DJ Phelix Making (sound) waves

Wed, 11/28/2007 - 9:35am
By: Andrew Widener

Local teens named youth entrepreneurs of the year

DJ Phelix feature ACG Atlanta’s 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year, Infor Global Solutions’ CEO, Jim Schaper with DJ Phelix founders.

Ambition and risk-taking are qualities that greatly aid entrepreneurship. The Starr's Mill High School students who founded the special events music company, DJ Phelix, have put these and other talents to good use to make this local business a smashing success.

Founded by Cory Hewett and Michael Cardales-Stearns, both seniors at Starr’s Mill, to translate their love of music and entertainment to the business world, DJ Phelix has served as disc jockey at hundreds of events, including weddings, birthday parties, golf tournaments, anniversaries, Shriners gatherings and holiday get-togethers. It’s safe to say their success and reputation have skyrocketed in Fayette County and beyond.

Cardales-Stearns is the disc jockey of the duo, and Hewett manages the business affairs. When they started DJ Phelix they had already successfully operated one business and decided to use their talents and interest in music to start another one. Hewett said they enjoy the DJ business because it affords them creative opportunities. He added, "We are able to see a direct result of our services to the customer in the form of helping them have a perfect event."

The success of these young entrepreneurs efforts was highlighted in May when they were named the 2007 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipients. The award, sponsored by the Atlanta Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth and co-sponsored by Junior Achievement of Georgia, recognizes the most impressive and successful business started and run by high school students.

To be considered for this award, applicants must be enrolled in an Atlanta area high school in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade, must have started, be currently operating and own a profitable business and the business must have been in existence at least nine months.

DJ Phelix was started in late 2005 when Stearns and Hewett were 16 and 15, respectively. The inspiration for the company was found by Stearns as he filled his passion for music by creating and hosting “Bass-ment” parties for local teens. DJ Phelix was awarded a $5,000 prize at ACG’s annual awards ceremony at Anthony’s Restaurant, along with the ACG Atlanta’s 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year, Infor Global Solutions’ CEO Jim Schaper.

“Building this successful business has been no small accomplishment considering that the business must be managed in tandem with a full student workload,” said Katherine Morris, a tax partner at BDO Seidman and the ACG board member who chaired the award committee. “Rather than treating their limited work hours as an obstacle, Cory and Michael have turned the challenge into one of the differentiated attributes of the company.”

ACG Atlanta has bestowed the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year award since 1984. Last year, in an effort to increase the pool of qualified applicants for the award, ACG Atlanta collaborated with Junior Achievement of Georgia, a nonprofit organization that provides economic education to young people. The organization helped promote the award in schools throughout metro Atlanta by sending emails and letters to many area high schools, as well as talking it up among students participating in various Junior Achievement Programs.

Stearns and Hewett launched DJ Phelix in October of 2005, and since then have experienced incredible growth and success, expanding their market from entertaining local teens in basement parties to entertaining teens and adults alike, and performing in impressive settings such as country clubs and other venues. They pride themselves on creating timeless moments with superb music and other multi-media for all types of occasions. They plan to train an apprentice and expand their market to include cruise ship entertaining.

As with any successful business, its proprietors always plan for growth. Hewett and Cardales-Stearns will soon begin playing at clubs, in many ways a drastic change from the parties, weddings, and dances they have become accustomed to. But Hewett maintains they will continue to cultivate their present base of customers as they expand in the market in which they started. Hewett said their goal was to be “the unrivaled leader of the industry in not only skill but equally importantly, customer experience and satisfaction.”

Hewett and Cardales-Stearns have plans for their personal future as well. After their graduation in 2008, Hewett plans to attend Babson College, an entrepreneurial school in Boston, and Cardales-Stearns is undecided between Babson, Georgia Institute of Technology and Florida State University. They are planning to go into real estate, and none too soon: they may acquire their first investment property over Christmas. In addition, they are planning trips to Panama over the next several years to examine investment opportunities there. In the meantime, many local gatherings and celebrations are enjoying DJ Phelix’s dynamic entertainment services.
For more information on DJ Phelix, visit their website at

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