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Students Utilize Their Skills to Become Entrepreneurs

Junior Lily Wagoner (right) and eighth grader Norah Wagoner sold many pieces at a trunk show at the Boutique Bargains Warehouse Sale on Jan. 27. Photo: Lily Wagoner

Some students add to their heavy load of school work by investing their time and energy in working for a business. While some students make money through babysitting, working at a fast food restaurant or waiting tables, juniors Ben Solomon and Lily Wagoner, as well as senior Nate Reece, have all deviated from the path of the average Pace student by becoming student entrepreneurs.

Solomon has earned money in a number of ways, but now his primary business is selling through eBay. “Being a reseller on eBay has been an extremely easy way to attain work experience while still in high school, because I am able to work from home,” said Solomon. “It gives me the opportunity to almost have my own business and work with the market trends to figure out what people will want to buy.”

Selling on eBay can happen in two main ways: selling your own things directly, or reselling the products of wholesalers who generally sell items in bulk. Solomon only works as a reseller, earning a profit through buying and selling other people’s products and dealing also with the marketing and shipping aspects of business.

Wagoner, along with her eighth-grade sister Norah Wagoner, started her own jewelry business in August 2016. In search of a gift and unable to contact a local jewelry designer, the sisters decided to design and create their own jewelry, which led to the development of their business, TWIST By W. “TWIST has grown rapidly in the past year through Instagram and Facebook, trunk shows and local promotion,” said Wagoner. “Creating twistbyw.com has let TWIST By W expand nationwide. We now have an efficient and easy way to manage shipping and communication with all of our customers.”

However, the business has required a lot of work, and it sometimes compels them to spend a full day working and making jewelry. “We have a lot of really great months but we also have some slow months,” said Wagoner. “But the opportunities that we have received from TWIST have been amazing and we are thrilled when we see girls and women smiling in their TWIST By W jewelry.”

Reece busies himself by primarily handling the research and development (R&D) aspect of an investment business, Birch Island Capital. Reece’s brother, Johnny Reece ’16, was the chief figure in creating the business after graduating from Pace and attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We originally started under the name of Ocular Capital with two other coders, but stuff happens and I stepped in and we became BIC,” said Reece.

The business, a wealth management firm and hedge fund, deals with investing and trading. “I’m in high school so I can’t practically trade, so Johnny handles all the trading,” said Reece. However, he spends a lot of time working to find a more efficient system for the business to run on because, in his opinion, the current system is too slow for the demands of the business. “My favorite part of the work is that in the end, I’m just grappling with a massive puzzle,” said Reece. “I don’t ever expect to solve it per se, but being able to try and break down the ‘random walk on Wall Street’ is beyond intriguing for me.”