Collegiate Entrepreneurs Launch Lifestyle Brands

There is a growing trend among young entrepreneurs who are starting lifestyle brands after seeing the success of others in this marketplace. Three such examples are Rooted ShadeThe Gratitude Guys and Midtrade. These students demonstrate the work ethic and initiative that is crucial to launching a new venture as a college student.

Rooted Shade, started by University of Tampa CEO members Conor Green and Sean Mellon, is an outdoor apparel and accessory company for the casual outdoor explorer. Rooted Shade is about more than just getting outdoors and braving the elements; their core values are to “Keep Your Roots,” by being true to yourself and whatever, or wherever, makes you happy.

Green and Mellon both manage to maintain a heavy course load while running Rooted Shade. However, they see this as an advantage more than a hindrance. Working on Rooted Shade has given both students a practical context for their academic studies. “Starting Rooted shade amplifies my interest in all my classes, as I recognized each lesson’s direct application to my business,” Conor said.

Entrepreneurs Bradley Adams and James Imrie, who attend Bryant University, said they felt the same way about juggling school and running their startup, The Gratitude Guys. “Both of us are part of the entrepreneurship program at Bryant and felt that we weren’t able to apply the concepts in the classroom to something tangible,” James said. “With the business, we can take something out of the classroom and start applying it.”

This experiential education is part of the reason why CEO encourages chasing your dream even if you are still in school. The Graditude Guys is a fashion accessory company where they create, produce and sell bracelets meant to inspire people to be grateful for something every day.

United States Naval Academy cadets Andy Bonn and Riley Weber created their lifestyle brand startup, Midtrade, exclusively for college students. Midtrade is a peer-to-peer sales platform that fills, what they believe to be, an unmet need in the market. Midtrade will be available exclusively to college students in an effort to reduce the risk of scammers and make the platform more user friendly. Midtrade plans to compete with peer-to-peer sites like Craigslist and Airbnb.

The growing market for lifestyle brands like these shows no sign of slowing down. Companies that make students’ lives easier or stand for something represent a change in the entrepreneurial environment. More and more students are taking advantage of the opportunities they see in the market around them, and CEO will be there every step of the way to help inform and support students when they need it most.