October 28, 2020

Webster student starts her own small business

Junior Kayla Calac has made $5,000 in the past five months from selling homemade products. 

Junior Kayla Calac processed about 20 orders last week, and the week before, and the week before. This typically happens for Calac. She has earned $5,000 in the past five months since she started her business.

Calac is a photography major at Webster University. She spends so many hours a week working on her business that she considers it a full-time job. Calac sells homemade products made of epoxy resin, a product which turns into a plastic after hardening, such as ashtrays and custom projects. She also sells vinyl decals.

“I have multiple projects that I work on at once. It’s just easier to do it in bulk,” Calac said. “My favorite product to make is probably the ashtrays because they are so versatile. You can do tie-dye effects, galaxy, photos inside of them, glitter, I even have one that I made that has lights in it.”

Calac started her business by making products for herself, and it grew from there.

“I just had experience with it. I made my own stuff with epoxy. People started asking me for it so I started making it a thing,” Calac said.

She mainly sells her products by word of mouth, Etsy and Facebook. Calac does think about the free time she loses due to all the effort she puts into her business, but she has no regrets.

“I do spend a lot of my free time doing this, but I do enjoy it. I started doing it and it helped me mentally because it is a very calming process,” Calac said.

Barrett Baebler, an associate professor and director of the entrepreneurship programs, says starting a business as a young adult is a good idea.

“It’s always a good time to venture out and start an activity,” Baebler said. “It’s about having more control over your future. The best way to learn about a business is starting one and trying to run one.”

Calac starts her projects with personal protective equipment, including disposable gloves and sometimes a mask depending on the type of resin used.

When making a serving tray, she starts by programming the Cricut, a paper and vinyl cutting machine, to begin cutting. She places the newly cut vinyl onto a tray that already has a small amount of epoxy resin. She then covers the vinyl with a coat of epoxy resin to make the vinyl decal last longer and make the tray food safe. After pouring the epoxy resin into molds, the internal heat helps cure the product faster.

“Basically, a chemical reaction. I think that’s how I got into it because it’s science. I love science,” Calac said.

Calac will never stop creating. She continues to work with new mediums to grow her skills. You can see and purchase her products on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/alienatedcreations.

After making a project, she pours the extra resin into small molds for gifts.

“People like freebees. It keeps them coming back. I will also throw in candy with my orders. People like candy,” Calac said.

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