Fayetteville State students start small businesses during pandemic

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When the world was in a COVID-19 lockdown, the spirit of entrepreneurship found its way to the student body of Fayetteville State University.

Amidst full class schedules with many of those classes forced online due to the pandemic, some students have been operating small businesses.

Crafty Cain Customs (Shoe Customization + Repair)

Sophomore Visual Arts major Carlos McCain, known around campus as Crafty Cain, said he took “one big step” in his life when he left his father’s landscaping company to focus his energy on his shoe customization work.

Carlos "Crafty Cain" McCain runs his own small business, Crafty Cain Customs, in which he does sneaker customizations.

“Through trials and tribulations… I decided to do something I wanted to do, and it was also something I would benefit from,” he said.

But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that he was forced to take his sneaker customization and shoe repair hustle seriously.

“Once a certain number of individuals became successful at something they wanted to do and they were doing something that they enjoyed, it was free game for everyone,” he said, “When people see others doing something that they like and they are benefiting from it… it puts a spark into people to get out there and do something for themselves. “

Despite the hardships during the global lockdown, McCain said, the startup was easy. For $ 100, he bought products like paint, deglazer, and finisher to kickstart the birth of Crafty Cain Customs.

Some of the custom work Carlos "Crafty Cain" McCain has done on sneakers.

Most of his business comes from the younger, college-age groups, but every now and then, he said, he works on customs for older individuals who give the shoes to friends or relatives as gifts. McCain said that he spends 40% of his week customizing shoes.

The drive to begin his own business came not only from needing income, McCain said, but from seeing the other young entrepreneurs around him.

He said starting a business takes more than mere motivation.

“It takes everything up to motivation, purpose, dedication, and consistency to networking with older people with the same mentality as me.”

He said his business success came from his increased use of social media and word-of-mouth marketing. McCain said Crafty Cain Customs has added more meaning to his life di lui and shown him what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Some of the custom work Carlos "Crafty Cain" McCain has done on sneakers.

He plans to continue his customizations after he graduates from FSU.

To learn more about Crafty Cain Customs, visit instagram.com/crafty.cain

1nePercent (Online Clothing Brand)

Savon Felder, left to right, Isaac Jackson, Jabril Crudup and Cortney Taylor of 1nePercnt clothing brand.

Four young men, two of whom are current FSU students, teamed up during the pandemic to create the 1nePercnt clothing brand to highlight “being yourself and finding the traits that make you different from everyone else.”

FSU business majors Jabril Crudup and Cortney Taylor said they saw an opportunity to gain income during the lockdown plus show their originality as designers.

“The generation of students have went through a large portion of the pandemic locked by their own walls. With nothing but time, many students found hobbies and created ideas that helped support them financially, ”Crudup said. “It gave students the chance to focus on something they enjoy.”

The other two collaborators of 1nePercnt, Savon Felder, a mass communications graduate from South Carolina, and Isaac Jackson, who describes himself as an upcoming barber and media mogul, said working alongside these FSU students and the city is a “homegrown” experience.

Jabril Crudup of 1nePercnt clothing brand.

“We believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is something easily developed on the campus of FSU,” Crudup said, “So it’s really just the act of becoming a product of your environment when the opportunity arises and not being scared to take a risk on yourself. ”

Starting the 1nePercnt brand during 2020 was affordable, they said.

“Honestly, it did not take a lot of funds to start up an online clothing brand,” Crudup said, “Of course, it took some money, but anybody with the right mindset can start one from $ 100- $ 500.”

Keeping the motivation through 2021 and now into 2022, 1nePercnt has grown, selling most of their clothing to young adults like themselves. They said their goal is to become a household name.

Cortney Taylor of 1nePercnt clothing brand.

“1nePercnt is being yourself and finding the traits that make you different from everybody else,” Taylor said, “Ninety-nine percent of the world has some type of similarity, but there’s always a small percentage that makes you different. We just wanted to put that into a brand. “

1nePercnt is looking forward to expanding its clientele with the help of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

To learn more about 1Percnt, visit the link here.

DesignHer Graphics (Graphic Design)

DaBria Bullock operates a small graphic design company, DesignHer Graphics

During the lockdown, former Miss Fayetteville State DaBria Bullock took an interest in graphic design. From this interest, she created DesignHer Graphics, servicing students and local business owners.

“I started graphic designing at the beginning of my reign as Miss Fayetteville State in 2020. We had to make our own flyers and pamphlets for our events,” she said, “Then I realized I actually enjoyed it and was starting to get a little better at it. “

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