A local high school student finds success with a business opportunity created by the pandemic | News, sports, jobs

Sol Care owner Sol Aguilar of Shepherdstown talks about her hand sanitizer with some customers at an early fall festival. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN – While the rest of the world was clouded by the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic after it shut down the world in 2020, one local teenager was able to take a closer look and find a silver lining in that cloud while shopping for local hand sanitizer.

“I went to the shops and the only hand sanitizer they had in stock smelled awful, felt awful and dried out your hands,” said Sol Aguilar of Shepherdstown.

According to Aguilar, this desperate need for high-quality hand sanitizer inspired her creative and entrepreneurial side.

“I started building my small business by making homemade hand sanitizer during the 2020 pandemic. I did a lot of research to develop my own strong, effective, scented, non-drying hand sanitizers,” Aguilar said. “I was trying to make a hand sanitizer that smells good and is moisturizing. The product I came up with contains aloe vera, which makes it super moisturizing and smells amazing!”

At the same time she was creating this product, Aguilar was entering her freshman year at Jefferson High School. Now in her senior year, Aguilar has developed a number of popular products using pure ingredients that she sells through Sol Care’s social media accounts and at outlets throughout the area.

A latte-scented soy candle, a pumpkin spice-scented soy candle, and a tube of lavender lip balm are some of the products Sol Care is currently selling this fall. Courtesy photo

“When my hand sanitizer broke, I started experimenting a little more with other products like soy candles, bath bombs, body scrubs, essential oil car diffusers, lip balms, and more!” Aguilar said, noting that she humorously used her name as a homonym when she incorporated it into her business name. “To me, self-care is one of the most important things for maintaining happiness and mental health. Using products with all-natural ingredients like Sol Care’s is a great way to calm down and relax.”

While her hand sanitizer remains a popular product today, Aguilar said another product has overtaken it as the best seller.

“My biggest seller is always my lip balm!” Aguilar said. “My lip balm is 100% natural. Other lip balms, you know, have some fragrance oils to make them smell better, but my lavender lip balm – it smells amazing, feels amazing, and looks amazing without anything artificial added to it. It’s just made with coconut oil, African shea butter, white organic beeswax, and lavender essential oil, so it’s also great for your lips. That’s probably why it’s always my bestseller.”

After graduating from Jefferson High School this coming spring, Aguilar said she plans to focus on growing Sol Care by increasing product development and sales through online e-commerce marketplaces.

“It’s a fun hobby that I enjoy doing,” Aguilar said. “But I’m only a senior in high school, so right now it’s just a side gig. But when I can invest more time in it, I will try to expand my business further.”

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