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Can You Go To School & Run A Business? Get Tips From Our CEO On Being A Student Entrepreneur

Entripy's CEO, Jas Brar, showcasing the embroidered machines used for custom clothing.

Advantages of Being a Student Entrepreneur

It’s the progression we’re taught in grade school: you go to college/university, graduate, then look for a job or start your own company. But you don’t have to wait until graduation to start a business. Entripy’s CEO, Jas Brar, is proof of that!

Brar started Entripy Custom Clothing out of his University of Toronto dorm room in his first year of studies. Some friends were looking for custom t-shirts for a campus event and turned to Brar who had a reputation as a person who knew how to source things. Brar purchased blank t-shirts, got them screen printed through a third party and sold them back to his classmates. He did this a few times before realizing relying on third party printers was getting in the way of meeting deadlines, so in his second year of studies, he moved back to his parent’s Oakville home, purchased his own screen printing press and began printing customized t-shirts in his parents’ basement.

Old screen-printing machine used by Entripy's CEO Jas Brar when printing custom t-shirts.

Here’s why Entripy’s CEO thinks students can make great entrepreneurs:

Less Pressure to Succeed

Managing coursework while trying to fulfill client orders and maintain the social life of a student comes with its challenges, but Brar says he believes university is a great time to start a business simply because student entrepreneurs don’t experience the same pressures to be successful. When you’re a student, you’re expected to make mistakes and learn from them and grow. There also isn’t the expectation that your business will be making millions of dollars, either. Once you’ve graduated, however, you’re expected to make a certain income, to know what you’re doing and that can cause a lot of new entrepreneurs to crack under the pressure.

A Client Base at the Ready

The university campus gave Entripy its first client base. “Starting a business while in school is awesome because you have a great network to plug into,” says Brar. Entripy provided many printed t-shirts, custom hoodies and embroidered sweatshirts for Canadian university events and associations, and we continue to fulfill orders from these university clients today. Many of the students who placed orders with Entripy in the company’s early days went on to found their own companies or work at companies that needed custom apparel and turned to Entripy as a trusted source to fulfill their orders.

School clients representing custom embroidered sweatshirts, toques and custom t-shirts.

“It’s like how restaurant chains get kids addicted when they’re young so that when they’re adults, they follow you. Your client base will follow you from university if you do a good job,” says Brar.

The Energy of a Student

Starting a business as a student means your business will reap the benefit of your boundless energy. “Students have energy – lots of energy,” says Brar. That energy fuels the business in its early days and can help get your company through the most difficult first years.

Building Momentum Early

As a student entrepreneur, Brar ensured Entripy already had a positive reputation once he graduated and was ready to take on the business full-time. “By the time I graduated, my business was already rolling,” he says. Because the momentum had been building for four years, Brar was simply able to use the hours he used to spend in the classroom on the business and expanded Entripy’s operations fairly quickly, making Entripy a leader in the custom apparel industry much faster than we would have been had Brar waited until he graduated to start the company.

Watch this video for Jas Brar’s tips on how to be successful as a student entrepreneur.