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ODU’s Student Entrepreneurs: What Are They Up To?


By Noell Saunders

Janay Brown, Founder and CEO of Full Belly Delights LLC

Old Dominion University student entrepreneur Janay Brown, founder of Full Belly Delights LLC, a gourmet bacon company, is moving full steam ahead from pop-up shops at Williams Sonoma to bacon and beer pairings with local breweries like O'Connor's in Norfolk and Wasserhund in Virginia Beach.

Brown, a junior marketing major in ODU's Strome College of Business, created the company as a senior high school project and brought it with her to Old Dominion.

Her bacon-filled treats are produced and shipped from a facility in Virginia Beach. The tasty treats can also be found at ODU's THE Monarch Way, the new store showcasing ODU entrepreneurs. Full Belly Delights' bacon truffle delights, bacon pops and bacon come in a variety of flavors, including tiramisu, sriracha and caramel.

For more information on upcoming events, visit Full Belly Delights' Facebook page. To learn more or to purchase some bacon treats, visit Full Belly Delights' website.

Hamilton Perkins, Founder of Hamilton Perkins Collection

From bottles to bags, Hamilton Perkins is an entrepreneur on a mission.

Perkins, a 2008 ODU alumnus, is the founder of Hamilton Perkins Collection.

The company offers an affordable line of uniquely designed, eco-friendly travel bags handcrafted by Haitian artisans from recycled plastic bottles and billboard vinyl.

Hamilton Perkins Collection is one of the few B corporations in Hampton Roads. A B corporation, which stands for benefit corporation, is a for-profit business dedicated to solving social and environmental issues.

Perkins' bags have been showcased in stores in Hampton Roads, New York, Canada, Australia and Los Angeles. They are also being sold at THE Monarch Way store. Perkins has been featured on Black Entertainment Television's "The Great 28." The show offers 28-second clips about moguls, thinkers and leaders who are changing their industries from the inside.

For more information, visit the Hamilton Perkins Collection website.

Maurice Brooks, Co-Founder of SHWIM Clothing

Maurice Brooks, co-founder of the clothing line SHWIM Clothing, is a rising entrepreneur with a sense of purpose.

SHWIM stands for Showing How We Integrate Minds, and its mission is to "foster an environment based on diversity and unite different cultures through fashion."

The target buyers are young millennials, but the clothing is aimed to attract all segments. The products include men's and women's T-shirts, jackets and sweatshirts, many featuring the SHWIM logo.

SHWIM's top-selling winter items have been its men's and women's silver 3M jackets with Shwim logo and U.S. flag insignia. Items can be purchased online or at THE Monarch Way.

For more information and to view products, visit SHWIM's website.

Christina Zhu, Founder of GradWYSE

Thousands of students graduate every year. Christina Zhu, a graduate student at Old Dominion, wants to help them dress for the occasion.

In the past three years, Zhu has turned her vision into reality with her online company GradWYSE, which sells reasonably priced graduation regalia, supplies and novelty items. She started her company with help from ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

Today, GradWYSE is listed as a top-seller for the multinational online shopping giant eBay. The company is also a vendor for Virginia Tech.

For more information about GradWYSE or to purchase regalia, visit the company's website.

Blade Taylor, CEO and Founder of 3DXtremes

3DXtremes is a modern manufacturing company that was formed to help individuals and organizations turn their napkin-sketch ideas into real products for a fraction of the cost and time.

The company offers 3D modeling, 3D printing, reverse molding and urethane casting. Products range from GoPro handles to mechanical hands, and more.

Taylor, a marketing student, began growing his business with help from ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

3DXtremes' operation is housed at the Norfolk Innovation Center on Boush Street.

For More on 3DXtremes visit the company's website.

Koby Lomax, Founder of Ardent Candle Company

Koby Lomax, a digital marketing student, is captivating people's sense of smell with scented candles that almost look good enough to eat.

His business, Ardent Candle Company, started as a high school project in 2015 and gained momentum with help from ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Center. In old English, "ardent" means burning and glowing.

The candles come in a variety of smells from strawberry shortcake and blueberry cheesecake to hazelnut coffee. Customers from as far as New York and California can't resist these aromatic pleasures.

In the fall, Lomax won ODU's "First Look Challenge," which is a program that helps first-year business students create a business plan for a start-up idea.

For more information or to purchase a candle, visit Ardent Candle Company's website.

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