Here are three profiles of Artistic Entrepreneurs under 25 that Business Week featured on their 2007 Top 25 under 25 Young Entrepreneurs Awards List:
Alex Tchekmeian, 21
As a member of an indie rock band while a student, Alex Tchekmeian agreed to handle his band’s finances and order necessary merchandise like T-shirts and stickers. When other bands asked him for help, he agreed, starting several businesses that relied on subcontractors. He says that three years ago he started to take the business seriously, and dropped out of the University of Central Florida to devote more attention to it.
Today, 20-employee AKT Enterprises consists of 15 businesses that revolve around the music industry and include merchandising, Web development, and online ticketing services. Most of AKT’s clients are hardcore bands and record labels. Tchekmeian says the business had $1.3 million revenues in 2006 and estimates it will earn just over $3 million in 2007, with the bulk of the income coming from merchandising, all of which is produced in-house, because he doesn’t “trust the quality of anyone else out there.â€ As the business has grown, he says he’s received a number of offers from potential investors but has turned them down because now he doesn’t need the money.
Polina Raygorodskaya, 21
Before Russian native Polina Raygorodskaya started her fashion production services business Polina Fashion, she worked as a model for Major Models in New York. Convinced she could create a successful business herself, she decided to put her modeling career on hold to learn more about business. She enrolled at Babson College, where she is now a senior studying entrepreneurship and marketing.
Raygorodskaya says her business, which she started in April, 2006, after being approached to produce an event from a contact from her modeling days, is profitable and makes the bulk of its profits producing fashion events. She says she has already produced about 50 events, with price tags of $2,000 to $15,000 per event. Despite taking six classes and running the company by herself, Raygorodskaya is planning a major event for February, 2009, that she says could shake up the fashion industry and bring in about $2 million in revenues. If the event is successful, she plans to roll out a monthly series in major cities across the U.S.
Ashley Reed, 21
Reed started her business after classmates in high school commented on her custom-designed clothes and asked her to design pieces for them. She says that fashion design has always been her passion.
When her counterparts in the fashion industry learn Reed’s age, she says they usually doubt the seriousness of her business. But that changes once they check out her line of streetwear hoodies, jeans, and T-shirts. Reed says she doesn’t spend too much time worrying about her age, because she’s busy running her business and majoring in retailing at Michigan State during the regular academic year and majoring in fashion merchandising and management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the summer. Reed expects to complete both degrees in 2008.
Her five-employee business has been featured in newspapers and magazines, and most of its clients are high school or college students from the U.S. but she says recently it has received international orders. For now, she’s investing in equipment that allows her to speed up production and is planning to expand when she graduates.
Here is the link to Business Weeks 2007 Under 25 Young Entrepreneur Awards