Although 1,793 miles separate Dallas senior Rayyan Islam from Silicon Valley, the hub of millennial entrepreneurs, Islam has no reservations that he is exactly where he needs to be.
Islam, an economics major who has had a hand in several startups as an associate at Venture Capitalist based out of Boston, recently launched a men’s accessory business with partners Yaseen Wagar and Sagar Desai.
Islam said men’s accessories is the fastest-growing market within the fashion industry, and now seemed like an ideal time to break into the market.
“Me and a few of my friends were in Austin hanging out, and the idea just came to us,” Islam said.
While discussing men’s fashion over lunch, Islam said he and Wagar, a Baylor alumnus, and Desai, an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, noticed how plain many of the socks were. From there, a business was born, Islam said.
Islam said initially he had plans to become an investment banker. After his dad lost his job as a computer scientist for Electronic Data Systems, however, he began to change his thoughts.
Islam said after his dad lost his job, he was frustrated at how easy it was to get terminated, despite how long you have worked for the company or how much experience you had.
From there on, Islam said he was determined to try and make a path for himself despite having to work two jobs to help put himself through school.
Currently, the business focuses solely on socks with an intent to expand to other men’s accessories such as ties, belts and cufflinks in the future. Islam said they will probably stick to men’s accessories, considering they don’t have to deal with sizing.
“This is a really profitable niche, and if you know how to market it the correct way, you can have a real competitive advantage,” Islam said. This advantage currently comes with the way they design their socks, Islam said.
Islam said Yaseen is the artist for the socks, and has a variety of inspirations for his designs. When they launched the business in November, Islam said they focused on several Christmas patterns and designs.
Even more than the designs, many of the socks have technological advantage according to their website, which Islam says also gives them an advantage over their competitors.
“Despite the fact that I didn’t start out with an intent to go into business for myself, I’m happy with the success I’ve had,” Islam said.
Islam and Sugar Land junior Arix King are working on a new project, </hackbaylor>, which will help students decide what they really want to do with their lives.
“So many people go into careers that they don’t enjoy, and we’d like to help change that,” said King.
Islam said the project will help Baylor students from different majors, interact to build products and apps that benefit society.
“The entire premise of everything I do is based on creating. Anyone can just go get a job, but creating jobs and opportunities is what makes the world a better place to live in.”