WINDHAM, Maine —
Many say it's not a good idea to go into business with family. But for 11-year-old CJ Gorham and her mother starting a sticker business has proved to be a welcomed distraction during remote learning and the coronavirus pandemic.
CJ is finishing up fifth grade. She says doing schoolwork from home has been challenging. "It's a lot of pressure," says CJ.
In March, CJ told her mom, Kelly, she wanted to make "COVID stickers" for her friends and cousins. Kelly thought it was a good idea. The two began drawing all sorts of designs. They decided to purchase a large number of stickers and sell them to raise money for non-profits in Maine.
"I thought let's raise money for nonprofits that are not getting the attention before COVID, during COVID, and after COVID," says the Portland Police Detective Kelly Gorham. The mother-daughter duo landed on four non-profits: the Children's Advocacy Center, Trauma Intervention Program, Best Buddies and Make a Wish.
With the help of her sister, Kelly created an LLC and a website for her sticker business. She ordered 50,000 stickers of three different designs that her and CJ created. But Kelly admits running a sticker business has been more challenging than she anticipated.
"I'm not a businesswoman and I just thought these would sell like hotcakes....it's not that easy," explains Kelly. Kelly's love of art and talent was, she says, passed down from her mother. She has been away from art for a long time but has impressed her work colleagues and CJ with her skills.
"I didn't know she was that good at it," says CJ.
Despite the challenges of running the sticker business Kelly says it has been worth it. It has brought her and her daughter closer and given them a purpose during the pandemic that has outweighed any setbacks.
The stickers sell for $3 a piece on her website.