Students at local high schools get inventive

March 27, 2012

By Staff

Reid Malmquist is the king of ventures

By Iman Baghai Issaquah High School

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Reid Malmquist is king.

Before the tender age of 17, Malmquist has launched more businesses than most people do in a lifetime — and he’s been successful. Malmquist does an array of things that include website design, programming and photography.

Malmquist’s first venture was Voomo, a social networking site. A friend and Malmquist developed the site and then realized they didn’t have the capacity to truly get it to where they wanted it. They sold it for more than $500.

Malmquist also created a company called XBOX BOOST, a business that worked to repair Xboxes and Xbox parts. That project raked in more than $1,000.

Malmquist is currently pursuing one of his passions — photography. He developed Studio Illuminate and his aspirations are to “develop it into a professional photography studio in order to be able to take wedding pictures and senior portraits on the side.” His portfolio already includes both of those types of pictures.

The budding entrepreneur has other programming dreams that have been put on the back burner. He maintains a very mature and inspiring attitude as he explains his motives.

“I want to develop every idea I have and try my very best to see success, not as money but to know I changed the world and had an impact,” he said.

Tessa Smith starts hairy idea — Tessa Ties

By Hannah Grandine Liberty High School

Liberty High School senior Tessa Smith, like many other high school students, is too busy to get a job.

But she still found a way to make money — by starting and running her own hair tie business, Tessa Ties, out of her own house, with the help of her mother.

The idea for Smith’s business came about after Derek Andrews in Bellevue, a popular place for girls and women to buy elastic hair ribbons, closed.

“I thought, ‘Well, where is everyone going to get their hair ties now?’” Smith said. “Then my mom and I had the idea to just start making them and selling them ourselves.”

From there, the business took off, and Smith sells to individuals and local businesses regularly.

“They look like little ribbons in your hair,” Smith said. “They’re just great for anything.”

Although success has been found, there can always be more. Smith’s future plans for the business are to “start a website, gain momentum and get more stores to buy hair ties.”

Running a business is also rewarding for Smith in ways unrelated to profits. She said that it is fun and a great way to relieve stress.

Look for Tessa Ties on Facebook at

Karan Sunil makes custom footwear

By Sampurna Basu Skyline High School

Skyline High School junior Karan Sunil has taken his artistic inclinations to a new level.

Karan is the owner of Emerald Crown Custom Footwear, which produces personalized shoes from either preset or specially made designs.

“I have always liked to draw,” Karan said, “but I wanted to try a unique, new medium. I also like to collect cool shoes so I decided to combine the two.”

His first pair of custom shoes were Seattle-themed with the Space Needle. As more students became interested in purchasing his footwear, Karan decided to take the next step.

“My favorite part of running a business is the freedom of being my own boss,” he said.

In summer, he paints as many as eight pairs of shoes per month; that drops to one or two during the school year. The challenge for Karan is meeting deadlines and finding new customers.

“I don’t personally like to do the advertising, so I hire friends to promote my shoes,” he said Karan.

Karan said his favorite part of the entire process is when “a pair of shoes turns out just right.”

A recent pair of Nike Dunks had Michael Jordan dunking a basketball on the side. Karan does all types of designs and shoe brands. He said he hopes to grow his business throughout his time in high school.

Connor Creswell collects cool kicks

By Katie Sutherland Eastside Catholic High School

Eastside Catholic High School senior Connor Creswell goes above and beyond the requirements of community service to help those in need.

Connor first got involved working with Treehouse, a local organization for foster kids, when he was in the eighth grade. While volunteering, Connor noticed that very few shoes were being donated.

“I knew that I had to do something to fix this problem,” Connor said.

He took the initiative by creating his own charity, called Cool Kicks, which collects new and gently used footwear for foster kids in the Seattle area. Since he began the charity, more than 20 local organizations have collaborated with Cool Kicks.

“Schools, churches and stores have approached me because they heard about the cause and want to become involved,” Connor said.

All of his hard work and organization has paid off — Cool Kicks has had numerous successful fundraisers, has been featured on the TV show “Evening Magazine” and has collected more than 2,000 pairs of shoes for foster children.

Although he’s only 18, Connor is business savvy and compassionate for those in need, and it has helped him create a charity that is worthwhile.

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