Superintendent’s Spotlight: Kate Castellano


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Kate Castellano

April 23, 2021

Seventh grade student Kate Castellano has been putting her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to work and will soon be opening her own Etsy shop called Kate’s Polymer Workshop, a storefront to sell her increasingly popular, and 100% adorable, handmade clay charms.

Kate’s pieces have a very “coffee shop forward” motif – cupcakes with cheery eyes wear hats of icing, flowers, or succulents. Frosted donuts and cute coffee cups make fast friends. Kate has also done event-themed charms for Valentine’s Day and Easter and says her line will include items outside of her signature food themes.

“I do other things like turtle, I’ve made some pineapples, an artist’s palette,” said Kate. “Once the Etsy shop opens, I plan on doing custom orders, too.”

Each delightfully detailed piece is sculpted, baked, painted, glazed, and detailed by Kate, and then she fits each piece with jewelry clasps or hooks so they can be worn anywhere. In fact, Kate has already gained some notoriety for her line of charms among friends and, specifically, her mom’s coworkers, who are New York City nurses.

“My mom’s a nurse and a lot of the other nurses all have donuts and stuff on their ID tags,” she said.

With her product line already gaining recognition, Kate has begun planning for the grand opening of her Etsy shop. The website requires minors to have appropriate permission and direct supervision of a parent, who must also act as owner of the account.

“It’s an Etsy rule that you need to be at least 13 to have a shop,” explained Kate, who was just a couple days from turning 13 when we spoke. She got her parents on board as admins and has already put elements of her business plan together – including pricing and shipping details – to begin building her brand.

How did all of this begin, anyway?

“Along with being so creative and self-motivated, Kate is just a great all-around student,” said Warwick Valley Middle School Principal, Georgianna Diopoulos. “She was just nominated for Student of the Month not that long ago, and her charms were inspired by a school project.”

Kate’s favorite subject, obviously, is art, but she also enjoys science, social studies, and ELA. She also plays flute in the school band. But it was a class project in sixth grade, called Genius Hour, that really sparked Kate’s drive to market and sell her charms.    

“For Genius Hour, we had to try something new that we’d never done before,” said Kate. “I had seen pictures of polymer clay charms on the web and was like, ‘oh, I really want to try that!’”

After a couple of months getting better and better at her craft, Kate was enjoying herself so much that she just kept on going with it. Soon, people started asking where she was getting the charms she was wearing!

“I was like, ‘Why? I make them,’” said Kate, who was surprised and delighted by people’s interest. “They wanted to know if they could buy them, and that’s kind of how everything started.”

Kate has already designed her own logo, created her own business cards, and has plans to launch a regular newsletter for customers when her Etsy storefront opens, to keep them up to date on her product line. Her first limited edition line is also in the works.

“Popsicle Paradise,” she said. “Five different popsicle designs that I created, and if you buy all five, you’ll also get a Popsicle Paradise special item.”

Kate is hoping to get her shop – Kate’s Polymer Workshop – up and running for spring or summer 2021. She is excited to open up the availability of her designs to a wider audience and has set a modest goal for herself and her admin team for their early efforts.

“My goal to start is to make 10 sales,” said Kate. “I know that’s not a lot, but I think if I can reach that then I’ll continue to try and grow it.”

Good luck, Kate, and great work. We look forward to seeing more of your clay creations!


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