James “Hamez” Moore slowly spins while holding a pose, showcasing his stylish line of streetwear. His rings and chain glitter in the October sun the same way the crowd’s eyes do.
At Hustles & Gigs: A Student Business Expo on Oct. 1, various students came out to put their products on display and promote their businesses. Entrepreneurship Club and the National Council of Negro Women collaborated to host the event.
Moore’s up and coming fashion brand, Flawed Beings, is just one example of the many student-run businesses and “side hustles” that help students generate extra funds while working toward their degrees.
“After getting into fashion, I wanted to look cool and unique,” said Moore. “I started getting attention for my clothes and that turned into a passion for creating.”
The young designer uses airbrushes, paints, markers, and other tools to create his hand-drawn designs. He makes a point to never use print.
“None of us are flawless,” said Moore. “That’s my inspiration.”
Students shared their thoughts and reasons why they must have an alternative way to make money.
“I feel like some students start businesses because they need to, but mostly because everybody needs extra money in college,” said Jordyn Sapolis, a member of the entrepreneurship club.
Tionea Hill-Browne, of the National Council of Negro Women, said, “Hustling and side hustles are a way students can go to school, do the work and also support themselves.”
At the event, Anastasia Elington showcased her business called Scrunched, where she sells homemade hair scrunchies to benefit The Innocence Project.
“I started this whole thing in fifth grade,” Elington said. “I was learning how to sew while I was learning about incarceration and exoneration. I thought, what can I do to help these people?”
Fifty-five percent of the proceeds go towards The Innocence Project which aims to help and free the falsely imprisoned.
Hair accessories, like scrunchies, as well as styling, are popular as student side hustles.
Bahiyah Corbin’s Tossed By Bahiyah offers services like braids, twists, locs, sew-ins, cap weaves, and more.
“I used to always go out and get my hair done and I started noticing the prices getting higher and higher,” said Corbin. “So I started doing it myself and giving equal prices for everyone.”
Similarly, Kei’s Hair Boutique by Keishelle Lewis started at the beginning of this semester. According to Lewis, she’s had a good amount of success thus far and expects only good things for the rest of the school year.
“Students always need more money,” said Lewis. “Nobody sells hair on campus. That’s why this works for me.”
Several students also use their parents’ small businesses to make extra money on campus.
Tammy Warren of Ta Mea’s Naturals helps her mother make all-natural, organic, homemade soaps and lip balms; then, she sells them on campus.
“A happy coincidence turned into all this,” said Warren. “My mom started selling in the neighborhood to get back on her feet after losing her job, the success made her decide to turn it into something.”
Likewise, Jasmine O’Neal started work with her mother’s business, Cro-J, a year ago and recently started selling on campus as well.
“I wouldn’t say all students need to start a business to get money,” said O’Neal. “But it’s always nice to have some extra cash.”
Student business and side hustles can also help promote future careers as students gain experience with clients and tackle real-world situations.
“I’ve always loved photography and did a lot of nature and landscape stuff,” said Jacob Lippincott, owner of Lippincott Photography. “Then, my friend asked for a headshot. I started doing more, saw an opportunity and took advantage. Now, I do all kinds of shoots and events, basically whatever you want.”
Blake Killmer, business manager said:
“We’re friends and I’m a business major so this is a great opportunity for me to make some money and get some experience.”
Colin Patterson and William Youse fix desktops, laptops, and phones out of Hawthorn Suites. They do it to help out fellow students, but stressed experience and money are also their biggest motivators
“One day we were just chilling and realized no one else was doing this,” said Patterson.
College can be difficult for a variety of factors, money often being one of the most pressing.
Student businesses and side hustles provide financial stability for students as well as provide market experience.
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