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Distance Learning Sparks a Home Business

Updated: May 6, 2021

By Trevor Lewis

Chattanooga, TN

At Hixson High School, we run a student-led business called Hixson Woodworking as part of the engineering class with our teacher, Colton Green. As a result, I have learned a lot about collaborating with my peers, marketing products, and thinking outside of the box. Under the mentorship of Coach Green, I have also learned how to safely and effectively operate the machines to build some pretty awesome stuff. Having only 45 minutes of class a day, we don’t quite get to build as many projects as desired. This is another reason why I decided to start my own business outside of school.

Coming into class and contributing to Hixson Woodworking is something that I looked forward to every day. In December, I was disappointed when I found out that I would be working from home due to a rise in COVID in our area. However, little did I know that working from home would open the door for me to put my entrepreneurship and woodworking skills to the test.

My home business branched off from an idea for a computer desk I built for someone close to me named Grayson. Lots of people had started to work from home, and she didn’t have a workspace. We’d recently finished building a computer desk for our student-led business, so I knew where to begin. I got together a budget, came up with a plan, gathered the materials, and started working. I built two desks first – one to sell, and another that I planned to give to Grayson. However, when I listed the desk on Facebook Marketplace, people showed so much interest that I ended up selling both desks right away. Then, I had several other people requesting them. I recruited Grayson to help, and together we built 2 more desks to sell. It was then that I realized that I could make woodworking into a business outside of school, too.

With some help from Grayson, I have built four computer desks so far as well as an L-shaped computer desk, 4 pairs of board and batten shutters, and a decorative planter. I have made a profit of around $175 per desk, totaling close to $700. The L-shaped desk I built and gave to Grayson, and the shutters and planter – made of scrap wood – were given as gifts as well. I love woodworking because I can build things as gifts, or I can sell them here and there for a little extra money. It is super cool to build furniture for people that they can use and pass down for years!

I have had lots of customers request projects, but with balancing school, wrestling, and a job at a hardware store, I don’t always have time to build as much as I’d like. Once school is out, I have ambitions to start producing a larger variety of projects, including Adirondack chairs, dining room tables, entertainment centers, and much more. These are projects that we have built and sold as part of Hixson Woodworking, and they all turned out great! Investing the money that I make into nicer tools such as a jointer is also a goal of mine. Lumber prices have recently soared, so hopefully by the time summer comes around, lumber will settle down and I can get back to doing what I love. I can't wait to see what amazing opportunities that I can take advantage of with the confidence and experience that I have gained from the EdCorps program!

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