From Passion To Profit | Harper's Homemade
Emma Highfill | Photographer
“I fell in love,” she said, “and wanted to experiment for myself. I would practice new recipes and give them to friends and family to try. Eventually, people started contacting me to make cupcakes for pay.”
Harper began selling her cupcakes in seventh grade and relied on word of mouth to build her business at first. About a year ago, she decided to expand beyond business cards and personal references to reach a new audience through social media. She uses Instagram to post videos and photos, and to connect with buyers.
“Teens and young adults might not have the connections that adults do,” she said. “Social media is a great way to gain exposure that might be difficult otherwise.”
Harper plans to attend UMKC after graduation to study business. She hopes to operate her own business after graduation, and pursue baking, though she’s open to other options. Despite the advantage of social media, Harper sees education as an important part of learning to successfully operate a business.
“I think the main difference between my generation and the ones before is the way we communicate,” Harper said. “Technology plays a key role in business today and how conversation occurs between owner and customer.”
Harper credits her strong support system for her success. Family and friends were her first customers and helped spread the word about
her business. For aspiring youth entrepreneurs, she recommends finding that network of support with family, at school, or online.
“You have to get yourself out there,” she said. “Find people willing to help you take those first steps, and then keep moving forward.”
Harper also advises a healthy balance, above all.
“I do have to make sacrifices to make this work,” she said, “but I feel very satisfied with my teenage life, and I still love baking. I played sports, I’m in clubs at school, I have a social life, and I’m involved in my church. It’s possible to take on a lot of things and be healthily invested. It’s hard to learn how to manage time, especially how to use free time productively. I think that learning that balance will
really help me in college.”