Small Businesses of Palmetto: Turning Passion Into Profit

Amy-Grace Shapiro, Feature Editor

Within the walls of Miami Palmetto Senior High School, students and teachers alike put their own hobbies and passions into small businesses, which are their own ways of creating joy of all sizes for those around their communities.

In April 2020, Palmetto freshman Ava Reshefsky started her own jewelry business that has since reached over 25 states and led to $3,000 in proceeds donated to Feeding South Florida.

“I started with a goal of raising $100 and it took about two weeks to start getting orders, but then it suddenly just took off…I reached and sold in over 25 states,” Reshefsky said.

Reshefsky sells her jewelry on Instagram where buyers can select from pre-made designs or place custom orders. Since starting the account, she has gained over 1,000 followers.

“I sell jewelry on my Instagram shop called I sell anything from gold and silver beaded bracelets to necklaces, which are $10 each,” Reshefsky said. “It was a shock because I thought I would just have around a hundred followers and then suddenly, I gained over a thousand pretty quickly.”

Like Instagram, Etsy allows business owners to publish their work on an online platform for buyers to select from. Palmetto photography teacher Katherine King uses Etsy to sell her products made from resin. 

“I started making resin things just for fun to try out a new form of art, and then I had friends who were like, ‘That’s pretty cool, I would buy that and you should try and sell that somewhere,’ and then I just decided one day to make an Etsy shop and go from there,” King said.

On King’s site, she sells anything made out of resin, including earrings, pendants, window hangings, necklaces and more. For her, owning and running a small business began as a hobby.

“I started my Etsy shop for my creations and my art and it is really more so something that I enjoy doing in the summer when I’m not teaching and I have a lot more free time. It’s kind of like a second job during the other part of the year, ” King said.

Like anything else, owning a small business requires trial and error and experimenting with different techniques and materials for the best outcomes. 

“I taught myself how to do resin, so it has been a lot of trial and error and learning what works and what doesn’t and just experimenting with resin and what I can cast with resin,” King said. “What I really enjoy making are window hangings where I clear resin cast dried flowers in an arrangement and then when you hang it in your window it’s like stained glass coming through.”

Palmetto sophomore Sara Kramer owns two businesses, run mainly via social media. Each business incorporates one of her passions: baking and plants. In terms of baking, Kramer opened her shop, Pink Rose Bakery, at the beginning of April of 2020 and experienced the most customer action around September.

“I started making weekly menus that my mom and dad would post on their personal Facebook accounts, and then I eventually started my own Instagram that kind of grew during quarantine. I take orders Monday through Thursday and bake on Thursday and Fridays and have all orders ready for pick-up on Saturday,” Kramer said.

Kramer sells all kinds of baked goods, ranging from macarons to custom-ordered birthday cakes. Occasionally, Kramer adds a seasonal or limited-time item to her menu, which has proven to be a success. 

“I started doing these beignets days once a month which would kind of be a drive-thru situation; I would make beignets dough fresh, people would [drive] through and order however many they wanted, I would cook them and then my sister would put the powdered sugar on, bag them and then my mom would run it back out,” Kramer said. 

Along with baking, Kramer has a unique hobby in collecting, growing and selling plants; however, the process leading up to an actual sale has multiple steps and is time-consuming.

“I mainly got into buying, selling, trading plants over quarantine as a newfound hobby, and then I started selling plants on both Instagram and on Facebook Marketplace,” Kramer said. “After I have had the plant for a while and it has finally settled and acclimated into my space, there gets to a point where they will get giant and need to be chopped. With the remains, I either sell them or trade them.”

For small business owners, taking their passions and turning them into something someone else can purchase allows them to share their joys with others.

“When you make a purchase from a small business, a real life person does a happy dance. You are buying directly from someone who created that piece — you are not giving money to a CEO who doesn’t care or doesn’t notice your purchase. You are making a really big impact on a real life person and on a real family,” King said.