Thursday, June 23, 2011

What America Needs: Young Entrepreneurs With Visions for a Future


From time to time, I talk about jobs in America. I’ve written why it’s so hard for young people today to find a job in this extended recession.

So, I’m always on the lookout for some good news on this subject. I recently read about a young entrepreneur who started an offline business at 16 years-old (in 2006), and who has steadily built his t-shirt business into a viable profit source online.

Graphic:  a screenshot of ooShirt’s Design Lab

Lei now employees six people, all current students or recent graduates from UC Berkeley. His company is called ooShirts, and he started out with $2,200 seed money. The UC Berkeley sophomore, who started in his junior year at Cupertino's Monta Vista High School, represents a new wave of startups that require little or no capital.

“We're an "ultra-light" startup, meaning that we spend no money on direct advertising and generally make every penny count,” said Colleen Fitzgerald, an employee I recently talked with. This new business model requires a lot of hard work, but anyone with the desire could go the route that Lei has chosen.

One of the many aspects about Lei’s business is that he’s getting all of his t-shirts printed in locations throughout the USA. Lei couldn’t find inexpensive custom-shirts when he started out, so he built an easy-to-use website and found reliable suppliers who provide speedy deliveries.

Lei, a sophomore business major at the University of California-Berkeley, says his revenue is continuing to grow. "We grew from having about $30,000 in revenue per year all the way up about $2.2 million at the end of 2010," he says.

As It Stands, Lei is on the frontline for the new millennium of entrepreneurs that hopefully will generate more jobs during these hard times.

(Go to Custom shirts for more information)

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