When using the word entrepreneur, most people usually think of someone in their 20s or early 30s. That is not the case when it comes to Bailee Paul, a 17-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who started her own graduation cap decoration business called Caps Off.
“I have been designing caps for less than a year; I started designing the caps sophomore year,” Paul said.
The business started with a few of her friends asking her to design their caps for the 2018 MSD graduation, since they knew how much she enjoyed creative tasks. After seeing the designs, many other students reached out to her to get their caps decorated as well.
“All of my friends that were older were asking me to design their caps for them and a bunch of people were asking them where they got the caps from, so I started my business,” Paul said.
Paul started Caps Off with an initial $150 investment towards supplies. Once she sold the decorated caps, she used part of her profits to purchase more supplies to continue her business.
Paul charges between $30 to $45 per cap, depending on the design the graduate is looking for. That cost covers both her time and the supplies needed to bring her creations to life.
Paul donated 30 percent of her profits in 2018 to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims Fund. She made around 15 caps total, earning approximately $600.
“I knew I wanted to donate, since everything I do somehow relates back to that day,” Paul said.
Paul is both the founder and staff in her business, carrying all the work load.
“It’s a little stressful because it’s around the same time as finals and AP exams, but I make it work,” Paul said. “It’s more towards the end of the year when I start focusing on the designing, so I can focus on school too.”
Her purpose is to bring joy to others through the arts. She also has ambitions in the future to expand into other types of design through apparel and pillows, hoping to continue her business after she graduates from MSD.
“I could make it into a website and do more things since I used to make sneakers also, so maybe I could expand the business,” Paul said.
Paul can’t wait for the graduation season to start up again so she can start expanding her business and use her creative passion to make eye-catching graduation caps for seniors to enjoy on their big day.