Adrian Calderon, a third-year marketing and Spanish major at Indiana University East, is owner and designer of Adrian’s Prophet. It is a website-based clothing brand that specializes in providing minimal as well as avant-garde garments for men and women. It develops designs that challenge current styles and protect people from the elements.
Crimson Catalyst: If a person has an idea for a business, what are the first three actions they should take to make it a reality?
Adrian Calderon: For a business of any kind, the first action one should take is to develop a solid idea or product that is able to be clearly distinguished from others in its category or market. If someone wants to sell a product or service that will be sought after, there needs to be reason it is desired over its competitors.
The second action that should be taken is implementing a website and/or social media page that potential customers or clients can visit to see the extent of what you are offering as well as understand the position or message you want to communicate with your business. At this point, your business has taken a stable shape and has the potential to either rise or fall.
For this reason, the third action should be developing a tactic for promoting your business. Whether it’s approaching others to implement a word-of-mouth awareness tactic or utilizing social media to increase reach and traffic, business requires marketing — otherwise, there is basically no business at all.
CC: What has surprised you during the course of your day-to-day entrepreneurial journey?
AC: The extent to which word of mouth can grow a business’s reach and awareness.
Initially, going into the clothing business as a student, I had assumed my friends and family would be the only ones aware of it in my first month of business. But by the end of the first month, I was being approached on campus by students I had never met with questions about my business and was gaining followers and customers from outside my city and state. It was something entirely new, and it still surprises me when those I had never expected to react to my business take notice, as well as interest, both in-person and online.
Word of mouth from the local level as well as online is no longer something I underestimate but something that continues to surprise me every day.
CC: How do you define success?
AC: I define success as being able to express through both word and evidence that you have manifested and realized exactly what you have been striving toward over a certain period of time. While sacrifices were made and hours spent, goals have been achieved, and you are able to tell yourself that you are in a better spot than you were before.
CC: What is dangerous or scary about being an entrepreneur?
AC: The realization that with even one day of no business or stimulation in your work, what you may have been passionate about and driven to deliver can easily become less of a vision and ambition and more of an endless obligation. Then, before you know it, you have become both complacent and almost apathetic in your day-to-day operations, with no desire to grow in your business.
This danger and fear are exactly why it is so important to constantly stoke the fire of thought and creation every day, even if it is only through a single note or drawing for yourself.
CC: What is the best advice you’ve received?
AC: It was on the more cliché end of the spectrum, though it still seems to prove more profound than most advice I’ve received: The only day we are ever assured of is the one that we have in that moment, and for that reason we should never squander it.
CC: What is the best advice you can offer?
AC: There is always someone who is interested in anything. Should your ideas either stand above all others or operate in the shadows, if you have a passion that you desire to make known, then there is bound to be a group that will follow that passion eventually, whether you find that group, let them find you or decide to create a new group entirely.