For senior supply chain management major Rodney Goins and graduate strategic leadership and design student Andrew Walker, business is not just theoretical class work. Both have used their knowledge of business to start their own respective clothing companies.
Goins started his brand, Back of the Net, during his sophomore year after becoming interested in fashion. Goins said that he draws his inspiration from his favorite sport, soccer.
“I had recently got into fashion and I’m a lifelong soccer fan,” Goins said. “I’m also a business major so I thought it would be fun to mix it all together and marry the concepts.”
Walker drew from the ideas of positive thinking and determination as inspiration when coming up with the idea for his brand.
“The idea came to me about two and a half years ago,” Walker said. “I thought about this basic concept. It was about having a vision, having a plan, acquiring vision to the plan and staying focused through the course with positive thinking and a positive mindset.”
Walker wanted the name of his brand to reflect his concept of positive thinking. He went through about 35 names before he decided on the French word ‘cours.’
“It means staying the course and staying focused,” Walker said.
According to Walker, both his undergraduate and graduate degrees have greatly helped him understand the different aspects of running a business, which was instrumental to his success.
“My graduate degree has helped me tremendously,” Walker said. “I’m a people person. This is all about getting the people to understand what exactly your vision’s message is. [My degree] is helping me understand the psychology of business and the everyday problems that may occur and how to handle them.”
Walker said that having been a part of UIndy’s football team has provided a large support system for Cours.
“We have 120 guys and the majority of them support what I do, if not they know exactly what’s going on,” Walker said. “I’ve been able to do tank tops for them and give them customized items because we don’t have that here. I just recently did long sleeve T-shirts. It’s just the fact that they are willing to support me and I know that they can spend their $25 in other various ways, but the fact that they are supporting me helped get my message out here in the world.”
Although Goins has received some business from the UIndy community, a majority of his sales have come from around the country and even abroad.
“Right now, my line has reached support on four different continents, making up around six different countries,” Goins said. “I’ve reached all of North America, Australia, England, China and the Netherlands.”
According to Goins, Back of the Net has received support from Major League Soccer players, including: Tyler Turner of the LA Galaxy, Tommy Thompson of the San Jose Earthquakes and Tyler Lussi of the Portland Thorns.
Goins said he would like build his brand as much as he can, and hopes to partner with larger companies in the clothing industry at some point in the future. “Maybe someday partnering with Adidas,” Goins said. “That’s shooting high, but huge collaborations and getting more pro players on board. I have a few pro’s on board now, but more would be nice.”
Walker and Goins both agree that students who are considering starting a business should pursue their goals and take a risk.
“I learned a lot,” Walker said. “I don’t know everything and you’re not going to know everything, but you learn along the way. If it’s something that you want to do and you have a passion behind it, I would say do it.”