some causes that Gilcrease donates to include veteran rehabilitation, environmental preservation, and support for families that suffer from cancer.

“I had always wanted to start a business in high school,” Gilcrease said. “I wanted to do something that made a positive impact on the world in some way. Edge Outdoor Apparel is all about inspiring people to get outside, enjoy life, and live the adventure. Each tee correlates with a different cause that I am passionate about. 10% of that specific sale is given to the corresponding charity.”

Gilcrease plans on attending Baylor University next year and double-majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. There, he hopes to meet investors who will bring his enterprising dreams to life. After graduating from Baylor in 2021, he plans on starting a new business. As for Edge Outdoor Apparel, its future is dependent on the consumer.

“I’m not completely sure if I will continue running the company in college,” Gilcrease said. “It all depends on how sales go this next semester. I may hand it down to a younger student, sell a portion of the company, or continue running it as the sole owner. If I continue running it, I hope to gain publicity by hiring college reps to promote Edge Outdoor Apparel clothing.”

Currently, Gilcrease is the sole operator of Edge Outdoor Apparel. Sometimes, this lone position poses the greatest challenge of all for him. While he can rely on his friends and family for support, a lack of motivation can get the best of him.

“The biggest obstacle that I face is myself,” Gilcrease said. “I believe that I am able to accomplish anything I set my mind to, but I sometimes become apathetic about the company which leads to a reduction in sales. Also, gaining brand exposure is difficult when running a company on a tight budget. Brand publicity is absolutely vital to maintaining a steady cash flow.”

Ultimately, Gilcrease hopes his clothing encourages others to “Get outside, enjoy life, and live the adventure.” According to him, the best part of running a business is when people he doesn’t know purchase his merchandise. That way, he knows the customer satisfaction is real.

“It’s really cool when I see people wearing my clothes out in public,” Gilcrease said. “There’s nothing like having complete strangers with no bias sincerely like the shirts they are buying.”

Emma Pitcock

Pen, paper, and Pinterest were all Pitcock needed to discover her love for calligraphy in April of 2016. After four months of writing her favorite quotes and verses during her free time, Pitcock decided to launch Emma Cate Creates, her personal hand lettering business.

“After spending hours on calligraphy each week, I started to realize that it was something I really loved,” Pitcock said. “I decided to make an Instagram account solely to post pictures of the things that I was making in the hopes that someone would want to buy something. Now, I have orders every week!”

She first started selling canvases with people’s favorite phrases written on them, but since then, Emma Cate Creates has expanded. She now makes hand lettered mugs and wood pieces, both of which are in high demand.

“My favorite project has been my first wood piece,” Pitcock said. “It was something new that I was excited to try and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but now the wood pieces are the most popular!”

Pitcock is one of the two varsity cheer co-captains, and she is also very involved with her church. According to Pitcock, running the business and keeping up with extracurriculars can quickly become overwhelming. However, to her customers and closest friends, she does it all with grace.

“I bought a canvas from Emma because I love how she expresses her love for the Lord through her business and talent of calligraphy,” senior Brooke Nicholson said. “Emma is one of the most hardworking girls I know, and her business is just one of the few things she does that amazes me.”

When she heads off to college next fall, Pitcock plans to pursue a degree in business and will continue to sell calligraphy artwork, though she may tackle larger scale projects.

“The experiences that I’ve gotten from running this small business have really secured my desire to pursue and study business,” Pitcock said. “I love working with numbers and people, so this has been the perfect first look into my future!”

Calligraphy brings Pitcock an immeasurable amount of peace, and her business created unexpected bliss within her.

“One of the coolest things that I’ve experienced since starting Emma Cate Creates is the feedback that I’ve heard from people that I’ve never met,” Pitcock said. “Having girls direct message me on Instagram telling me how much they love what I do really gives me a feeling of joy and compassion.”

Read the original story here.

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