These days, starting up a biz while still in school is nothing new anymore, but it doesn't make it any less inspirational and admirable. Started up by six college seniors, Comma Apparel aims to bridge the gap between formal and casual by looking for the middle ground in fashion. Read on to find out how these six students started their business and ended up not just finding the middle ground in fashion, but discovering the middle ground between being a student and an entrepreneur, too.
How it started: "An interest in fashion was something all the members in our group had in common. So for our school thesis, we decided to start an apparel brand COMMA Apparel."
Why COMMA Apparel? "We wanted our product to be timeless—something that will never go out of style no matter what the latest trend may be. So we thought of producing button-downs because they are one of the essential and classic fashion pieces every person comes to have at a point in his/her life."
Young entrepreneur. "Being a young entrepreneur is definitely challenging. To keep up with the fast and highly competitive market leaders, we are constantly challenged to think of various innovative ideas on our feet to differentiate ourselves from the corporate giants, to grow and further develop our business in the future. At the same time, we are also students who must constantly juggle our business venture with academics and other extra-curricular activities."
Drawing inspiration. "We aim to follow and eventually exceed the footsteps of other young entrepreneurs in the field who believed in their idea and honed it to be the success it is today."
Team effort. "Working in a team can be a double-edged sword. It is great to have a pool of ideas, but sometimes it also becomes tricky when our ideas begin to clash. At the end of the day, it all boils down to being open-minded and transparent with each other's ideas."
Little challenges. "As young entrepreneurs, our network is still very limited. Because of this, a challenge we had to overcome was to search for suppliers and manufacturers to come up with our finished products. Moreover, we had to be aggressive in putting COMMA Apparel in the market to maximize our reach and gain brand awareness, while minimizing our costs."
Staying original. "Seeing that various brands are selling button-downs, we differentiate ourselves by offering comfortable button downs with a preppy edge. As we focus on this style, the middle ground of the formal and casual styles, we offer the market breathable button downs that can be used on a regular day basis and on special occasions."
What's next? "This 2017, we plan to launch new collections offering new colors and designs for COMMA Apparel. We will also be expanding our business through new partnerships and new places such as the provinces of Cebu and Davao."
Entrepreneurial philosophy. "Your business can only go as far as your passion for it. For as long as you believe in what your brand stands for and continuously strive to improve the value you provide your customers,
you are bound to succeed."
To young budding entrepreneurs. "Although it may be difficult to venture out into entrepreneurship this early on, don’t be afraid to do so because it helps students learn new concepts that aren’t normally taught in a regular classroom setting. More importantly, it is a healthy practice to enter such a field as it applies all learnings from school to the real world."
Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!