Like many other teens his age, Wayne Memorial High School Student Will Murphy can often be seen wearing a snapback hat, button-up shirt, and jeans. But unlike most, his clothes aren’t from any department store. They are made by him.
Murphy aspires to become an entrepreneur. He plans on starting a hat and bow tie business. Murphy always had this idea in mind, but after injuring his ankle while playing basketball, he had the motivation to pursue it.
Murphy was forced to wear a medical boot for his injury. Hemming jeans above his boot was one of the first sewing lessons his mother had taught him.
“I just started off modifying old clothes I don’t use anymore and making them into something I could use,” Murphy said.
From there, Murphy learned to create his own hats and bow tie patterns. He currently has one snapback created, which he wears frequently.
“Since I got here, everybody’s been asking where I got my hat,” Murphy said. “When I tell them I made it they’re like, ‘wow, really? Are you a wizard or something?’ It’s really satisfying hearing people compliment my work after all the hard work I put into it.”
Murphy has several designs planned for both hats and bow ties, including holiday, seasonal, and school themes.
Though he has many of his future products in mind, he is unsure of how to begin his small business, due to his lack of experience.
“I actually have no clue what I’m doing and that’s why I’m at MIPA right now,” Murphy said.
Murphy is taking the Money Matters course. His goal is to have his products for sale in local retail stores. He believes the class will help him create an effective business plan and advertising proposals to run his future business.
Currently, his hats are priced at 15 dollars. He wants his clothes to be within an accessible price range for kids his age.
“I just want something everybody can afford that still looks good, ‘cause me growing up, I ain’t had that much money, but I always wanted to look cool,” Murphy said.
Money Matters Instructor Sarah Verpooten is impressed with Murphy’s initiative to accomplish his goal. It’s not often she observes students with the same motivation to succeed.
“I think teens are a little scared of how everything would go down,” Verpooten said.
She believes teens often underestimate their capability. If they took business classes at school, Verpooten thinks it could greatly improve their abilities and possibly be the push they need to start their own business. If classes are not an option, students can easily take courses online. The U.S. Small Business Administration has tips, blogs, and guides to help direct young adults.
As for Murphy’s advice, “Find what you like. You can’t make a product and give it to other people if you don’t like it.”