Student entrepreneurs share how they run successful businesses

Upper left: Austin junior Jade Moffett Upper Right: Corpus Christi senior Christian Locke Bottom: Cypress senior Addyson Hayes

By Jennifer Smith | Reporter

Sometimes being a full-time college student can feel like a full-time job itself. However, Baylor is full of driven entrepreneurs who have gone the extra mile to create and manage their own businesses throughout their college careers. These students have learned how to successfully apply their knowledge from business classes, professors’ advice and local resources to grow their businesses in unique and modern ways.

Corpus Christi senior Christian Locke created his business Sleepy Teazzz after his own struggles with insomnia.

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“For two years, I’ve had a really difficult time getting to sleep before tests, and in general, I’ve always had sleep anxiety from worrying about tomorrow’s to-do list,” Locke said. “So I had been waiting for stores to come out with bottled sleepy time tea because I had always made my own. One day I decided that I was tired of looking for one, so I would just take my own to market.”

Locke said he bought a variety of ingredients and started experimenting, but it took him 10 to 15 different combinations before he found his desired flavor. Once perfected, the Sleepy Teazz business plan was submitted into Baylor’s New Venture Competition, an international business competition that is free for anyone to enter.

Two hundred companies entered the competition in October, and from there 50 companies were chosen to go to the next round. Among those 50 companies was Locke’s Sleepy Teazzz.

“The competition is great because there are entrepreneurs from all around the country and we all get together and get to put our ideas to the test,” Locke said. “We get a lot of real-life feedback because the judges have been successful in different industries, so there’s so much value that can be added to your business by getting free consulting feedback.”

Locke submitted his business plan, paperwork, tax forms and certifications to prove that he runs a real business. Locke said he will find out in December if he has made it into the top 10, which is followed by a “Shark Tank” type pitch in front of the judges.

Locke is in the process of finalizing the company’s website. Locke said he also hopes to sell the tea at the Waco farmers market next semester.

California senior Tyler Bartis and his roommate Little Rock senior William Goodrich are celebrating the one-year anniversary of their business, Coffee Candles. The business sells candles made out of organic wax which are sold in reusable coffee mugs for dual purpose.

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Bartis said the idea was inspired by their first Baylor entrepreneur class. After a mock-business project, Bartis and Goodrich confided in their professor, Matthew Wood, who encouraged them to pursue an actual business plan.

“We sat down with Professor Wood and he said he would be more than willing to help us. So last year on Thanksgiving break, William and I were brainstorming what most people have in their homes, so that’s how we came up with the coffee and candle idea. We decided to combine them, and exactly a year ago today, we went to Michaels and got all the supplies to make candles.” Bartis said.

Bartis said they failed three times before discovering a successful formula on the fourth try, which then gave them the initiative to start their business.

“You can buy any candle we have that we’re currently making on our website. And we not only sell online but also make local deliveries and pickups so people in Waco don’t have to pay for shipping,” Bartis said. “We’re downtown in Roots Boutique, Interior Glow and The One O Eight.”

Cypress senior Addyson Hayes runs her own mobile spray tan business, O-So-Tan. Hayes said she always wanted to start her own business, but she had no idea she would end up choosing the spray tan route.

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“I knew I wanted to start some sort of business because I wanted a job, but I knew I couldn’t commit to a regular 15 hour-a-week schedule with school, and I wanted to customize my job to my schedule,” Hayes said. “I actually started O-So-Tan because I got a really bad spray tan in Waco, and I knew that I could do a better job, so I went home and got trained and that’s how it started.”

Hayes said she originally operated and managed O-So-Tan on her own, but after receiving too many appointments to handle alone, she hired an employee. Once her first hire was a success, Hayes said she decided to expand the business to other campuses.

“I have two other girls who work for me at Baylor, two girls at A&M, a girl at Texas Tech and a girl at the University of Minnesota,” Hayes said. “Spray tanning is intimate and visible, so trying someone new can be risky, kind of like a hairdresser. But, once people see their friend’s spray tans they’re more comfortable to try it and it catches on.”

Hayes said her friends and family were surprised by her business’ success, and because of that she urges young entrepreneurs to go for it.

“A lot of people end up talking themselves out of it because they think it won’t work or it will be a bad idea. Initially, my parents didn’t think O.So.Tan would work. They thought it was a bad idea, and that people wouldn’t take to the spray tan idea. So my advice would be to just go for it, even if people are saying it won’t work because it totally can,” Hayes said.

Austin junior Jade Moffett is among Baylor’s small business owners. What started as a childhood hobby became profitable in college and inspired her to become the BU Hair Plug.

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“My dad was in the Air Force and we moved around a lot so we didn’t have a steady beautician, and because of that I had always done my own hair along with my brother, dad and mom’s hair,” Moffett said. “I started doing my friends’ and roommates’ hair when I got to Baylor. More and more people started asking and paying me to do their hair, and when it got to the point where I was booking appointments a week in advance I decided to make it an official business.”

Moffett said she has monthly regular customers for her dreadlock and braid services, and she averages about fifteen to twenty customers a month. As for younger entrepreneurs, Moffett said she would encourage them to self-promote.

“Don’t be afraid to market yourself and promote yourself,” Moffett said. I’ve definitely gotten more business since I started the Twitter account, and since I’ve been bold enough to say ‘if you need your hair done, let me know.’ So don’t be afraid to promote yourself because it really will help.”

These students prove that taking the risk to start your own business can be both fulfilling and financially rewarding.

 

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