Maria Alejandra Rey
“Just going around with my grandma and my mom to flea markets and garage sales looking for better deals and better findings, and thinking that people were giving away good quality clothes for $5, when I knew I could sell them for $50,” said Reinaldo “Ray” Contreras Business and Entrepreneurship major at LCCC.
The inspiration behind his business, a project described as a “Conjunction of Collectables”, sales everything from relic street clothing to vintage furniture. Repurposing and reselling what was consider once trash from one person, is now to become someone else’s treasure.
Contreras manages his business in a variety of ways. From going around looking for the items that are going to be sold, to social media marketing, which includes photographing each item that goes on his Instagram page, negotiating with potential providers, and finding customers who are willing to pay the real price for quality clothing. “Anybody can just sell, but the passion that I put in to it. you won’t find it in that many businesses,” said Contreras.
Moreover, he also affirms he wants to get to know his customers, explain why each piece of his collection is special and why it is different from what you may find in a regular store.
The conjunction of collectables has started attracting more people. The business began to grow by word of mouth, to having almost a thousand followers on Instagram, and now with a pop-up shop on the way. Contreras is starting to think about the tools that may be offered to entrepreneurs like him. “I was waiting until I had an established brand so I could take it to somewhere like The Neo Launch.” LCCC has helped thousands of students not only by given them training in the form of classes, but also with tools like The Neo Launch that allowed students to network, as well as providing them with coaching and guidance.
There are other students like Contreras such as Nick Foster, creator of Kernel Foster’s Gourmet Popcorn. The 22-year-old business major had the idea of setting up stands for carnivals selling cheddar and caramel popcorn. After a while clients started asking him to cater their wedding or fundraisers and requesting different flavours until it became a 100% locally sourced business.
The Neo Launch is a tool available for all student on campus that hosts event for clients to meet and pursuit their own goals.