We have heard of many young entrepreneurs who start businesses early in life. They balance school with their company and prioritize their business ventures over their social life. Such people are always an inspiration for the coming generations of entrepreneurs. Ilan Orgel, a rising junior, studying Finance at the University of Maryland, created Fusion100 out of his college dorm room.
Fusion100 is a lifestyle clothing brand that Orgel founded in July of 2019. Below is an interview of Ilan Orgel, talking about his journey to start his business.
Being an entrepreneur and running a business can be very challenging for college students. College students allocate lots of time to schoolwork and it is often hard to balance a social life, school, and a business.
Orgel managed to figure out how to balance all three through efficient time management. In 2019, at the age of 19, he started Fusion100. The brand’s mission is to inspire people to become the best version of themselves and motivate people to give 100 percent in everything they do. Orgel believes, “Each person is unique in their own way and has their own strengths and weaknesses.”
One can face many obstacles when gathering products and managing an inventory as it all requires time and money. Orgel was so enthusiastic and focused that within a few months, he was able to run the business by moving his entire inventory from New York City to his dorm room in College Park. By having inventory at school, Orgel promoted merchandise across campus and started selling his products to friends, classmates, and students throughout the university.
Orgel’s brand currently targets men and women, but in the future hopes to expand to kids as well. He manages over 40 brand ambassadors, works with designers across the United States, and produces all of his clothing overseas. Orgel recently began shipping his clothing overseas to Australia and Canada.
Orgel decided to create a range of designs that are simple, sophisticated, and youthful. They consist of vibrant colors and the original logo that was created.
His clothing is a perfect fit for consumers who wish to wear comfortable and stylish clothes. Along with the designs, the quality of the products is superior. Customers have been satisfied with their purchases and have submitted positive feedback on the website. Orgel provides affordable prices to make products more accessible to the public.
Is it a good idea to start a business in college?
Absolutely! Starting a business in college is a great idea. Students are an essential resource when it comes to testing different ideas. Use your campus and school opportunities to your advantage. There are so many things that you are going to learn while you are running a business that you will not learn in the classroom.
When did your journey of Entrepreneurship start?
Growing up, I was always interested in the clothing industry and sneakers. Streetwear and clothing brands always fascinated me. Similar to my classmates and friends I used to collect sneakers as a hobby. At a young age, I started to buy sneakers with the intention of reselling them. I remember staying outside of stores overnight in order to secure as many limited sneakers as possible. I was constantly looking for new items that were high in demand and reselling them in order to make a profit.
How do you market your products?
I have created pages on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. Through these platforms, I have been able to advertise my products and make sales. Instagram has allowed me to connect with athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NCAA. I have highly benefited by sending them complimentary merchandise in return for a promotion. This has driven traffic to my Instagram page and website. In the future, I look to continue to work with athletes, influencers, and other entrepreneurs in order to grow my business.
What are some mistakes you made?
When I started the company, the merchandise I was selling was being manufactured in New York City. My profit margins were not very good at the beginning. Switching to manufacturers overseas was more beneficial. The clothing was higher quality, came with custom tags, and was cheaper.
What advice can you give fellow entrepreneurs?
I recommend pursuing your passion. Instead of focusing on what will make you the most money, identify a product that you connect to and have an audience for. Passion is what will drive your business and make your customers believe in your product. I have always had a love for clothing and that is what drives me to work hard when it comes to Fusion100. My second piece of advice is to believe in yourself. There will be people who try to discourage you at the beginning stages of your business. Having confidence will allow you to be optimistic and set goals that you believe you can accomplish.
Which entrepreneurs do you look up to?
I look up to entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. They have all faced rejections and failures in life but have persevered as entrepreneurs. Overcoming obstacles and their journeys to success have made them an inspiration to me.
How should people contact you?