Dimond Senior Entrepreneurs Share Their Talents

Dimond High School has a rich history of entrepreneurship, and this year’s senior class is no exception. 

Dimond Seniors Kiley Schutte, Haven Talbert, Vea Tungul, Anita Koelsch and Adda Johnson all have strong small businesses which allow them to share their unique talents and interests with the student body.

Schutte’s jewelry business began as a fun pastime. 

 “I saw a pair of earrings on Pinterest and thought, ‘I could do that.’ So I went to Michael’s, got some Shrinky Dink sheets, and made some Lin Manual Miranda earrings,” Schutte stated.

When her friends expressed an interest in owning a pair, Shutte decided to turn her hobby into a small business. 

Schutte’s business model is very unique. 

She stated, “What makes my business different is that all of my products are 100 percent customizable. 

“All I need is a reference picture or a description of it and I can make it happen.”

Through her business, Schutte also wants to stress the fact that making jewelry is accessible to all. 

Schutte stated, “Making jewelry and selling it doesn’t require crazy equipment or a lot of resources. All of the materials I use are available at Michael’s and I make them right at my desk. 

“I feel like people have a misconception that all jewelry has to be like the intricate pieces we make in art class with Mr. E [Dimond art teacher Thomas Ehmann], but it’s fun to challenge yourself to make fun jewelry with just some plastic and colored pencils.”

Talbert decided to turn her love of fashion into a sustainable clothing business. 

Talbert stated, “My interest in fashion started when I realized that I can wear a skirt or dress any day I want, even when no one else does.

“I used to be scared to dress differently but now it’s my favorite thing to do. Picking out my funky outfits from head to toe is a highlight in my day.” 

Talbert loves thrifting, and she uses her sewing and embroidery skills to revamp the pieces she buys. Thus, every element of her style is unique.

Talbert stated “I was inspired to start my small business because I wanted other people to have unique clothing too!”

Talbert’s business is also sustainable. 

Her business model is helping the planet through thrifting and upcycling rather than buying from fast fashion companies. 

Everyone who buys from her business can take pride in knowing they helped the planet in some way. 

Talbert stated, “Everyone needs to learn to make a conscious effort in trying to help stop and slow climate change.”

Tungul began her mask business with her grandmother in the midst of the current pandemic. 

Tungul stated, “During the beginning of the pandemic I really just wanted to find a way to help out and started making masks for my family and friends, but once my grandma joined in we decided to start selling them.”

She and her grandmother had always been close, so it made sense for them to partner up in the challenge to provide masks for their community.

Tungul stated, “I guess this business just allowed us to learn together rather than learn from each other”.

Tungul’s business is also unique because the masks are made to order as customers choose the fabrics they want. 

This comes with its own set of obstacles, and organization is necessary to success.

Tungul stated, “I’ve learned to keep tabs on everything, otherwise it would be difficult to stay on track.”

Koelsch has honed her skills in painting and photography over her years at Dimond. 

She decided to take her passions and turn them into a small business by making custom journals and Bibles. 

Koelsch listens to her customers. They let her know what they want painted on the journal or Bible, along with the size and type of paper they prefer. 

Koelsh wants to stress that her customers “have the freedom of choice” when asking for products from her.

Koelsch takes a lot of inspiration from nature and the scenery around her. Her paintings feature mountains, wild flowers, lakes and oceans, which are all based on the unique terrain of Alaska.

She is able to paint such beautiful scenes from her home because of her passion for photography. 

Koelsh said, “A lot of the things I paint are from pictures I’ve taken here in Alaska.”

This makes her work wholeheartedly original, from the painting on the cover down to the reference photograph. 

Johnson created a business where she can sell her earrings and necklaces. 

“I make seed bead jewelry, which is somewhat different from other teen businesses,” Johnson stated. 

Seed bead jewelry consists of stringing very small beads sometimes only a millimeter in length over string in order to create a beautiful design. 

She has a wide array of products, ranging from dangling earrings to flower necklaces. Some of her earrings feature designs such as the moon and stars or cow print. 

“It is important to have all different types of earrings or necklaces to please different styles,” She stated. 

Johnson takes the time to string each bead and craft each necklace. “I want to convey that I made the product with love,” Johnson stated. 

Each student business allows for unique and interesting products to be shared with the Dimond community. 

They are an avenue for students to share their interests with their peers in a way that is individual and features their own unique twist.