JOURNAL: Student-run businesses

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Photo by Josh Meitz

The 707 Hub at Marquette University helps students create their businesses.

Small businesses and side hustles have always been around, but to run them in the midst of a pandemic is a feat that can take a lot to accomplish. However, some Marquette students have used these trying times to work on their craft, and with the world being back open, these young business owners are ready to take their products to the next level.

Here are a few student-run businesses here on Marquette’s campus. 

Christian Meyer – Sinful Saint

We all have our flaws that may or may not be hard to hide. Christian Meyer wanted his clothing brand, “Sinful Saint” to allow people to embrace themselves and their flaws.

“The first words when you go to the site are ‘nobody’s perfect,’” Meyer says. “That is the message I want to spread. We all have good and bad qualities, but we should be self-accepting regardless.” 

Meyer released his first wave of merchandise in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown June 10, 2020. Despite the struggles he had while starting it during the pandemic, Meyer’s Black-owned business has continued to grow.

“I’ve had DJs wear my clothes at major music festivals like Summer Smash, which I still haven’t processed,” Meyer says. “The most meaningful interactions are when I meet people here at Marquette who have no idea who I am, and aren’t from where I’m from, but know of the clothes I make and the message I’m trying to spread.”

Ronnie Ortiz and Brady Walczak – Electi

Gym-goers may struggle with getting a good workout in if they don’t know how to use the equipment, or if it is broken. But two roommates came up with an idea that helps students knock out both these problems with the Electi app.

Roommates Ronnie Ortiz and Brady Walczak, seniors in the College of Business Administration and the College of Arts & Sciences, came up with Electi due to their shared interest of the gym.  

“(Walczak) took a weight-lifting class and started working out and eating better,” Ortiz says. “He ended up falling in love with the gym and how it made him feel. His passion manifested itself in the creation of Electi, as he wants to make this healthy lifestyle readily available to every student.”

They both connected over a common interest in gyms, and ended up creating the app Electi.

Since May 2021, the app has gotten support from University President Michael Lovell, negotiated coupon deals from on-campus businesses and had over 150 active accounts during the first week of the fall 2021 semester. With the success Electi has received on Marquette’s campus, Ortiz says they have bigger plans for the app.

“We are actively looking to expand to nearby colleges and hope to do so in the near future.”

Kristin Carter – Carterhealth & Lifestyle

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the need for hand sanitizer skyrocket, and Kristin Carter, a senior in the College of Communication, saw an opportunity. Her “Krisband,” which lets you fill up and squirt out sanitizer in a wristband, went viral on TikTok and eventually earned her appearances on Fox6, ABC and CBS news.

“Just being able to share my story on entrepreneurship, I had a lot of people reach out to me and just say how it inspired them.” Carter says.

Despite vaccines being available and the world opening up again, Carter still has plans to grow her business going after the pandemic.

“I’ve been thinking about introducing a line of lotion or sanitizer. I just want to keep rolling out more health and lifestyle accessories.”

Wendy Perez and Julie Aleman – Community Books You

Textbooks can be killers on students’ wallets. But with Community Books You, low-income and first-generation college students are provided their textbooks through donations. For Wendy Perez, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, it was a relief knowing she and her partner Julie Aleman, a sophomore in the College of Communication, aren’t the only students going through this problem.

“Just going through that issue and knowing we can do something about it really inspired me to start the business with Julie,” Perez says.

While these businesses are all unique from one another, they all share one thing in common: They are student-run.  On top of participating in all the college experience has to offer, these students are taking on the notable responsibility of running a business.

This story was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached at rashad.alexander@marquette.edu.