BY MADELINE BURDINE
According to startup statistics on smallbiztrends.com, only 16% of small business owners are under the age of 35.
This is an alarming statistic to hear as a college student surrounded by peers who dream of building personal platforms of all types following that walk across the university stage in the near future.
As a generation of creators and cultivators and coming-up-with-idea-ors, the trend to take your ideas and transform them into a business that shapes society is booming more than ever.
However, the overwhelming question is looming: "How do I do it?"
21-year-old Corinth, MS, native Chandler Callahan seems to know what she's doing as her recently-launched calligraphy business is growing. So, I thought I would do us all a favor and ask her how she fuels her business.
"I have always considered myself a creative person. I was that girl in elementary school who would doodle on every paper I turned in, and as I’m finishing up school to be a teacher, I can only hope I have kids in my class that do the same. I believe everyone needs some sort of creative outlet. Whether that is related to art, writing, or sports, we all need a way to express ourselves."
In fact, Chandler experimented with an array of creative outlets before finding her niche.
"I didn’t dive into calligraphy until July of 2017, so up until that point I tried making jewelry, painting old window panes, watercoloring, knitting, and crocheting. I knew I had something out there for me, I just had to figure out what is was."
That July, while babysitting Monday through Friday, she spent all of her time there practicing the art of calligraphy.
"It was so hard at first that I literally just had to pull stuff up on Pinterest and copy alphabets until I memorized how other people wrote their letters.
It wasn't long before Chandler developed her own style that has slowly morphed into the wispy calligraphy offered on her website today.
Once finding her niche, next came the business building.
As her grandparents have sold yard signs for many years, Chandler recalls tagging along at their festivals religiously. Chandler even calls her Mawmaw -- the one who has always encouraged her to have a side hustle of her own -- the "Queen of Hustling". As she was starting out in her business venture, her grandparents allowed her to set up her work with theirs, her grandfather cutting and staining all of her wood.
Around the same time, Chandler stepped out and created an Instagram page specifically for her calligraphy.
"This was huge for me, because I was putting this whole other part of me out there, and it gave me so much confidence when people would simply follow me or like my pictures."
As her Instagram following continued to grow, so did her orders.
With the past Christmas season, the orders Chandler received through Instagram DMs became too much to be kept up with in a notebook.
Chandler saw this as an opportunity to establish her brand, so she took the next step.
Callahan & Co. was born!
Chandler confessed she would not have been able to reach this point in her business so quickly if it weren't for her relationships.
"There are always going to be people who don’t like what you do, and that is okay. If you’re trying to appeal to everybody, you aren't going to reach anybody."
Words of advice Chandler would give to people dreaming of launching their own business:
First, find something you are passionate about.
Second, find people that you can talk about it with.
So, find what you're passionate about. Talk about it.
Go for it. Take the steps. Beat the statistics.
Upcoming Callahan & Co. Workshops:
Corinth, MS - March 24th @ 2 p.m.
Fulton, MS - April 13th @ 12 p.m.
Shop Callahan & Co. @ https://www.callahanandco.net/
Follow Callahan & Co. on Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/callahan.and.co/
MEET THE WRITER
Madeline Burdine is a Communications major with PR concentration at Mississippi State University. As Editor of Mississippi Millennials, her passion is to push people to higher heights within themselves, thinking more and doing more. Pursuing a career as a writer, Madeline enjoys running, reading, and learning.