This College Student Proves You Can Turn Your Passion Project Into a Real Business

Money and profit is just a byproduct of what you do!
by Janelle Yau   |  Feb 4, 2017
Image: Instagram | Art: Clare Magno
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Being a college student doesn't mean that you have to know what you want to do in life already. But if you're lucky, you can have a passion project to escape to when schoolwork becomes too tough and monotonous. Young entrepreneur Robyn See turned to her passion project UNDA and turned it into a go-to brand for fellow beach lovers, who are fashion lovers, too! Read on as she shares the story behind UNDA and at the same time prove that your passion project can be turned into a full-fledged business, too!

How it started. "As cliché as it may sound, Unda Swimwear started out as a simple hobby. Given my unsurmountable desire to consistently look fashionable and my undying love for sandy beaches, I realized that it should become something that I can profit from for it to positively affect me."

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Why Unda Swimwear? "Because of my love for the beach and fashion, I thought that a swimwear line would be the best fit for me. So I started with letting ideas flow and writing them down. After finding the proper sewers and suppliers, my dream took a leap and turned into the start-up that it is right now. My initial ideas then translated into designs, which were then transformed into tangible pieces of clothing."


Young entrepreneur. "It is definitely very difficult to be a young entrepreneur because of the lack in capital and experience. I was also unaware of the trends that occurred in the business world and I was scared that no one would take any interest in the merchandise Unda sold. In addition to that, balancing my time—especially when school becomes hectic with trying to get high grades, staying active in college orgs, and at the same time trying to maintain a social life—was challenging."


Drawing inspiration. "I draw my inspiration from my passion. Being able to create something out of my own taste and fashion sense that others see worthy of being purchased serves to be enough of an inspiration to continue. Being able to share my ideas and having others agree and admire the brand inspires me, too."


50/50. "For the women's section of UNDA, I work as a sole proprietor. However, for the men's section of UNDA, I work with a friend who has an identical drive and inspiration as I do. Working as a sole proprietor is just as difficult as working in a team, but for very different reasons. Being alone provides you with the chance to make uncontested decisions, but it robs you of the opportunity to see things in a different perspective and to get that extra inflow of ideas. However, working in a team can be difficult, too—especially during occasions of disagreements towards methods of operation, but on the bright side, it provides the chance for growth in interpersonal skills and a lighter workload."


Little challenges. "The idea all started when I was 17, being young and inexperienced, the most difficult challenge I had to face was establishing Unda and its brand identity. I lacked the connections to create brand awareness and I was not experienced enough to build my brand on social media. However, with the help and support of my family and friends, Unda slowly came to life, gained a social following and is now the stylish brand it is known to be today."


Staying original. "Creating and maintaining a brand identity for Unda is how I keep my brand different from the rest of my competitors.  It's everything about my brand—the name, logo, style, and tagline—that appeal to Unda's customers. Thus, maintaining a consistent reputation of sophistication, elegance and stylishness contribute to the distinctive brand it is today."


What's next? "Unda started by solely selling swimwear. a year later, the selection of items offered by Unda extended to backpacks, bucket hats and trunks, catering to both men and women. In the future, I would like to continue expanding by creating an activewear line and hopefully having my own physical store put up."


Entrepreneurial philosophy.

“Money and profit is just a byproduct of what you do!”

To young budding entrepreneurs. Never focus on the profit! Instead, concentrate on your passion and always love what you do.

Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!

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About the author
Janelle Yau
Fashion and Beauty Assistant
The Rebecca Bloomwood of Manila. I spend half of my time obsessing about the latest fashion craze, and the other half overthinking and over-analyzing just about anything under the sun. When I’m not busy as a bee playing with fifty shades of pink lippies, you can probably catch me swiping my plastic for yet another pair of shiny, pointed gold flats.
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