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When you look around campus, you see scholars and athletes, artists and actors. When was the last time you looked at someone and said, “Wow, that guy looks like an entrepreneur,” or “That girl definitely owns her own business.”  In all honesty,  there is no way to tell what an entrepreneur acts or looks like.

Julian Chavez is the perfect example of this.  You’d never believe the things this humble sophomore has accomplished in his short life.

Growing up on the rough streets of Chicago, Chavez leaned heavily on his job at Leader, a sneaker store in his neighborhood.  “I just loved the fact that they sold not only the White Sox and Cubs logo, but also had their own logo on the merchandise,” Chavez said when explaining how he fell in love with his place of employment.

Following high school, on a whim, Chavez moved to Austin, Texas, and with his $5,000 in savings, opened his own sneaker store, Sole Fresco.  “Fresco means fresh in Spanish,” Chavez explained, as he wanted to have some sort of connection to his Hispanic heritage within his store.

In describing his experience he said, “I was 18 years old, selling my barely worn size nine sneakers I had collected over the years.”

Seeking something larger, Chavez went to a convention in Las Vegas in an attempt to gain the connections he needed to create relationships and sell the sneakers of some of the brand-name companies.

Chavez was given the news that his space was far too small to fit the standards of any of the firms he strove to sell.

In a story of right place, right time, Chavez, with an investment from his family, leased a new, two-story space to open a second Sole Fresco.  With many of the connections he first yearned for, Chavez was able to hire several employees and enjoyed strong profits.

With that said, Chavez did not have a relationship with Nike, something which he felt hindered his business. Despite his lack of Nike merchandise, Chavez had several opportunities to sell his business.

“It was my baby.  I couldn’t sell that experience,” Chavez said.

It took a conversation with his parents for Chavez to realize his love for Sole Fresco wasn’t what it had been previously.

“I felt restricted to what I sold and being a creative person, it just didn’t feel right anymore,” Chavez said. “I want to continue to always be creative, so I sold the store.”

After one year at Burlington County College, in New Jersey, Chavez set his sights on the Villanova School of Business.

“VSB has that entrepreneurial spirit, which is exactly what I want,” Chavez said.  Along with the switch to VSB, Chavez was able to spend this semester working out in California with Apple.

On top of his work with Apple, Chavez also had the privilege of taking classes at Stanford University, an experience he will not soon forget.

Continuing the entrepreneurial spirit, Chavez has been diving head first into his next project, an iPhone application.

Chavez describes this new iPhone application as “an enhancement of the music festival experience, a conscious app versus a static guide.”

“People are always getting lost or dehydrated when it comes to festivals, and I think that definitely is something I can change,” Julian said.  Chavez is looking to incorporate other students in his adventure.

On Sept. 24, there is a VSB and Computing Sciences Idea Bounce, where Julian hopes to not only gain possible partners in working on the app, but also to understand computer sciences better.

When asked what he’s learned from all these experience, Chavez said, “Whatever twists life throws at you, always keep the foundation of where you are, because life goes on, and you need to know what your next step is.”

 

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