Starting and running a business can become one of the most difficult, stressful career paths a person takes. The process of a business startup takes patience, nerve, persistence, and responsibility. Given their difficulty, we should celebrate successful small businesses, especially when they’re owned by a teenager! A teen entrepreneur might seem far fetched, but it’s more common than you’d think. According to Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, 13% of entrepreneurs created their business before the age of 18.
That’s how Emily Orr, the owner of Blue Strawberry Studio in the Triangle, did it. Blue Strawberry Studio is a hand lettering and digital art account that sells ProCreate paintbrushes, calligraphy kits and watercolor prints. Making her debut on Instagram in 2018, Orr has built an impressive following of art enthusiasts in under two years.
Becoming a Teen Entrepreneur
As a girl in middle school, Orr had always had beautiful penmanship and enjoyed creating art. After she found the art of hand lettering on Instagram, she began to teach herself calligraphy. As she continued to improve, her friends would ask her to make hand lettering prints for them.
Later, Orr realized, “I can make a business out of this.” Her business took off with her first gig, when a teacher asked her to design wedding invitations. Orr took her first official step as a teen entrepreneur when she, with her aunt’s help, created the name: Blue Strawberry Studio.
Orr remembers her early days as an entrepreneur being vigorous and stressful. She had to post an art video every day in order to build a following. That tutorial-video process takes hours because it needs quality artwork, editing, uploading, and promotion. Already a committed student and basketball player, Orr had to manage a stressful schedule when she first became an entrepreneur. Now that Blue Strawberry Studio has made a name for itself, Orr can spread out her Instagram posts.
She did find solace in the kind manner of the art community. She described it as supportive and welcoming to all “newcomers.” As Orr got to know other artists, they promoted each other’s work and career opportunities.
How She Epxanded Her Platform
Blue Strawberry Studio has now expanded into different platforms beyond Instagram. Etsy, the online arts marketplace, has allowed Orr to promote and sell her artwork to other artists. For her first year of business, she sold watercolor pieces, but she’s now expanding with the digital outlet ProCreate.
The use of her iPad was a game-changer, since more people were interested in the digital creation of a design. Her bestsellers are the downloadable brush sets and beginner tutorial kits that equip shoppers with diverse sets of color palettes. The tutorial kit, specifically, has great value for its breadth: it includes two brushes, seven color palettes and multiple practice sheets.
Like other online companies, Blue Strawberry Studio has benefitted from COVID-19. As more people have avoided the risk of contracting the virus through delivery services, her ProCreate brushes have gained popularity. The easy, safe process of downloading digital products like ProCreate has brought people to digital art as a substitute to shipped artistic supplies.
Redbubble has allowed Orr to channel her more “trendy” creative side. This site allows users to sell their digital creations, and also print them as part of the purchase. Blue Strawberry Studio uses this platform to sell sticker designs (made of course with ProCreate).
The use of well-known song lyrics, quotes, and online trends on Redbuble has allowed Orr to reach a different demographic: teenagers. The cheap prices, ranging from $1.56 to $3, allowed her to sell her stickers in bulk. The vibrant stickers have drawn in plenty of customers, whether they want to decorate their water bottles, laptops or other possessions.
Orr’s Advice for Teen Entrepreneurs: Stay Consistent With Your Vision
Orr offered an indispensable tip for any aspiring teen entrepreneur: “Staying consistent with your vision is a necessity. I’ve been at this for a year and a half, but I’ve seen other people give up. Remaining persistent and giving your very best content is the key to creating a lasting business.” Above all, Orr’s attitude throughout Blue Strawberry Studio has remained positive, no matter the stress of running the business by herself. If she had given up, Blue Strawberry Studio would have never reached its full potential.
You can learn more about North Carolina’s small businesses at North Carolina News Daily, whether you want to become a better consumer, employer or entrepreneur!