Innovation Destination Hartford Website Curator Nan Price spoke with Creativista Charm Founder Tia Miller in October 2018. (Read the interview: Connecticut Business Owner Offers Kid Activities, Parties, Events.) Tia checked in with an update about the virtual programming she’s offering.
NAN PRICE: How has your business evolved since we last spoke?
TIA MILLER: Well, a lot has happened since we met in 2018! First, I took a leap of faith and left my full-time job at Capitol Region Education Council or (CREC) in August 2019. It was a difficult decision, but I am so happy I did!
I’ve expanded my teen business and changed the name from Hartford_Teen_Nights to CT_Teen_Nights. Eventually, I’ll just be Teen Nights Inc. or LIT Teen Nights, so I’m not locked into just Connecticut youth.
I’ve had teen events in Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury. I’ve also had two teen nights at the Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford. We host a very anticipated Back-to-School event called All White Teen Night. Students dress in all white, dance, socialize, and enjoy the scenery at the baseball stadium. In August 2019, we had an Instagram influencer from Virginia who has more than one million followers host the event. The kids were very eager to meet her.
Also, I am now consulting. My job title has changed from Educator to Youth and Educational Consultant. My clients include the City of Hartford; the Towns of Bloomfield, Simsbury, and West Hartford; the Hartford Yard Goats, and more.
My summer preschool programs in West Hartford and Simsbury are run by two college students who are Education/Social Work majors. It’s great to have such reliable staff, which allows me to focus on other aspects of my business.
NAN: Any other major accomplishments?
TIA: My biggest accomplishment is I have teens followers from all over the United States interested in the teen night Instagram content. We’ve had kids from Arizona, Texas, Milwaukee, and even London. My goal after the pandemic, and when it’s safe to be in crowds, is to organize a Teen IG Influencer Tour on the East Coast (Connecticut, New York, Philadelphia, and Virginia).
NAN: How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your business?
TIA: With the pandemic and schools closing, I had to think outside the box. My business is based on interactions; students being in a classroom together or at an event facility. So, I decided to ask my teen population via IG story questions and polls about what they wanted.
With their feedback, I’m offering eBooks, masterclasses, and eCourses online, with topics including: 7 Steps to Starting Your Own Kid/Teen Business, How to Throw the Ultimate Party, Resume Writing For Teens, and How to Build Your Social Media Followers.
I created online checklists for kids and teens who want to start their own businesses. I’m also hosting a variety of virtual teen events. More information about my kids activities and events is available in my media kit.
NAN: Have you found mentors and support as you’re evolving in your entrepreneurial journey?
TIA: Yes. Since I’ve been home due to COVID-19, I have been watching an immense amount of YouTube videos and reading about successful entrepreneurs. I’ve been teaching myself how to build funnels, sell electronic products online, and learn marketing strategies.
I haven’t been able to utilize many local resources. My hope is to join a women’s entrepreneur group or a local minorities in business group. I need to be able to connect with other entrepreneurs.
However, I did organize a specific group with three friends, educators who are entrepreneurs too! We call our group FEMDE (Female Educators Making a Difference through Entrepreneurship)
We support one another, share resources, and set weekly goals. We’ve been meeting on Sundays via FaceTime group call and then checking in with one another on Wednesdays via group texts. We plan to start a Facebook group in the coming weeks to reach out to more educators.