Student entrepreneurs: the baker, the chandler and the fashion designer

Corpus Christi junior Jacci Pinson

by Thomas Moran | Staff Writer

The Baylor student body is full of ambitious individuals pursuing greatness in an impossibly wide range of academic disciplines. However, for many, this ambition extends far beyond the classroom. Some students have started cultivating their businesses and brands while in school before they enter the professional world as college graduates.

In November 2016, Little Rock, Ark. senior William Goodrich and San Francisco senior Tyler Bartis decided to take concrete steps toward co-founding Coffee Candles Company.

As entrepreneurship majors, the two were enrolled in a class that had to do with designing a hypothetical product idea. After months of idea development, the two grew tired of working on an idea without ever producing and selling a real physical product. They decided to purchase a basic candle-making kit and, in their kitchen, the two produced their first batch of candles which had been ordered by a local Waco business.

“We stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. trying to make all these candles, and we were doing it in the most inefficient way possible, but we got it done,” Goodrich said. “That sort of jumpstarted the whole process.”

Since it’s inception, Goodrich estimates they have sold over 1,500 candles.

The brand has experienced notable success with orders coming from all over the nation, Goodrich said. The two have learned a great deal by setting aside their hesitations and jumping into the business.

Baylor faculty have supported and mentored Goodrich and Bartis as they have grown their company. The two have since expanded the brand and developed new scents and variations on their product to expand the business.

Goodrich said he has gained invaluable knowledge and experience through the business and encourages students to pursue their own business ideas.

“If we had never done this, there’s a ton of stuff we would have missed out on, a lot of experiences we wouldn’t have had,” Goodrich said. “There would have been no reason that we couldn’t have done this. Give it a shot. It was 100 percent worth it.”

Corpus Christi junior Jacci Pinson is also studying entrepreneurship, starting her own baked-goods business.

The baking business, called Tulip and Rain, grew out of Pinson’s life-long love for baking and design, Pinson said.

As a part of an economics assignment in high school, Pinson and her friends prepared baked desserts for a benefit at a pregnancy center. Though her friends graduated high school, Pinson continued baking for the event each year and eventually decided to expand her hobby into a business. Since coming to Baylor, Pinson started selling her goods in the weekly Waco farmer’s market.

“I have kind of been baking my whole life, but I started doing stuff at the farmer’s market freshman year second semester,” Pinson said. “I applied because I baked a lot in high school and did wedding cakes and banquets and a lot of cake orders.”

Pinson continually creates new flavors and varieties of her baked goods and sells them at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market.

“I have donuts, and cookies and cupcakes at the farmer’s market and there are some fun flavors like earl gray tea donuts, and this weekend I’ll have some Samoa donuts,” Pinson said.

Pinson said she plans on pursuing the business well into the future and hopes to eventually open a bakery. Pinson offered advice to students who feel hesitant about pursuing business ideas in college, saying the only way to learn is to try it out.

“Just jump out there and do it,” Pinson said. “I really didn’t know how to start or how to open a farmer’s market booth or anything. I didn’t. I didn’t even know how to make donuts when I started and that’s the main thing I sell. But you if you find something that you love to do and you find an outlet to do that in college … just go for it.”

Danville senior Cameron Allmond shared a similar message of advice. Allmond started his clothing brand, Cavalier, during his sophomore year of college.

Throughout his childhood, Allmond always had the desire to do great things with his life. Allmond has worked to uphold excellent physical athleticism, musical talent and an ambitious disposition throughout his life.

When he decided to develop Cavalier, the brand experienced success early on.

“I was doing pre-orders for a simple T-shirt and the pre-order sales sold out,” Allmond said. “I had 50 units sold out in 30 minutes of me posting it and sharing it with people and since then it has sort of taken off.”

Though the brand is a side endeavor right now, Allmond looks forward to developing the brand and seeing what it becomes. He has gained many valuable social and professional connections through Cavalier. However, he said the brand will only improve if he himself improves in other areas of his life.

“This Cavalier brand will only go up if I keep going up, and so that’s kind of why I say let me put the cleats back on, let me be a little more serious with the music, let me be a little more intentional looking for a job,” Allmond said. “The thing that will make me be what I want to be, is just doing it.”

From candle business owners to a baker to a clothing designer, these three student entrepreneurs share one common mantra — forget about your hesitations and pursue whatever it is that makes you happy.