Student business speak candidly about impact of COVID-19

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Alexis Davis, Contributor

With close to 3,000 deaths in North Carolina due to COVID-19, it can be difficult to keep up the momentum it takes to run a business, but these Aggie entrepreneurs defy the odds.

Photo Courtesy of NaturaleahCo on Instagram

To keep their minds off the unprecedented times surrounding them, several student entrepreneurs have turned to exercise and the outdoors to maintain their sanity. Including student entrepreneur, Leah Tyson.

“Some examples of things I do are staying active with yoga or cardio, meditating, using my essential oils and crystals, keeping in touch with friends and family and just being grateful and thanking God for waking me up every morning,” Tyson, a senior nursing student at N.C. A&T and the owner of NaturaLeah said.

NaturaLeah is committed to unlocking the goddess’ energy within each customer by selling crystal kits, waist beads, and more. Tyson also refers to herself as the “Wellness Plug.”

Tyson felt insecure about taking steps towards her entrepreneurial journey, but she has a three-step plan to relieve the stress of running a business during COVID-19.

“Make sure your business relates to something you enjoy and are passionate about. Do your research, set goals, and make a plan,” Tyson said.

Photo Courtesy of TheNoelleHair on Instagram

Ciarra Clark, a junior kinesiology student and the owner of the Noelle Hair Collection experienced that trial-and-error period.

“You can plan, budget, research all you want to, but until you actually start doing, the learning does not start,” Clark said.

As people continue to protest racism and police violence across the country, many have turned their attention to other ways to support the black community, including by supporting black-owned businesses.

The uncontrollable elements of the recent months did not just stop at coronavirus, they extended to the lives of African-Americans still being endangered.

“I’m the type of person that likes to feel like I’m in control. All these crazy things continued to happen to our people, you could not do anything about it,” Kennedy Maddox, a senior journalism and mass communications student and owner of Madd Klay said.

Maddox makes handmade polymer clay earrings. She enjoys seeing her products cause a change in mood for her customers. 

“The control transfers to how I make others feel. During quarantine, it was hard to be positive because the end was not clear,” Maddox said.

Justin “Jax” Jackson is a junior information technology student and the owner of Master of Sole. Jackson also makes music when he is not busy with school or managing his business. Master of Sole restores, cosigns, buys, and sells sneakers. The company also strives to keep its audience informed of the latest trends.

Jackson said one of the most satisfying parts of owning a business is seeing customers enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.
“When someone reaches out to me about my services, it makes me feel reassured. It lets me know that the service I created is essential and it is not for nothing,” said Jackson.

Being a student and business owner during a pandemic has its own challenges. The circumstances are not normal, but with planning, organization and time management, it can be done.

“When it comes to organization between online classes and my businesses, I allocate times and days where I dedicate my time to my business and my classes. I use a wall calendar as well as a booking calendar to keep track of my week to stay punctual,” Jackson said.

The uprising of entrepreneurs in Aggieland is far from over. If these businesses are dodging being brought down by an unprecedented pandemic, they can handle anything difficult their entrepreneurial journey may throw at them.