By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
High school sophomore starts a company offering services to musicians
Camden Weisbruch says he has “always had a heart for business.” It is a trait that led the La Mesa resident to enroll in The School for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SET) High in Serra Mesa rather than a local school like Helix or Grossmont. And it is what drove the high school sophomore to start his own music business company called BeatGrid.
“We focus on helping small music artists without full funding get their brand off the ground and out to the world to further their success,” he said of BeatGrid’s mission.
The company offers musicians design work for album covers, video production for music videos, help in recording and editing songs, and offers a list of custom promotional items.
As of now, Weisbruch has a team with a sales person, a social media person and a tech person. Most of the orders for services he carries out himself. And although he designs the album covers and merchandise, helps with recording, and edits the music videos, there is one aspect of the music business Weisbruch doesn’t do.
“I’m not a musician, no,” he said laughing. “Two of my friends are DJs. They get gigs around San Diego and they DJ our school dances. They were just taking stock images for their album covers, some of it was low quality. They needed promotion and I said, ‘Well there’s a market need and I think I should offer that,’ and it just progressed from there.”
Weisbruch started BeatGrid to help his DJ friends in March of 2017 and his clientele has been slowly growing since.
“We have a solid amount of returning clients,” he said, adding that 70 percent of his customers go to his school or live in the San Diego region, with one exception — a band from South America.
“They wanted a ton of album covers for their songs, so we made customized ones for all their songs.”
Along the way, Weisbruch has had to make adjustments in his business plan as he figures out what works and what doesn’t. For instance, he originally went in with the mindset to run BeatGrid like a large corporation.
“That didn’t end up working out and as far as our marketing goes it was kind of a vague,” he said. “We hired a social media director and it grew our followers so I decided instead of running like a big corporation we’re going to run like group of friends that are running a business.”
His group of friends that help him run his company are paid a 20 percent commission on sales, and with BeatGrid’s very affordable prices, it doesn’t leave a lot of profit left over for the young CEO.
“I’m in it more for the fun of it than profit,” Weisbruch said, estimating that he’s probably pocketed only $10 since the launch of his fledgling company. “I will say that my employees make more than I do.”
But what he lacks in cash profit, Weisbruch makes up for in experience and learning — something that SET High actively promotes though its unique curriculum.
SET High encourages students to take on what they call “passion projects” and the school supports the students by helping them with mentoring, supplies and even time during the week.
“We carve out time for them during the school week to work on passion projects. In the case of Camden, he started a company,” said Charles Parisi, vice chair on SET High’s board of directors.
Passion projects at SET run the gamut from social justice work on topics like human trafficking to research on cancer. Weisbruch is the only student so far to start his own company.
“While it would be wonderful if some of our students became Elon Musk and Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, that’s not the mission. The mission is to try to embed in students critical thinking skills, an entrepreneurial mindset to recognize that they are their own greatest asset,” Parisi said. “I like to say, if the adults get out of the way, it’s amazing what the students can accomplish.”
Weisbruch hopes to keep BeatGrid going after he graduates from high school and to continue to grow the business before that. He said he is looking forward to next semester when he will have a business class that deals with solving big problems like increasing sales, writing business plans and improving marketing.
BeatGrid will also be a sponsor and help produce a concert on June 2 in Little Italy called “The Concert for Shelter and Culture.” The show, featuring “America’s Got Talent” alumnus Sal Valentinetti, will benefit homeless services for students at Washington Elementary and raise money for Italian cultural organization Convivio.
For more information on BeatGrid and the services it provides, visit wearebeatgrid.com.
— Reach Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.