From cupcakes to heated jackets: Central students run various social media businesses

Jeremy Zhao, Print Managing Editor & Head News Editor

During lunch, Central freshman Naomi Claver meets a student at an appointed location and hands them a box of confetti cupcakes she baked the night before. Claver’s Instagram-based baking business, naomibakedit, sells desserts ranging from loaf cake to macarons to Central students.

After gaining baking technique and experience from her nanny in elementary school, Claver started taking orders from staff and students during her time at Madison Junior High School. 

“I’ll post a link on my social media and somebody who sees it can order,” Claver said. “It asks you what you want, gives you the options and prices and allows you to choose the date you want the dessert.” 

Claver is one of several students at Central to have run or currently run a social media business. These students use their platforms of choice to market, advertise and make money, often in tandem with taking Central’s business courses. 

Junior Avi Jain said his business endeavors didn’t work out at first. 

“It was a lot of trial and error at the start,” Jain said. “The first one that I started didn’t work. I started another one, that didn’t work. Slowly I just kind of improved and they just got better and better, and how they’re pretty successful.”

Jain runs two e-commerce businesses: Wildin’ Wardrobe sells “funny T-shirts” that he promotes through TikTok Organic, and ThermaTech sells heated apparel such as jackets. 

“It’s just something I do on the side and making pretty good money right now,” he said. “I’m using it to help pay for my college. I also definitely want to go into business and marketing and things like that.” 

Once Jain started getting “enough order volume,” he reached out to a private seller.

“I usually sell about 100 to 150 [shirts] each month,” Jain said. “I get sales from all around the world. I sell in the United States, Mexico, Canada, pretty much all of Europe and some countries in Asia as well.” 

Regardless of the products they sell, several Central students have learned of the role of aesthetics in marketing through running a business. Junior Athena Chen started creating and selling slime on Etsy in middle school after gaining inspiration from art club projects involving polymer clay. 

“It was really just about presentation on Etsy,” junior Athena Chen said. “I always made sure [my products] had good lighting and aesthetic images.” 

She’s even had several YouTubers review her products. 

Instead of sending customers a fully-mixed slime, Chen kept the ingredients, such as sprinkles and foam beads, separate so that customers could “do it themselves” and “that’s what people really liked,” she said. 

“In seventh and eighth grade I was so busy, it was like a part-time job,” Chen said. “COVID was when my business actually picked up a lot because people were at home and had nothing to do.” 

While Chen said she can no longer commit the time to maintaining her slime shop, purplefishart, she credits it for kickstarting her passion for business. 

“I remember sitting on the floor of my slime room, looking at the Google definition of ‘entrepreneur’ and being like, ‘that’d be pretty cool to be an entrepreneur,’” Chen said. “Everything I do now, like DECA, that is all because of the shop.” 

Like Claver, sophomore Adeline Tse bases her co-owned handmade jewelry business, suki.jewels, on Instagram. She often markets her products using Instagram Reels. 

“The best way to make something more pleasing or engaging for Instagram views is to first add captions,” Tse said. “Second, add good transitions. Third, you should always sync the audio to the video and then add faces. People just like looking at people’s faces.” 

For Chen, the hardest step in the journey is to get started.

“You’re going to face a lot of challenges, but every challenge you face is a learning lesson,” she said. It’s so worth it in the end.”