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Bitney Prep offers small business startup course to students

Grimace Clothing, according to its owner and designer, Bitney Prep Sophomore Josh Bell, is a “clothing brand that focuses on its uniqueness and prides itself on letting people express themselves.”
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Small Businesses are a major driver of the Nevada County economy, and, as more people see the value in shopping locally, they are also starting to see the value of starting their own small business. Bitney Prep Charter High School in Grass Valley recognizes the importance of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in all of its students and, to that end, it formed a partnership with Sierra Commons and the Sierra Small Business Development Center to offer a small business startup course to its students.

Over a six-week period, Bitney Prep students were exposed to essential business concepts through interactive and highly personalized instruction led by the director of Sierra Commons, Robert Trent. Bitney students spent the morning in a Zoom room together learning the nuts and bolts of starting and operating a successful business, and then they had one hour one-on-one individualized mentoring sessions.

Out of this class, three new youth-led local businesses have been launched: a hand-made clothing company called Grimace Clothing, a professional personal styling business focused on sustainability called Dappled and Dapper, and a graphic design business for the local music scene called Sierra M’s Art.



Grimace Clothing, according to its owner and designer, Bitney Prep Sophomore Josh Bell, is a “clothing brand that focuses on its uniqueness and prides itself on letting people express themselves.” Grimace Clothing offers handcrafted original shirts right now, and Josh sells them through his Instagram account, @Grimace_Graffiti, as well as his website, https://grimace-clothing.square.site/. Soon, Josh hopes to expand his line of clothing and open new markets for his products. With Robert Trent’s help in the small business startup course, Josh says he learned a lot “about running a business, like time management, creating places to sell my clothes, how to sell my clothes, and what I should be focusing on in terms of designs.”

Bitney Prep Senior Fawn Jackson used the small business startup course to build out her ideas around her styling business. “Dappled and Dapper is focused on making people feel comfortable in and out of their comfort zone,” stated Fawn. “I want to cater to everyone no matter what, and sustainability is a huge goal for me.” Fawn is hoping to grow their business and is hoping to start styling teens for their senior portraits and prom. They also hope to “reach important people who can share the message of acceptance and sustainability.” Dappled and Dapper recently worked on a music video for NEO that featured Grimace Clothing, Fawn’s styling services can best be accessed through their Instagram account, @Dappled.And.Dapper.



Finally, Bitney Prep Senior Sierra Bauman also benefited from Robert Trent’s expertise and the one-on-one mentorship he provided throughout the course. Trent helped her realize that “it’s OK to dream big and that maybe your ‘out of the box’ ideas could actually work.” Sierra also reflected that “learning the practical information behind running a business is definitely something valuable to know.” Sierra’s business, Sierra M’s Art, is currently focused on custom portraits or designs for individuals, but she most wants to offer her services for local musicians and bands for album covers and flyers. She’s in the process of building a website, https://sierrameadow3.wixsite.com/my-site-2, to highlight her art, and Sierra hopes to be able “to grow this idea into a running business that I’m passionate about and is successful enough to support myself and the life I want to live.”

Bitney Prep Charter High School understands that each student is unique and carries with them the potential to do all sorts of amazing things on a personal level, as well as on a community level. Echoing this sentiment, Robert Trent says, “My greatest hope for each student is that they are able to dream big and trust in themselves that they have the capacity to earn a living doing what they love. If Nevada County is going to climb out of our current economic valley, we are going to need to support the next generation of local entrepreneurs.”

Source: Bitney Prep High School


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