Young entrepreneurs: Turning a hobby into a business

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CHARLOTTE, Vt. –Vinyl decals are essential on race cars. They’re used for identification numbers, logos for sponsors and even the driver’s name. But when costs started to rise, one young driver in Vermont decided to make them himself.

Richard Lowrey races cars for a hobby, alongside his dad. A few years ago, he decided to start designing his own car graphics.

“I can do this by myself. I can make it look good. I don’t need to contract a third party in order to bring someone in and do this for me,” Lowrey said.

It all started when the Charlotte teen was in high school. He said it made a lot more financial sense to design vinyl decals at home.

“When something gets ripped up and when something gets torn off, I can just go make a new one,” Lowrey said.

But what started out as a hobby to help his other hobby has turned into a small side business. And he’s not just doing cars.

“I’ve actually done boats, I’ve done some commercial vehicles, our neighbor up there has a farm, I’ve done a lot of his farm equipment,” he said.

Lowrey uses a computer program called FlexiSign to design his logos. He taught himself how to use it and connect to a specialized cutting machine that traces out images. He then has to cut it all out in a process known as “weeding.”

He says trying to figure out the nuances in the material was the hardest part.

“There’s just different techniques that you really can’t look up on the internet. You really can’t Google. You just have to go out there and really experience it,” he said.

Lowrey is a self-described perfectionist. He wants to be respected for his name and work.

“It’s the simplest things that always go wrong,” he commented.

Now, he says he hopes to grow his at-home business. He’s about to go study more about entrepreneurship in college. Lowrey is about to be a freshman at Quinnipiac University. He says he hopes to come back and keep his decal business running.

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