The 2022 Columbia County Home and Garden Show presented by The Chronicle and sponsored by InRoads Credit Union is set for April 23 and April 24 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in St. Helens.
A local teenage entrepreneur is eager to take her business to the next level and is scheduled to be one of several vendors at the show.
Kaya Metzger, a senior at Scappoose High School, began making beaded spiders when she was just 8-years-old.
After landing first place in Scappoose Summerfest’s Kid Biz competition, Kaya came up with a name for her product: Kaya’s Kritters. She began setting up shop at different grocery outlets to raise money for Oregon Health and Science University’s Doernbecher Hospital.
In the following interview with The Chronicle, Kaya explains how her business came to be and what she hopes to accomplish.
The Chronicle: What got you interested in making these crafts?
Kaya Metzger: My aunt knew I had a fascination for bugs. She was watching me at my grandma’s house one day, and she brought down all this beading equipment and taught me how to make the plain spiders.
I’ve always loved crafts; I love just working on things, and it was bugs, so it automatically caught my attention. It kept growing, and my dad helped me make new kinds of them.
My aunt started all of it, my dad helped me further it, and I’ve just continued loving it.
The Chronicle: What has it been like running your business so far, going into different spaces and selling some of your creations? How do you organize that, and where have you sold them so far?
Metzger: I started with the Kids in Biz (which) was the first time we really tried it because my mom wanted me to start talking to people. It was a good experience to get out there and be able to talk about something I enjoyed.
When I heard about the Doernbecher fundraiser, I decided this was my moment. We started at Walmart and set it up (like) how a Girl Scouts group would – get a time, get your booth, and wait for a while for someone to find it interesting. (We would) sit out there for hours, multiple times a week (and) on the weekends.
The Chronicle: Can you tell me what you plan on studying (in college?)
Metzger: I plan to go to college for forensics. I want to work specifically in forensic entomology.
The Chronicle: How much have you been able to save through selling your creations?
Metzger: I’m pretty sure my profit has been zero because all of the funds I’ve raised for the last four years were specifically for Doernbecher. The garden show will be the first time I’m doing it as a profit for myself.
The Chronicle: I’m imagining that your peers in school might be doing other things like sports, dance or other activities, maybe the school band. What separates you from your peers to where you’re motivated to be a young entrepreneur? Why do you do this?
Metzger: I think one of the biggest drives for me is that I don’t like being bored. Beading has given me a time that I can work and feel productive while I’m just watching a movie I want to watch or a show. Sometimes I’m on a call with my friends, and I need to do something with my hands, so I’ll start beading.
The Chronicle: What do you hope to get out of the Home and Garden Show?
Metzger: I think of doing Kaya’s Kritters as just getting myself out there and communicating with people because I’ve always struggled with conversation, especially face-to-face. Now, I’m able to talk to someone who comes up about something I enjoy. I use it as a method of helping my communication.
It’s (also) getting my name out there to start networking for the future. You never really know who you can meet and who will randomly enjoy what you’re doing.
The Chronicle: Would you say that going out and selling your product has improved your communication skills? Do you feel more confident now that you’ve been out there?
Metzger: Oh, yeah. Before I did Kaya’s Kritters, I would hide behind my mom. She’d have to talk for me. Now, I’m doing all these different things. I’m able to introduce myself and talk to people.
The Chronicle: What advice would you give somebody your age wanting to start their own business?
Metzger: The main thing I would tell someone is to make sure you enjoy what you’re making. If I didn’t have such a fascination (with) bugs and didn’t enjoy my creativity, I would not have a lot of fun, and I would think of this as a job. When you make a product, you have to know that you enjoy it.
The 2022 Columbia County Home and Garden Show is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 23 and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 24, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, 58892 Sausler Road in St. Helens.
The show is presented by The Chronicle and sponsored by InRoads Credit Union. There is still to become a vendor, contact Katherine at 503-397-0116 or at [email protected]