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Put on your thinking CAPS

Northland students learn real-world skills with the CAPS program

Entrepreneurship is difficult. Learning the ins and outs of business, whether you’re creating a new concept or launching a business from a tried-and-true model, is hard to do. It’s even harder when you’re a teenager.

Andrew Armstrong and Taylor Mayne are two graduates of the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies program — CAPS, for short. The CAPS program takes high school juniors and seniors from all over Platte and Clay counties and provides immersive experiences into the business world, pairing students with local businesses to stoke the students’ interests. By the end of the program, students have had experience with business software and technologies in fields they’re interested in, have made connections with local businesses, have worked on real-world projects to navigate problem-solving as a business owner, and sometimes, they’ve even launched their own business. Andrew and Taylor both launched businesses through CAPS.

Business name: WoodShop MotorSport

Launched: May 1, 2021

Name: Andrew Armstrong

Age: 19

Instagram: @WoodShopMotorSport

Please describe your business: WoodShop MotorSport is a car detailing company but also has different services to offer. We do vinyl wrap, custom wheel paint, polishing, ceramic coating, and we even tint headlights and taillights. This is a full custom shop that works with every client to make sure their needs are met.

How did you come up with the idea for your business? This was originally my partner's idea (Blake Rhine). He came to me with the idea of wanting to wrap his car and so we wrapped it, and we realized we could do this for a lot more people and started wrapping and detailing as a hobby and to make a little extra cash. Then Blake encouraged me to go to Northland CAPS so I could learn more about how to start a business and everything like that. So, I signed up for CAPS and they helped me personally to start WoodShop MotorSport. And ever since then we have been working full-time detailing or wrapping cars or doing any other custom work we do.

What has been the hardest part of running a business? The hardest part about running a business is that we had to realize this is what we do full time now. It’s no longer just a side hobby. Whether it’s me or my two partners (Blake Rhine, Deven Bierle) we are constantly thinking about how to get better or how to grow this business. With me going into my first year of college and Blake going into his second year we have to move around our classes so we make sure we can still work on our business.

What has been your favorite part of being an entrepreneur? My favorite part about being an entrepreneur is that we get to see what we’ve worked so hard for to pay off. It’s just me and my two friends working on cars all day and it’s what we love to do so it doesn’t feel like work. We get to make this business the way we want it to.

Business name: Melting Moon Jewelry

Launched: 2022

Name: Taylor Mayne

Age: 18

Instagram: @meltingmoon.jewelry

Please describe your business: Melting Moon Jewelry specializes in handmade metal rings with unique stones, making excellent statement pieces in our customers' collections.

How did you come up with the idea for your business? I was wanting to start [a business] while in the Northland CAPS program last year. I knew I wanted to own a jewelry business; I just didn’t know what kind of jewelry I wanted to specifically make. I came across a video on YouTube of someone making a metal ring with some stone and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if I could figure out how to do that.” From there, I found a local jeweler, Kelly Connor with MeritMade, who offered jewelry lessons. I took a couple of lessons, learned how to make a ring, and ever since then have been making rings on my own. 

What has been the hardest part of running a business? Having to learn how to run a business while running a business. I have seen my parents run their own business for a few years now, but never saw much of what goes on behind the scenes. There is a lot to think about when figuring out where is best to buy your supplies from, how much to sell your products for, and more. In addition, getting my name out there has been difficult, but attending networking events this past year has helped out tremendously. 

What has been your favorite part of being an entrepreneur? It has been so cool to see myself start something on my own and just get to grow my own business. I have grown up around business and entrepreneurs, so it was just something I have always wanted to do. I actually had my own slime business for a year or two when I was 12 and I ran my own Etsy. So after that, my dream was to always start another business. Also, I have really enjoyed the community I have been around and the support I have gotten for my business. 

If you’re interested in learning more about CAPS — whether you’re a local business owner who would like to get involved or a prospective student — you can find out more about the program at northlandcaps.org

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