Fox Chapel Area teens create their own jobs using tech skills – TribLIVE

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Technology is changing the way some teens work.
Meet three Fox Chapel Area High School sophomores using their entrepreneurial skills online to turn a profit with unique part-time jobs.
Stephen Schrim, James Kneiser and Justin Ling are 15-year-old friends and help one another with their businesses.
Kneiser, of O’Hara, owns JamesKicks and sells high-end shoes, sports cards, gaming consoles and more.
“I started this job because I wanted money to buy shoes for my personal collection and after I started seeing the potential reselling I wanted to make it my job,” Kneiser said. “And because most of it’s online and you can make money sitting at home,” Kneiser said.
Kneiser earns profits ranging from $20 to $1,000.
“I find shoes that my clients want from other resellers. My client will pay more than what I buy the shoe for so that’s how I profit,” Kneiser said.
He’s enrolled in an entrepreneurship class taught by Bonnie Pazin at Fox Chapel Area High School.
“I’m excited to see a heightened level of curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit in students. With the constant connectedness, immediacy of the internet and popularity of social media, students can explore new products and business opportunities faster than ever,” Pazin said.
He recently sold a pair of Mono Ice Yezzy 350 V2 shoes for $300.
“Social media and other apps definitely help with working because you can promote your brand,” Kneiser said.
James’s mother, Kristin Barker of Fox Chapel, said her son handles all aspects of his business and has his own bank account.
“The bank employee said he’s the youngest account holder they established,” Barker said. “They were impressed by his maturity. I hope that the conversations James and I have about being generous vs. wasteful, saving vs. spending and borrowing, etc will help to set him up for financial success as an adult.”
Kneiser said his future goal is to sell real estate.
“I want to own and rent properties,” he said.
Justin Ling of Fox Chapel sells sports cards and gaming consoles using Snapchat or other apps on his cellphone.
Ling takes the same entrepreneurial class at Fox Chapel as Kneiser and said it is teaching him real-life business skills.
“It helps me with tax purposes and shows me how to input information on Google sheets,” Ling said.
Ling said his profit margin ranges anywhere from $20-$200.
“I saw some of my friends get into sports cards earlier this year and decided to hop on the trend. I hope to make a profit of $10,000 by the end of the school year,” Ling said.
Stephen Schrim of Aspinwall owns and operates Side Alley Snacks, a vending machine company named after his initials, Stephen A. Schrim.
Schrim decided to start his own food gig after growing up around his family’s vending company.
“I wanted a piece of the pie too,” Schrim said of becoming a teen entrepreneur. “My dad was a young entrepreneur who started his own business when he was 16, and I always thought I would do the same.”
Side Alley Snacks provides free vending machines to businesses and Schrim services the snack, food and drinks in the Pittsburgh region.
Using an app on his cellphone to monitor his machines during school hours, Schrim said the physical demands of the job are the toughest part of his job.
“Moving machines that are over 700 pounds through the smallest doorways in Pittsburgh is tough,” he said.
The friends said they always put some of their profits back into their respective businesses.
Pazin said online employment can be enticing to teens.
“The flexibility, fast pace and promise can be enticing for students who cannot or do not wish to work in traditional part-time jobs,” Pazin said. “I believe the energy and creativity of students today may lead them to be the business innovators of tomorrow.”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725 , or via Twitter .
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