Getting a summer job is a common way for high school graduates to make a little money before heading off to college. But Arianna O’Dell is doing something different. She started her own business which not only provides an income, but it gives her valuable entrepreneurial experience.
Her business is called O’Decadent, and she sells a selection of homemade baked goods at the weekly markets that take place in Oak Harbor and Coupeville.
“There weren’t many places in Oak Harbor that were hiring, so I just decided to start my own business and get some experience before I go to college,” O’Dell said as she was selling carrot cake, peanut butter fudge and rocky road brownies during the Thursday evening Oak Harbor Public Market.
She said her mom helps with the baking and provided the decadent dessert recipes for her venture.
O’Decadent went into business when the first Oak Harbor Market opened last month. O’Dell is also selling goods Saturdays at the Coupeville Farmers Market. She is relying on flyers and word-of-mouth advertising to get the word out about her tasty baked goods.
She cited the business classes she took in high school with providing the knowledge needed to get her business off the ground.
“The classes have been extremely helpful,” O’Dell said of her business experience at Oak Harbor High School.
Eric Peterson, marketing teacher at the high school, said the business class walks students through the process of developing a business plan. The class also touched upon marketing, advertising and pricing.
He complimented O’Dell’s efforts in the business classes and in the DECA program.
“She’s just an incredibly hard-working and driven person,” Peterson said.
She saved up money to start O’Decadent by working part-time jobs at Albertson’s and 1,2,3 Thai and she spends 12 to 15 hours a week working on her business.
In school, she has been an active member of the school’s Deca program in addition to her business and other courses.
“Deca has been my life for the past three years,” O’Dell said.
She has been the manager of the student store for two years and she has competed in the national Deca competition. In the most recent one, she placed in the top 10 in the Food Marketing category.
She is also a WAVE scholar, which will pay for her first two years of college. O’Dell, who graduated from Oak Harbor High School June 16, will attend the University of Washington where she eventually wants to enroll in the Foster’s School of Business. Her goal is to work for a nonprofit organization.
The Oak Harbor Public Market takes place Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. It is located in the wooded area next to the Chamber of Commerce on Highway 20.
The Coupeville Farmers Market takes place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is located in the field behind the Coupeville Public Library. At either one, you can’t go wrong at the O’Decadent table.