BY ILYSSA MANN
In February, senior Nicole Straight said she took a leap of faith and created a business based off her hobby of making college-themed hair scrunchies. She said she now sells the pieces of fabric as merchandise through her Instagram account. She said her business has grown rapidly in a short amount of time, making her ecstatic with her progress so far.
“I have seen Instagram accounts in the past that sell college themed scrunchies,” Nicole Straight said. “I realized there is no one at our school that [sells them], so I jumped at the opportunity.”
According to Nicole Straight, senior year is the perfect time to kick off her business since it is when students discover what university they will be attending. She said the timing could not have been better for her company since many of her peers actively support her craft.
“I did not think starting my own business would be difficult because before I even started selling my scrunchies, I had friends asking to buy some from me,” Nicole Straight said. “However, once I started, I was actually a little overwhelmed with the amount of orders I was receiving.”
One of Nicole Straight’s close friends, junior Jack McMahon, said he is more than proud of her work. McMahon said it is easy to support Nicole Straight’s business since she works hard to make her business thrive.
“You don’t see a lot of people with this kind of talent that Nicole has portrayed,” McMahon said. “She took on a lot of responsibility with this business and she’s made it grow into something very impressive for a high school student.”
Because of her social media presence, McMahon said he has seen the progress of Nicole Straight’s products stretch not only across campus, but also different states.
“I’ve seen students at school wearing college scrunchies made by Nicole [Straight] and it just makes me feel even more proud of her,” McMahon said. “Seeing the spread Nicole’s products have reached is rewarding for her.”
According to Nicole Straight, her mother Elsa Straight has been a person who has been a backbone for her and her work. Elsa Straight said she has jumped in to help her daughter whenever she is too busy with school or has a lot of orders to handle.
“[Nicole Straight] is a dedicated character and she has shown that quality about her through her business,” Elsa Straight said.
Elsa Straight said she and her daughter were initially only expecting the franchise to spread locally within Nicole Straight’s school. Elsa Straight said they were both pleasantly surprised to see orders coming in one after the other from different places.
“In the beginning, both Nicole and I were under the impression that [the franchise] was just going to be a hobby for her,” Elsa Straight said. “Through her hard work fired by passion, [Nicole Straight] has single-handedly made this hobby into a real job.”
Nicole Straight said she has primarily been selling and advertising her products through social media apps such as Instagram. She said she loves that it is so easy for her to showcase her work to the public through her account.
“Making an Instagram [account] for my business has let me spread my creations not just locally, but across the country,” Nicole Straight said. “Social media has been a really easy and convenient way for me to promote my merchandise.”
When she first started her franchise, Nicole Straight said there were a few obstacles she had to overcome. However, she said the work she has done with her scrunchies has not been too difficult.
“Figuring out the pricing of my products and how to grow my sales past my direct friends in the beginning was a little tricky,” Nicole Straight said. “Although, once I got the hang of it, my work took off.”
Although Nicole Straight said she doesn’t have long term plans for her business, she said she will continue with it when she attends the University of Florida.
“I have a lot fun making the scrunchies so I definitely plan on continuing this [business] into college,” Nicole Straight said. “Exposing my product to college towns will also bring in a lot of business, and I am very excited to advertise my work on my college campus.”