A few years ago, Jacob Gendron, an Accounting major at CSU-Long Beach, was a Top 100 player for a popular online video game. Though it was a fun diversion, Jacob realized he was spending all of his time in a virtual world rather than the real one. He decided to hit the reset button on his priorities and found a way to make his passion for business and entrepreneurship work for him. Now, Jacob’s company, Trend Suspenders, is a growing online retailer for the growing niche market of retro and modern suspenders.
Trend Suspender’s Beginnings
Starting a business was always one of Jacob’s goals. “Entrepreneurship was my major of choice, but sadly, it is only offered as a minor at CSULB,” he explains. “I decided on accounting because accountants speak the language of business, and it seemed like the best fit for those looking to start a business. Also, accounting is built on general principles making a tough skill to learn hands-on, while other majors such as marketing are much easier to learn through experience.”
Jacob kept himself busy, joining a fraternity and getting involved with a professional development center on campus. He also found himself increasingly interested in developing his businesses, so he developed a few eCommerce general fashion stores. As he watched his profits increase, he noticed that his best-selling product happened to be one he hadn’t expected: suspenders. “Suspenders are an old school accessory and that’s exactly why young adults and hipsters love them, so I felt that it was the perfect product to build a store around.”
Jacob developed Trend Suspenders based on the idea that suspenders were an untapped niche market that would appeal to a variety of demographics, but particularly a young, hip, trendsetting demo, influenced by celebrity culture. Jacob believes his company “will be the place to go for the latest styles and trends in suspenders fashion.”
Four Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Student Entrepreneurs
When it comes to starting an online store, Jacob’s first piece of advice is to stick with what you know and love. “Choose a niche that you’re passionate about,” he advises. “Don’t start a survival store if you hate the outdoors. I wear suspenders regularly on campus because I genuinely love them. You’ll be much more motivated if you actually care about what you’re selling.”
He also has found that testing is absolutely essential to figuring out whether or not a product might actually sell. He “tested tons of products through Facebook advertising before I found a successful one,” he recalls. That’s why students interested in starting their own stores should do their homework. “Do some keyword research and find what would be easy to rank for on Google,” he further recommends.
Organization is key, too. Anyone who wants to budget their time well should use all the tools at their disposal. “Use your phone’s calendar app for deadlines and appointments,” he says. “At the start of the semester, set reminders for all of your classes, tests, quizzes, and homework due dates,” all of which should be able to be found in your syllabus.
Lastly, Jacob sticks with one of the most tried and true pieces of advice. “Don’t give up,” he says. “If I stopped after losing my first $1000 then I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today.”
To learn more about Jacob’s company, Trend Suspenders, visit his store here.