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Founder's Diary #6 - "First Day Out"

Founder's Diary #5 - "First Day Out"

In the world of business, it's a simple truth: you need money to get started. No matter how brilliant your idea is, without capital, it won't go anywhere. This has been the biggest challenge in growing Veii since I first started it. I like to imagine myself as a magician, conjuring up the money the business needs out of thin air.

The first time I worked my magic was in 2019, during the early months of building Veii. I'd saved up some money from walking dogs the previous semester and a portion of my financial aid refund from the current semester, but it still wasn't enough to place an order for the first batch of real inventory I wanted to sell. I needed double the amount I had. With football taking up all my time, getting a job was out of the question, and my parents weren't going to fund what they saw as a crazy idea. So, I decided to leverage the one thing I had: football.

Our spring football game was the biggest event of the semester, drawing out all the students. After the game, everyone would head to various bars, frat houses, and other hotspots. I had an idea: if I could throw a party and market it as the official post-game event, I could make some serious cash in one day.

I put my plan into action by visiting every bar in College Park, where my school was located. They all said no—except one. Milkboy Arthouse, the newest bar in town, wasn’t getting much traffic. I convinced them by promising to bring my entire team and all the students who would typically head to other bars after the game. They agreed, on the condition that I paid the deposit upfront to secure the space. I handed over every dollar I had and spent three weeks marketing the event.

Spring ball is an intense period, packed with school, practice, and meetings. But after the spring game, things lighten up. Since I was planning to transfer from the University of Maryland after that semester, I named the event “First Day Out.” I even had a photoshoot in a prison uniform to promote the party, which became a hot topic in team meetings by various coaches.

When the day finally arrived, the party was a HUGE success. There was a line around the corner, and I doubled my money that day, almost to the exact dollar. That was my startup capital for Veii Apparel. From that experience, I learned that willpower trumps any business plan. What you do matters, but how you do it matters more. Your creativity and intensity are irreplaceable, and leaning into that is where all the good stuff lies.


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