This College Student’s Sneaker Company Kicks Butt

Jordana Schrager began doodling on her sneakers when she was a sophomore in high school. Her classmates couldn’t help but notice her skillfully-designed kicks and request a pair for themselves.

The more shoes she designed, the more people noticed, and orders piled up. Five years later, she has created more than four hundred pairs of unique sneakers.

Schrager is a 21-year-old junior at the University of Michigan, where she majors in art and design and minors in business.

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Her company is Sneakers by Jordana. Anyone can purchase a custom pair at SneakersbyJordana.com. They’ll cost you $250 to $400.

Personalization is marketers’ top priority right now, according to this year’s study from Adobe. Leave it to a college student to lead the way in personalizing doodled sneakers.

“I have been able to improve the process with years of practice,” she says. “I collect images that I’m inspired by and refer to them as I am creating each design.”

Sneakers By Jordana

Photos are courtesy of Sneakers by Jordana

Schrager typically uses Vans as her canvas. She has also designed Converse sneakers and TOMS. She usually designs directly on the shoes using Sharpie paint pens.

Notably, she worked with the Barclays Center and St. Mary’s benefit concert to create shoes for Nick Cannon, Selena Gomez and P!NK as gifts for performing.

She also stocks existing designs you can order for less than $200.

Schrager says she gets orders from different types of customers, but most come from young women in their teens. In the future, she hopes to create her own white sneaker line that she can use for her designs and add apparel to her offerings.

For now, she also runs another company with her mother and other partners called Skicks, which offers collegiate-themed sneakers with schools’ colors and logos.

Three Pieces of Advice From NYC’s Hottest Young Sushi Chef

David Bouhadana is 28 years old. He is originally from Florida and now lives in the city. Like a lot of guys his age, he loves sushi.

However, he is the only one who has also extensively studied the art of sushi-making in Japan, opened a restaurant in the East Village and became the first known Jewish sushi chef who is also a millennial.

In addition to running his flagship hotspot Sushi Dojo, he recently opened a takeout station in the Gansevoort Market and is in the process of bringing a gastropub to Tribeca.

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How can millennials learn from Bouhadana, who broke barriers and is continuing to grow his business?

  1. Be resourceful. Bouhadana worked hard at perfecting his sushi-making skills. He also watched YouTube videos on the subject. He read Japanese books and blogs. Bouhadana says the advent of YouTube and blogs benefits our generation because they’re free and cover a variety of useful topics.
  2. Specialize. Bouhadana extensively studied and makes authentic, Tokyo-style sushi. Much of the fish is flown in daily from the Tsukiji Market. He could make it in his sleep. The fish is so fresh that it tastes as though it has just left the ocean.
  3. Stand out. Bouhadana has a unique story. His sushi restaurant is also unlike the others. He blasts house and hip-hop hits and has a tendency to lip sync on the job. Customers tend to befriend him and even buy him drinks, contributing to an informal and fun atmosphere. When I was there, David knew everyone in the room. Not everyone who dines there is as young as David, but they all seem to appreciate the ebullient environment.

Sushi Dojo is loosely translated as “a place to learn about sushi.” Education is Bouhadana’s goal at his establishment and is what he believes will continue to improve in a country that took its time to embrace enjoying the consumption of raw fish. “Over time, Americans will become more knowledgeable about sushi, the process for importing and exporting will get better and Chicago and Dallas will see higher quality sushi,” he predicts.

Spotted: Mini Cupcake Company on the Rise

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Photo of Lily Brynes is courtesy of Lily & SPOTS NYC

Millennials know what other millennials crave. That’s personalization, according to SPOTS NYC. The company can print photos, logos or messages on mini cupcakes within 48-hours.

Lily Brynes went into the cupcakes business just six months ago, and 20- and 30-somethings are already eating it up. You have likely already seen these cupcakes on your Instagram account, if you haven’t ordered them already.

Big brands are fans too. Brynes has worked with Twitter, Vine, Rebecca Minkoff and Jonathan Adler, among others. While these cupcakes have become popular for birthdays, engagements or other holidays, Brynes says 60 percent of her orders have been for corporate purposes.

Brynes has always been obsessed with baking (and eating). She would bake with and for her boyfriend whenever she had the time. She eventually figured out how to customize her baked goods.

She studied hospitality administration and management at George Washington University, then worked for Danny Meyer – the restaurateur behind Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern and Maialino.

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Now she has 15-20 bakers, a commercial kitchen in the Bronx and a kitchen for icing and printing on Chrystie Street.

What does the future hold for SPOTS NYC – besides many adorable, made-to-order cupcakes? Brynes says she doesn’t ever envision it becoming a storefront business – maybe kiosk stands.

The icing on the cake? SPOTS NYC is currently expanding and plans to ship beyond the NYC area starting at the end of the summer.