There's something sunny these days at Juniata College. And it's not just the weather.
Senior Caitlin Bigelow runs a business called Something Sunny, an operation that produces bright colored, hand painted picture frames with a sunflower pattern in the corner.
“I`ve always been interested in entrepreneurship ever since I was a little kid,” Bigelow said. “I was always doing little projects to try to make money.”
Bigelow actually got the idea for the business two years ago while studying abroad in Mexico.
During a tour of a large Mexican city, Bigelow said she got separated from her tour group and wound up on one of the back alleys in what looked like a rough section of town. Out of nowhere, on this back alley, she came across a gift boutique selling brightly colored picture frames.
“It was very bright and not at all traditional,” Bigelow said.
When she arrived back at her home in San Diego, Calif., Bigelow made a trip to Home Depot, bought a supply of wood and started making the picture frames in the garage of her parent`s home, not because she wanted to start a picture frame business, but rather to make something colorful for her dorm room at Juniata College.
Additionally, Bigelow said the idea behind the sunflower pattern stemmed from her love of the flower and a sunflower painting by Georgia O’ Keefe that she really liked.
Bigelow`s business began this summer with help from a $2,500 loan from the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
“We have set up our loan fund in such a way that we could help a student who didn`t need a lot of money, but was ready to pull the trigger (in terms of staring a business),” said Nick Felice, JCEL executive director. “Caitlin`s business is a good example of that---she just needed some money to get some raw materials and a couple of supplies.”
Bigelow offers hand-painted frames in 4-by-6 ($24), 5-by-7 ($27) and 8-by-10 ($32) sizes.
“A lot of this process was trial and error, learning what worked and what didn`t,” Bigelow said.
But looking back on the last year and a half to get to the point of starting her business, Bigelow said she wouldn`t change a thing.
“I came out of this with a fantastic experience,” Bigelow said. “You learn so much about the intricacies of running a business by doing it hands-on.”