Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor
Flickr User Pictures of Money
Has anyone told you your artistic skills are enough to pay the bills, or that people would pay to have your fashion style? Why not turn your passion into profit by pursuing entrepreneurship?
Recent studies have shown that the majority of college students have an interest in pursuing entrepreneurship at some point in their lives. One study by Millennial Branding and Internships.com found that 62 percent of college students want to start a business one day.
“Starting my journey as an entrepreneur was very exciting in the beginning. I quickly realized that balance and consistency would be key to making my business thrive,” said Briana Wills, a third year in the five-year MBA program.
Wills combined her passion for fashion and love of business to start her shoe company, “BeeSol Shoetique,” in August 2017. Her shoes have gained popularity on campus through various pop-up shops and events.
The Afrocentric artwork of Paints by Femi has also gained popularity on campus. Created by junior marketing major Femi Osimokun, Paints by Femi is another successful business started by one of Hampton’s finest.
Osimokun went from being the artsy kid in elementary school to a creative entrepreneur who makes a profit doing what she loves. She said painting was something she wanted to do seriously for years, but didn’t have the confidence to start until she started college.
“Paints by Femi could’ve started years ago, but because I wasn’t confident, it never went anywhere,” the artist said.
Interested in entrepreneurial pursuits? Hampton University offers both a major and minor in entrepreneurship. These courses teach students how to finance business ventures, manage new businesses, understand legal issues entrepreneurs deal with and other important factors pertaining to entrepreneurship.
Innovators can also find support from fellow students on campus through various clubs and organizations, like the economics and entrepreneurship club in the School of Business.
Wills said that collaborating on campus has helped her with the success of her brand.
“Having like-minded people to socialize with and bounce ideas off was pivotal,” Wills said.
Wills is also the president of Hampton’s chapter of Black College Business Women Connection, an organization that connects college business women at various colleges. Here on campus, the organization hosts various networking events. Their Instagram page, @thebcbw_hamptonu, not only highlights the businesses of current students and alumni, it also offers helpful tips to its followers.
While entrepreneurship can offer a number of benefits that formal employment doesn’t offer, it also comes with its share of risks. It is important to not let these risks add doubt.
“Just know that you’re here to grow. You’re not going to know everything from the start. You’re going to learn and develop your style in different ways,” Osimokun said. “So, don’t be afraid to just do it. Literally get started and see what happens.”
You can follow Osimokun’s artwork on Instagram at @paintsby_femi. “BeeSol Shoetique” can also be found on Instagram and Twitter at @beesolshoes.