Have you ever had a great idea and thought you were too young to make it a reality? Think again! Jordana Schrager is living proof–an incredible inspiration to young entrepreneurs everywhere. She started out drawing on sneakers in her bedroom to give to friends and family, and now she has an entire company based off of her designs! From SKICKS, which feature printed college designs, to watches and phone cases, Jordana has taken her artistic talent and created a business. At the same time as maintaining her company, Jordana is a college student at the University of Michigan. She can’t wait to take all she has learned at Michigan and apply it to expanding her business even further.
SFTL interviewed Jordana, who answered the following questions:
What inspired you to start designing shoes?
I started designing sneakers in high school! One night, I was grounded for staying out past my curfew and was stuck in my room with nothing to do. I saw a pair of old white Vans on the floor next to me and decided to doodle on them. After a few hours of doodling and designing, the sneakers were no longer white, but were pieces of art! From then on, I continued to customize sneakers. At first, I made sneakers for my friends and family, however over time, I started creating designs for people all around the country. What started out as a hobby customizing sneakers for my friends and family grew into my very own business!
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I get inspired by my customers! I love working with my customers to learn about their passions and interests. By connecting with each customer directly, I am able to create the perfect pair of sneakers!
How did you start your business?
At first, I designed my custom sneakers for people in my local community. Once I created an Instagram account, @sneakersbyjordana, and started posting pictures on social media, I starting receiving more and more orders from customers around the country. I was so excited to see that there was a demand for my designs.
How do you balance being a college student with maintaining your business?
It is definitely difficult at times running a business while being a college student. I’ve learned to be extremely organized! I make way too many “to-do” lists, write everything down in my planner, and wake up early so I can get everything done and accomplish my goals.
What made you decide to expand your company beyond designing Sneakers by Jordana?
In college, I started another company called SKICKS, which is a collegiate themed sneaker line. After receiving so many orders for college themed Sneakers by Jordana, I realized that there were no stylish and spirited sneakers out there for college fans. This inspired me to start SKICKS! We launched 21 new schools this year for back to school and are planning on having 50 by next back to school. You can check out our styles at www.skicks.com!
Do you ever find that you aren’t taken seriously because you are such a young entrepreneur? If so, what do you do when that happens?
I love being a young entrepreneur. Everyone I’ve met along the way has been extremely helpful. I’ve received great advice to help steer me in the right direction!
How do you promote your business?
I promote my business through social media such as on my instagram, @sneakersbyjordana. I document every sneaker I design, and I post it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. I also receive great pictures of my customers in their custom Sneakers by Jordana, which I post on my accounts as well!
What is the most challenging part of being a young entrepreneur?
I’ve had some challenges balancing both school and work. I dealt with these challenges by applying what I learn in school to growing Sneakers by Jordana, in both design and business. I am an art and design major and a business minor so I have definitely learned a lot throughout my semesters at the University of Michigan.
What are your plans for your business? Do you want to further expand? Do you think this will become your “job” when you graduate?
Once I graduate, I want to continue working on both Sneakers by Jordana and SKICKS. For Sneakers by Jordana, I would like to expand my business into a mass produced life style and fashion brand. For SKICKS, we will continue to add more and more colleges to our sneaker line as well as add other products.
Who are some celebrities you have designed shoes for? Whose sneakers were your favorites to make?
I’ve made sneakers for celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Nick Cannon, and P!NK. I loved designing Miley’s sneakers because they revolved around her charity, Happy Hippie Foundation. Seeing Miley Cyrus wearing her Sneakers by Jordana backstage at the VMAs was absolutely amazing. I was so excited!
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? Are there any classes that helped you along the way?
My advice would be to work hard and believe in yourself! I’ve taken some great entrepreneurship classes at the University of Michigan that have taught me a lot about starting a business. These classes helped me shape and grow my company as well as set my goals as an entrepreneur.
If you could do one thing differently (business wise), what would you do?
I wouldn’t change one thing! Although there have been many obstacles, and it has taken a lot of hard work, I have learned so much and have enjoyed every minute of it. Designing sneakers is my passion.
What does She’s Fit to Lead mean to you? How does someone become “Fit to Lead?”
I love She’s Fit to Lead, because it inspires women to be leaders and believe in themselves. As a young female entrepreneur, I would like to inspire others to believe in themselves and their dreams. Someone becomes “Fit to Lead” when they motivate others to work hard and be confident to accomplish their goals.
Meet Jordana AND win a pair of Sneakers By Jordana custom designed just for you at our Connect To Confidence event in New York on Monday, May 21st. Learn more
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