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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

College-aged Small Business Owners
Image from Atira Cheney’s Instagram

In the Spring of 2020, Atira Cheney was a communications major at Westfield State, minoring in art. A devoted Owl, she was content in her plans to navigate her college career like a lot of us on campus, completing her studies and graduating.

Flash forward a year and a half later, you won’t find Cheney on campus. She now works full time selling her art, acting as her own boss. 

Like many individuals following the nationwide shutdown brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheney was awarded the gift of time to think, ponder the possibilities and her own capability of starting a business.

The digital age has brought convenience to many aspects of our daily life. For college-aged small business owners, social media platforms make selling and marketing their products much easier. 

Utilizing platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram allows business owners to target niche demographics, bringing a consistent audience to sell to. 

In 2020 alone, 58 percent of business owners started small business from scratch, according to the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy. A seemingly large percentage, it makes sense. 

The best time to start a business is when you don’t have any other choice, according to Jay Leonard, an entrepreneurial specialist at Westfield State. 

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Leonard said. 

For Cheney, it was just that.

Following the school’s closing brought by the pandemic, she began taking her art commissions more seriously. 

Balancing her art and online classes, she didn’t have the energy to devote her focus to both. With that, she decided to drop out of college. 

“I dropped out in July 2020. But I was thinking about dropping out before July began” Cheney said. “In August I started taking social media for my business more seriously. I became an LLC, (limited liability company) in March 2021, a year after I started to learn that I could do the whole art thing” Cheney said.

For Kaci Pomeroy, owner of Crystal Child Creations, it wasn’t the pandemic that drove her to start her business. 

“I just started making my jewelry for myself and realizing how powerful I felt in it, and wanted to start spreading that energy with other people” Pomeroy said. 

Back at school in person, they’ve found themselves struggling to find time for their business.

“I find myself wishing I had more time to create: and when I am creating, finding myself rushing or not loving what I’m making all the time,” Pomeroy said. 

Although the balance between school and creating for her business is at times seemingly impossible, they’ve found selling their art on campus and at local craft fairs to be a great success. 

With graduation rapidly approaching, the question of whether Pomeroy’s small business will become something more has been on her mind. 

“I could definitely see it being my career for a nice while after school, but I also LOVE being a small business versus one that has to meet a particular deadline or amount of sales to continue,” Pomeroy said. 

Future career or forever side hustle; only time will tell.

If you’re interested in purchasing from Atira Art or Crystal Child Creations this holiday season, their shops can both be found through Instagram.


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