Photo courtesy of Alondra Lopez, photo illustration by Gaby Sainz-Medina

Students Start Their Own Businesses Outside of School

February 26, 2021

Junior Aby Zarza had been wanting to work to earn money for a while, but since she couldn’t take on an in-person job, she created a business of her own: “Aby’s Sweets”. Despite the lockdown, she let inspiration lead her to this business idea.

Aby started with an Instagram account, username abys_sweets. She displayed her menu on Instagram “highlights” for all to see, including breakable chocolate hearts, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate bombs, and cake pops. Usually, those who are interested in buying her sweets will DM her and describe the design or model they want. She then goes over her pricing with them through messages. At the moment, her most popular item is a package of breakable hearts with six chocolate-covered strawberries included, for $35

Although she doesn’t have a website to display all her items and to take orders, friends still do shoutouts by posting her work on Instagram and Snapchat stories. 

Aby has faced some difficulties along the way, such as  making her products. Sometimes, when she would work on her breakable heart, it would break when coming out of the mold and that would delay her delivery. Despite these challenges, she wrote through Instagram Chat, “I enjoy the feeling of relaxation when I do orders and also happy that people have ordered.”

One of Aby’s breakable chocolate hearts. Photo by courtesy of Aby Zarza

Aby isn’t the only Eastside entrepreneur these days. Sophomores Alondra Lopez and Michelle Tiburcio have collaborated on their own sweets business through Instagram, called Sweetheavenly.treats. 

With COVID and distance learning, they have found it easier to start their business now, and have taken advantage of the time flexibility they have to manage both their business and school, which is their top priority. 

They started their business as Valentine’s Day was approaching,  with a Valentine’s special. They take orders using a google form survey, where customers can choose what they want and what designs they would like. On the google form they also include their Instagram profile, phone number, and email for further questions. Alondra and Michelle then contact customers to let them know when their order is done and further details. 

For the Valentine’s special, they sold cakepops ranging from $2-30 based on how many, chocolate-covered strawberries ranging from $6-30, also depending on how many, and gelatins, which ranged from $25-30, depending on added fruits. They didn’t offer delivery because they don’t drive, but they had customers pickup their items instead. As more orders came in, they had trouble with having enough supplies for their products. Overall, more than 30 orders were placed, which they considered successful. 

A large amount of strawberries – Sometimes, Alondra and Michelle underestimated the amount of supplies they needed for their orders. Although this seems like a lot of strawberries, they had to go back and buy more. Photo courtesy of Alondra Lopez.

“I was personally very surprised [with the success] just because we started this business not too long ago,” Alondra said. “We didn’t fully prepare for this, we hadn’t been working on this for months. We kind of just had the idea and just went with it.” 

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, they still plan to expand their business by possibly doing a project for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and eventually they would want to provide services for special occasions, such as parties. They also hope to figure out a way to work with delivery for their upcoming products. 

Alondra said she was inspired to create this business because, among her wide range of interests such as medicine and business and marketing, she wanted to try to discover as many things as possible. 

“Since business and marketing is something that is of my interest, I came up with this idea,” Alondra said, “but I didn’t know how to start it, so I just asked Michelle if she wanted to start with me.”

Michelle, on the other hand, wanted to start this business because she has a strong interest in baking, which she has been doing with her sister. After this, Michelle and Alondra decided to create their baking business. 

Looking back at their business, Michelle said she enjoys making her products and working with Alondra because they get to collaborate with one another and have the freedom to design their products however they like. 

Although Alondra admitted that running the business means a lot of work, decorating and taking the time to perfect her products is relaxing. She also noticed that managing a business together with Michelle has allowed them to grow their friendship. Most importantly, she thanks all the love and support she and Michelle have received through their experience.

“Even though there had been many obstacles along the way, we received so much support from family members, Instagram followers, and students from our school,” Alondra said. “I never expected just to launch something and receive so much love and support.”

If you’re interested in ordering from Alondra and Michelle, go to: their current google form here and instagram page @heavenly.sweets. If you’re interested in ordering from Aby, DM her  @abys_sweets on Instagram. 

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