Creative student-run businesses at DV build community and connections


Kaaya Singhal

Sisters Kaaya and Kavya Singhal run local business ‘K2sweetdelights,’ with the goal of baking for their friends and family.

By Ananya Mukherjee and Anika Kodali

Small, student-run businesses at Dougherty Valley appeal to the large and diverse student population. In this second spotlight feature, the Tribune staff interviewed the owners of creative small businesses, learning about the process of creating and distributing products to a large audience.


Sophomore twins Kaaya and Kavya Singhal began their small business on account of their shared passion for baking during quarantine. While their hobby was initially limited to making cakes for their father, the duo’s audience expanded as their skills continued to improve.

“Our main audience is our friends at school and our family, who know about our business. They’ve seen that we can make good cakes, so they trust us,” Kavya Singhal explained.

According to the sisters, it took immense dedication to perfect the exterior of each cake they made in the early days of their business. However, their parents’ positive feedback encouraged them to keep going and begin marketing to DVHS students .

“We started baking together at a really young age, but continuously practicing over time just helped us improve and expand our business,” Kavya Singhal said.

Running a shared business has its ups and downs, but the twins take advantage of their unique skill sets and ability to compromise on certain ideas. Their strength lies within their communication between themselves and their customers, thus upholding their end of the business. Orders usually take around two to three days to complete, therefore good time-management is essential.

“Still, it’s something we both enjoy, and it brings us together,” Kaaya Singhal said.

Elevate Her 

Seniors Shreya Balasubramanian and Ananya Dasannacharya launched ‘Elevate Her’ in October 2022 with the goal of elevating womens’ mental health and confidence. Collaborating with a board of six high schoolers across the Bay Area, they met their goal with the creation of a set of cards with positive affirmations. Designed to boost one’s self-confidence and self-esteem, the cards were successful in reaching and making a difference in the mindset of teenage girls.

“We promote self-love. The whole idea behind our name and our cards is to elevate your being and elevate yourself,” Balasubramanian explained.

Aside from a 30-card deck of affirmations, Elevate Her’s product also comes alongside a small, portable crystal. This physical manifestation of positivity contributes to helping their target audience maintain strong confidence and optimism each day.

“At Dougherty, we’ve all seen mental health struggles [in reference to] academics and schoolwork. The important part of it is knowing your own self-worth, which our product tries to boost by building your inner strength,” Dasannacharya said.

10% of Elevate Her’s funds are donated to the National Organization for Women to continue their fight for positivity and women empowerment. They currently take orders through their website and have a variety of pick-up and shipping options. In the future, the Elevate Her team aims to expand their range of products to affirmation cards for all genders and ages.

Mari’s Gel Nails

Sophomore Mariana Camargo’s gel nail business originated from an Instagram post on her feed during quarantine. After scrolling through hundreds of posts portraying aesthetic nails, Camargo decided to get her own set at a nearby salon. The sky-rocketing prices of even the most simplistic sets inspired her to learn how to curate her own nails instead. As her nails started getting more attention from friends and family, she converted her hobby into an up-and-coming business.

“People appreciating the nails that I spend so long on just makes me feel more motivated and supported. Whether I’m happy or upset, I can [turn to] something I love doing,” Camargo reflected.

Camargo’s main audience is DVHS students. She invests her profits into helping her family in Brazil as well as her brother with special needs who requires additional support. While the process of creating and marketing her product is tedious, she relies on her dedication and desire for perfectionism in order to meet each deadline.

“I always want everything to be perfect for my customers. Perfectionism can be both a good and bad thing but for me, if something doesn’t turn out the way I want it to, I’ll start all over again,” Camargo said.

Camargo currently takes orders via Instagram and her prices vary depending on the style and size of the set. Her dream is to continue diversifying her business while channeling her passions into a business platform.

This story was originally published on Wildcat Tribune on May 17, 2023.