Proceeds from Soulscarf go to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Feed The Children, Project H Design and The Breast Cancer Society.
Soulscarf started as an idea for an information technology design and startups course that Celeste Currie took over a year ago. Determined — but with little business experience — Currie decided to continue with the project beyond the class and founded her own company.
“I realized that it was possible and I could do it,” Currie said, a junior information management and technology major at Syracuse University.
Every Soulscarf has one of four different colored hearts sewn onto it. Each color represents one of the following charities: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Feed The Children, Project H Design and The Breast Cancer Society. Twenty percent of the proceeds from every scarf sold are donated directly to one of the four corresponding charities, allowing Soulscarf to help “knit the threads of fashion and philanthropy one customer, one charity, one scarf at a time.”
“Giving back is something that I’ve always been passionate about,” Currie said. “I wanted to do this not only to give back to organizations, but also [to see] how far it could get using really [few] resources.”
The scarf’s design came easily to Currie, who had been scarf-searching for a particular style she wanted but could not find in any store. So, she took matters into her own hands.
In the company’s early stages, Currie tried to do everything herself, including production. She went to Michael’s and bought a $12 knitting kit and $24 worth of yarn and got to work.
It only took three days, a few knitted inches and some frustration for Currie to realize that if this project was going to work, she needed some outside help. Once she decided on a manufacturing company, Currie also decided to take advantage of the resources her university had to offer. Currie said she is thankful that Syracuse University has provided her with affordable and accessible resources, such as a lawyer.
As of November, Soulscarf has moved about 300 scarves and has a higher demand than its inventory can supply. Soulscarf broke even last month after just over a year in operation. Right now, all proceeds and profits — except those donated to the charities — are reinvested in the company.
“If you have an idea, be proactive and don’t just think about it — do it. If you really want to be an entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid to take risks,” Currie said.
Currie surrounds herself with a tight-knit team, comprised of some very important people in her life. Emily Pompelia is Currie’s classmate, roommate, best friend at Syracuse and one of her biggest supporters. Pompelia remembers sitting in Syracuse’s Kimmel Food Court on a particular Haagen-Dazs run with Currie last year.
“We’d spitball about the future of Soulscarf, and [Currie] would say things like, ‘What if I actually sell these things? What if people actually buy them?’” Pompelia said. “It’s just so funny to think now.”
Pompelia, a triple-major in newspaper and online journalism, policy studies and German at Syracuse, describes her friend as humble, passionate and someone who has a good, philanthropic heart.
“I had no idea what it took to start a business,” she said. “I don’t think Celeste did either.”
Pompelia said that Currie often tries to pay and employ her for the work that she does for the company, but she has yet to accept any compensation. Pompelia is confident that Soulscarf will succeed in doing great things.
“And if for some reason it doesn’t, I have no doubt that this was one of the best learning experiences for a young entrepreneur,” she said. “I’m really excited to see where it goes.”
Another integral part of Soulscarf is Logan Drumhiller, a Boston College business student studying finance, accounting and management. He is the financial manager for Soulscarf and Currie’s boyfriend of four years.
When Soulscarf was in its idea stage, Currie used him as “a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.” Now, Drumhiller manages the internal reporting and accounting of the company.
Soulscarf has taught Drumhiller that age and background don’t matter; if someone is willing to take on some risk and responsibility, anything is possible. College campuses are hotbeds for people with ideas, Drumhiller said, and “if you’re learning things, you might as well try to directly apply them and do something with it.”
The next big step for Soulscarf will be its involvement in the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF).
“Being an entrepreneur is something I never really had in my plan for life,” said Currie. “I came to school to study technology and now I own and operate a scarf company.”
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