The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


Empowering teen entrepreneurs

Two entrepreneurs share their experience of owning and operating a business in high school.
Libby Addison
Senior Easton Wilson can be seen driving his business’ van around Blue Valley Northwest communities to gain traction for his business, Sept 21. “I like to drive my van because it helps people recognize me and my brand.”

After the holidays, senior Easton Wilson noticed all of the packages piled up at his door. His mother, Michelle Wilson, would typically drive back and forth between stores, trying to return all the gifts she needed. Since stores are busier around Christmas, Michelle said this was tiring and time-consuming, especially since the UPS store required her to have the materials to package a return. 

With the help of his parents, Easton decided he wanted to make returns simpler for everyone. Easton created his own business, ReturnSimple, earlier this year. ReturnSimple will pick up your returns from any online retailer and will repackage your return and give it back to the original seller.

Easton said he promotes his business in a variety of ways such as parking his van in an apparent position at the DAC. His father, Ben Wilson bought him the van with his business logo on it, and according to Easton, he is expected to pay his dad back in the next few years.

Ben owns three dentist offices across Missouri. Ben said he helped Easton work on the business model and the logistics of running the truck effectively. In February, Ben and Easton found a website developer overseas who he works with several times a week. Now, Easton manages his business with less help from his parents. 

BVNW business teacher Meghan Trader stressed the importance of finding a mentor, business leader or parent who is willing to support you in running a successful business. 

Trader explained how some students get into entrepreneurship without knowing the challenges and risks. 

“I have found that teens can get really excited [about their businesses], so having people who have gone before you to give advice to [help with] making good financial decisions [helps a lot],” Trader said. 

Easton currently does not have a van driver hired because of the critical need to find a safe, certified driver. He also explains the challenges of finding an employee that will have reasonable charges.

“I believe that it’s hard to find adults that are willing to work for me [because] that means they charge more versus a teenager that is just trying to get some extra cash,” Easton said. 

Junior Kate Ringgenberg is another BVNW student who has started a business. Since 2021, Ringgenberg has owned and operated a crafting business that does party decorations, graduation cap decorations and more. 

“I’ve always liked being creative and crafting, and when COVID happened, I started making a lot of face masks… then I started selling them to people and I thought it was really fun,” Ringgenberg said. 

Furthermore, Ringgenberg said she likes running a business by herself.

“I like that I’m my own boss. I’m running it myself so I can take it in whatever direction I like,” Ringgenberg said.

Despite their busy schedules, Easton and Ringgenberg manage their time to make room for school and other activities. 

Outside of BVNW, he is enrolled in a course at CAPS that is designed to help those who want to grow their business. 

During the afternoon, Wilson said he spends time working with customers and marketing for his website. By 5-6 p.m., Easton gets off from work for the day. 

“I get to work on my personal life and do things I want to do, whether that’s getting food, hanging out with my friends or golfing,” Easton said. 

Similar to Wilson, Ringgenberg is involved in various activities, like marching band, where she is a section leader for the clarinets. 

Regardless of the stress of running her business, Ringgenberg has managed to balance the operation of her business with her studies..

 “I like to make schedules and divide up my day so I’ll make a to-do list for my schoolwork and after I finish that, I [work on] my business,” Ringgenberg said.

Future plans for Ringgenberg and Easton may change, but for now, they said they want to continue the business side of things. Easton said he is considering going to college in Colorado to continue marketing for ReturnSimple while someone manages pickups. 

Easton hopes to one day sell his business to a larger company like Returnmates and ReturnQueen, but for now he wants to keep growing and expanding his knowledge of business. 

Similarly, Ringgenberg said she is looking into majoring in marketing because of the creative aspects, but not necessarily continuing her crafting business after high school. 

For those interested in starting a business in high school, Easton reminds students to be mindful of what it takes to be successful.

“It’s a lot more than I thought but there’s real-life learning with owning your own business. If you’re passionate about making money and managing people, definitely go for [it],” Easton said.

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About the Contributors
Danielle Croom
Danielle Croom, Writer
Danielle Croom is a sophomore and a writer for “The Express.” Outside of newspaper, she is involved in KAY Club, Fashion Club, NEHS and Muse Literary Magazine. She loves to babysit and find ways to help out the community. In her free time, Danielle enjoys going on coffee dates with her mom, waking up early to work and binge-watching “Gilmore Girls.” Danielle is eager to contribute to BVNW publications and she is excited to work with her friends. 
Sara Scheibel
Sara Scheibel, Writer
Sara Scheibel is a junior and writer for “The Express”. This is her first year on staff. Sara is involved in girls tennis, BVNW Ambassadors, and AVID. Outside of school, Sara loves to spend time with friends and family.
Libby Addison
Libby Addison, Photographer
Libby is a senior photographer for the BVNW newspaper, “The Express.” This is her third year on staff, and first year as a photographer. Libby also manages girls' soccer, plays piano, and is a member of the BVNW school store, Dawg House. In her free time, she enjoys creative writing, reading, spending time outdoors with friends, and listening to music. Libby is excited for her final year with “The Express.”
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