Student club hosts famed entrepreneur, Mendeluk

By Jennifer Contreras

Cal Poly Pomona’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization club brought a respected entrepreneur to campus for its first club event “Started From The Bottom.”

The creator of faux-fur hood company SpiritHoods, Alexander Mendeluk, who also appeared on “Shark Tank,” spoke about entrepreneurship, branding and answered students’ questions on Thursday night in Bronco Student Center.

Chris Holyfield, the club’s president and a second-year business student, said the club chose Mendeluk as the first speaker for the event after hearing him speak at a general assembly in Los Angeles.

“The purpose of this club is to spread entrepreneurship awareness and make people feel like there are resources,” said Holyfield. “We were all inspired after hearing him speak. He was such a great success story and was more relatable than some billionaire.”

Mendeluk not only agreed to speak at the event for free, but he even donated three Spirit Hoods to help CEO promote the event.

“He was a down to earth guy,” said Farah Haddad, vice president of CEO and third-year business student. “He was willing to come out when we asked him, and didn’t even ask for anything.”

Half of the event focused on Mendeluk’s business success story, and the second half concentrated on self-branding and marketing. Mendeluk’s product is a famous accessory throughout the electronic dance music community.

Mendeluk attributed his success to when he stopped searching and started creating. He decided it was time to stop being afraid and began taking chances.

“Fear is always there ” it can be a motivating factor, or it can be an inhibiting factor,” said Mendeluk.

Mendeluk first started by learning how to sew and then making SpiritHoods for his friends and family. After wearing his own SpiritHood, he realized that his product was getting a lot of attention from individuals wanting to know more about it.

With no business education, no experience and no money, Mendeluk decided to take his chances and decided to start selling his product online.

“SpiritHoods became a manifestation of the desire for community, for self-expression, for being out there, for being fun,” said Mendeluk.

Mendeluk is also working on a project called Disruptive, a member-based studio where people can work on their businesses. It will be a community that Mendeluk wants to grow and take worldwide.

“I want to grow Disruptive,” said Mendeluk. “I think there is a large need for real life education. I want to create an environment where people, entrepreneurs and start-ups can come in co-collaborate, work together in a co-creative environment and space, share peer-to-peer skills and utilize each other kind of like an accelerator, but without the competition. There will be mentorship and education.”

Overall, the event was a great success with many satisfied attendees. First-year business student Herbert Morales shared he was anticipating the event because he had followed Mendeluk after watching him on “Shark Tank.”

“He really inspired me because I’m trying to start up my own clothing company,” said Morales. “I feel more creative after this event.”

Third-year business student Cheerine De Vera said she wasn’t sure what to expect before the event.

“I’m taking a lot back from this event, but mostly that I should face my fears and just go for it,” said De Vera.

Many attendees left the event fueled and inspired more than ever with one of Mendeluk’s messages.

“Our minds are the only inhibiting factor from us achieving what we want,” said Mendeluk.


Victoria Kernen / The Poly Post


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