The typical image that comes to mind when you think “business person” might be someone who is middle-aged, wearing a suit and tie, holding a briefcase on their way to a fancy, corporate building. Or maybe you might be thinking of someone hunched over a computer at home, typing madly in a cluttered office. For these student entrepreneurs at Franklin, however, being a business person doesn’t necessarily mean any of these things.
Jillian Dixon is a 12th grader at Franklin. Not only is she a soon-to-be graduate and involved with the theater community, but she also owns her own business. Run from an Instagram account (@jills_rings_4ur_ears), she started her business in mid-August, inspired by her grandmother’s jewelry making tools. Dixon makes one-of-a-kind earrings with unique charms and baubles collected at craft stores. She got the idea while brainstorming ways to raise money for a school trip to Paris. “It was nice because I need a job and I can do this whenever I have time to do it,” says Dixon. She enjoys the experience of picking out charms and creating artwork that other people enjoy and value and plans to continue selling her earrings for fun in college. Although the original purpose of her business was to save up for a spendy trip, she says that for her, “it’s not really just for the money anymore.”
The Franklin High School student body is very diverse and varied, and there are many students, besides Dixon, who are also entrepreneurs. One of these people is Tucker Pellicci, a 12th grader who owns and operates a phone repair business, called Pellicci Phone Repair. His business started almost by accident: two years ago, when Tucker dropped a weight on his friend’s phone in weight training class, Tucker decided to try and fix the phone himself. Although it took a while, he managed to repair the phone and even received requests to fix other people’s phones. After that incident, Pellicci says, “it kind of just snowballed into what it is today.” Now, he has a website (pellicciphonerepair.com) and Instagram (@pellicciphonerepair) and is sponsoring the Athletic Booster Club at Franklin as well as posting advertisements around the school and assisting clients who are located outside of the Portland area.
Around the end of last school year, Pellicci became a certified iOS technician. He says that he has “taken course loads for repairing Macs, repairing iPhones, you know, troubleshooting anything and knowing the Apple ecosystem.” Not only has he taken those classes outside of school, he is also part of the business program at Franklin, which he says has “helped [him] out a lot, just like, facilitating the business and really getting into it.” Pellicci thinks that he will continue running his business when he goes to college, perhaps running a more downsized version that caters specifically to people on campus. Starting his business, Pellicci had never anticipated that it would become what it is today, and he says that “if you know what you want to do and you have the drive and the motivation to do it,” starting a business is not very difficult.
Both of these young entrepreneurs started a business all by themselves, and both have become successful. Dixon attributes her ability to grow her business partially to her parents and friends who helped and supported her efforts, and Pellicci’s advice is simple: “Don’t give up. If you really like what you’re doing, don’t give up.”