How to be your own boss

OIA member Telvin Wallace sporting Azalea limited edition logo tee. (Staff photo by Daija Graves)


Business textbooks probably cannot keep up with how the millennial generation is revolutionizing the art of entrepreneurship. College students, using social media and the internet are finding ways to create products and make money. The days of working at the mall to make some money may be coming to an end.

An OIA customer in Daisy limited edition logo tee. (Staff photo by Daija Graves)

One local example is Outsiders In Age, a clothing line started by N.C. Central University students, Jaylan Squire, Jordan Harris, Deon Alex and Quinn Powell. OIA made its debut in spring 2017. Telvin Wallace, an art major focusing on visual communications, has since joined the group.

“OIA is a clothing line about being who you are,” said Squire, a business administration major with a concentration in marketing. “One of our biggest quotes is ‘You are who you are.’”

“I’ve known I wanted to have a clothing line for a long time. It started when I was in high school. I would do little designs in class just for fun,” Squire said. “When I got to college that’s when it pushed me to start my clothing line because I had the money.”

Squire said investment in yourself, using your hard-earned money is step one in how to start your own business.

“We invested our money and time to make her vision come to light,” said Squire. He considers OIA a movement, rather than just a clothing line. “We want to bring individuality back to society,” Squire said.

Squire said to market OIA he utilizes social media as well as flyers, promo videos and customer photographs.

Squire said researching is a key factor in any business, because you need to know the ins and outs of the products you want to sell.

“OIA is about quality over quantity. We want to distribute clothing with good quality. I spent countless nights researching different screen prints, t-shirt quality and longevity of shirts,” Squire said. “We want to make sure what we’re selling is good material.”

OIA customers receive a shirt packaged along with a sticker.

Squire creates all the graphic designs for the shirts

OIA had a mentor that guided the group when they faced a problem finding a place of quality to print their first tees. He also looks to celebrities as examples.

“I look up to Kanye West not only for fashion and music, but his demeanor as a whole.

Kanye’s attitude may come off to some as arrogant, but his confidence speaks volumes. He does not care what society or others have to say about him. He is his own boss,” Squire said.

Since OIA is a student-run business, the members have to balance their work with school and all of its demands. That’s where the teamwork comes in.

“Running a business while we are in college is easy because it is five of us. We can split the work that has to be done between us,” said Alex, a mass communication major. The students come from a range of majors which allows them to bring their talents together. Jordan Harris is also mass communication major, while Quinn Powell is a history major.

Squire said working together is great, but it can be a little difficult sometimes when it comes to everyone being on the same accord as far as timing.

“If I could do anything differently, I would change or add to our marketing strategies to make sure we are targeting as many people as we can,” Squire added.

OIA plans to release their fall 2017 line next month titled “NO MORE CLONES.”

The “NO MORE CLONES” fall line will represent OIA’s motto “You Are Who You Are.”

“I don’t just support OIA because they are my peers. The quality of their first t-shirt is when I was sold,” Deshanae Meaders said. “I’m anticipating the release of ‘NO MORE CLONES.’”

“OIA is so grateful for the support we have been receiving. We sold out of our first limited-edition logo tees,” Squire said.

Squire said the only advice he can give for anyone looking to start any business is simply invest in yourself and remain true.

For more information on Outsiders In Age visit