NORMAN — Rather than find a part-time job for the summer, one Norman teenager decided to test out her entrepreneurial skills by opening her own business — with the help of her boyfriend and family.
Carolyn Estes, 17, and Jonathan Dilley first opened their snowball stand in May 2012 in Norman. Since opening, they have been able to trademark their name, Ice Ice Baby Sno Ball, and run fundraisers for local high school groups.
Initially, Estes said she needed to raise money for volleyball, which she still plays, and a part-time job wouldn't fit into her schedule.
Ice Ice Baby operates every Saturday at the Norman Farmers Market, and some Wednesdays. Estes said she plans to move the mobile stand to the parking lot of the former Northside Grocery and Market as a more permanent location.
After the move, the stand will be open every day of the week, providing their 47 hand-mixed flavors until summer ends.
There is a distinction between snow balls and snow cones, she said. Snow cones use crushed ice, while Ice Ice Baby's products are made with smoother shaved ice.
Friends and family step in when Estes or Dilley aren't able to work, but for the most part the pair maintains the stand.
Lots of hard work
It wasn't an easy journey to open this business as a high school student. Getting the proper permits and licenses took about six weeks, and a good chunk of startup funding, said Carolyn's mother, Judy Estes. The startup costs are Carolyn and Dilley's only debts, which are being paid back to Carolyn's parents.
“You're tired and messy at the end of the day,” Judy Estes said “It was a lot of work; it was a lot of fun.”
The stand also has been part of fundraisers for various local high school groups, operated at vacation Bible school events and with the Toby Keith Foundation, Judy Estes said.
The family plans to continue with the stand in the upcoming years, even after Carolyn goes off to college, Judy Estes said.
For Carolyn Estes, the most memorable part of the business will be the hard work she's put into it.
“It may look easy, but it took a lot more work than what people think,” she said.