Dec 20th 2018
Most college students do not have a double major or own their own business, but John Cramer Jr. does both.
Cramer is from the small town of Lake Stevens, WA, and is currently in his junior year at Liberty University. He is double-majoring in Entrepreneurship and International Business and is the owner of Stylo Ink, a company he founded where he makes pens out of exotic woods and acrylics.
Cramer said that his decision to own his own business started in March of 2017, and things quickly gained traction from there.
“March is when I decided I was going to start it, so I applied for an LLC business license, got my web domain,” Cramer said. “April, I got everything approved, and May 8 is when I uploaded my website.”
Cramer struggled to gain any orders in the business’ first few months, but he refused to let that deter him from success. Instead, he decided to take a more proactive approach.
“I would put on a full suit and tie and go business to business with a heavy pen box of like 24 pens in the 90-degree weather,” Cramer said about the difficulties he faced early on. “I started doing that, going to business owners and managers, asking them to them to help invest in me by buying pen[s] and helping me go to college, which is the reason why I started the business.”
The process of making these custom pens is lengthy and time-consuming, and Cramer does it all from a warehouse in Lynchburg. Cramer will first take a block of material-anything from Redwood to an old computer motherboard wrapped in a special casing-and cut it into the size he wants. He then carefully assembles all of the necessary pieces into a pen, which he then sells online at stylo-ink.com.
However, Cramer is not merely using this business to simply earn his way through college or focus solely on his needs. Cramer stated in an interview with Seattle-based radio station 770 KTTH in October of 2017 that another one of his goals for Stylo Ink is to eventually hire people who need to have a job and earn money, like veterans and high schoolers.
“We got rid of trade schools a long time ago and I think it was one of the biggest mistakes, because now you have the dilemma of high school students trying to go and get a job, but you can’t get that job unless you have experience,” Cramer said. “This way high school students learn the art of woodworking which they can take anywhere they go.”
Even in the early days of Stylo Ink, Cramer’s heart has also been set on impacting other young teens and equipping them with practical career skills. Cramer has taken high school and college students to networking events and began to show them basic entrepreneurial skills, such as dressing professionally and maintaining eye contact in a conversation.
Furthermore, he has begun to mentor other people his own age who are interested in starting their own businesses and is also in the process of writing a Christian-based business curriculum to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“I noticed a lot of other teenagers who found my business to be very successful and find me being successful, yet I’m just a normal average joe that’s just trying to put myself through school,” Cramer said. “I wanted to give them the opportunity and the mindset to where they can also do the same things, if not better, then what I’m doing.”
John Simmons: 603-395-7186; email@example.com.