Sticking to it: Tara Benning '23

When junior Tara Benning came to SCH this past fall, she brought an active passion for the CEL program with her. After researching school options, Tara’s pros/cons list tilted heavily to the many opportunities the CEL Venture Accelerator offered her to grow a budding business. And now, 6 months in, she cites, “the ability to focus on her business during school hours has been a huge stress reliever.”

As a tenth grader at another school, Benning was online during COVID when she needed something to help her remember the periodic table for chemistry. In order to have the table at the ready, she came up with the idea of creating a sticker for her laptop keyboard. And, ta-dah! her business was born. Tara used equipment she already owned to fabricate a handy, attractive sticker identifying all the elements and realized she was onto something. She launched East Coast Stickers Company on Etsy to test the waters and soon branched out with a variety of custom, hand-drawn decals. Her products now include custom college stickers, to-go cups with your favorite celebrity, the iconic Philly love statue, and more. Always game to take on a new request, Benning recently partnered with the school’s admissions office and cranked out 750 (!) stickers for newly accepted students.

After the CEL SCHop on the Avenue in December, Tara lent her entrepreneurial spirit with another SCHer who shared a table with her at the holiday pop-up. She says, “Working with Magnolia to help her set up her own shop on Etsy has been so fun. She texts me when she gets a sale and it reminds me how excited I was when I got that notification!”

Tara is poised and ready to work up any custom request–for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a milestone event, college commit, and more. And customers will enjoy knowing that 10% of all profits are donated to Ocean Conservancy! Tara shares, “I've always loved the ocean and admired sea animals. Global warming is harming our oceans, so I have always tried to do my best to be environmentally conscious.” You can find her on @EastCoastStickersCo.

Fun Fact: When Tara joined the Venture Accelerator this fall, she was the first entrepreneur with a fully operational Etsy business. (She joined another student with a “first,” Chuck Norton, who launched the first CEL kickstarter campaign.)

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Over the past 10 years, the Sands Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) has become one of the flagships of an SCH education. It is a program that is as substantial in its educational content as it is inspirational in its impact. In celebration of the CEL's 10th anniversary, we will be showcasing our CEL Venture Accelerator (VA) students throughout the year. Seeking out opportunity, devising creative solutions, working to effect positive change, more than two dozen VA students are currently hard at work with faculty mentors to bring their visions to life. We hope readers will enjoy learning about the people and the projects that are percolating in the VA right now.

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