Student entrepreneurs balance school, business

Nov 1, 2018

Many college students struggle to stay on top of their schoolwork, social lives, and part-time jobs, but some do a whole lot more by running their own business.

More than twenty University of Massachusetts Dartmouth students gathered in the library on Nov. 1 to show off their small businesses at the National Society of Black Engineers Small Business Expo.

Businesses included photography, cooking, make-up, hair styling, illustration, and fashion. Many students’ businesses sprang from their long-time passions, and focused on something different than their studies.

Levante Anderson is a business major who also works as a photographer. He has been taking photos for about six years.

“I started with an iPod,” he said. “I’m continuously developing myself as a photographer.”

He mainly does portrait and fashion photography, and hopes to continue taking pictures alongside a business career.

“If I can have my career and have photography on the side, then I’m all set,” Anderson said.

He is currently working on building a website, and posts his photography on Instagram @specialperspective.

Nellie Sanchez has created her own line of oils for hair, body, lips, and beards. She began by making hair oils for herself. She created a blend she loved, and realized other people might like it, too.

Sanchez makes her products by hand, which she said is tough to do in her dorm room.

“I have to clear off my whole desk,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez can be contacted through Instagram at "@oilmeupbabes.

One small business owner at the fair already has partners. Amari Dias is the designer and CEO of Amarishardé, a line of clothing that blends classic looks with street wear.

“I sketch my designs and I make them myself from scratch, or I revamp things I find,” Dias said.

Dias has been drawing since childhood and decided to bring her designs to life.

Amarishardé already has a marketing director, creative director, graphic designer, and an editorial director. The team is working on a website but can be found on Instagram @amarisharde.

Töni Chämbers is an illustrator who sells her work as stickers and prints.

“I’ve been seriously drawing since I was 15,” Chämbers, who is now a senior illustration major, said. Her work mostly focuses on characters, scenery, and narrative.

After graduation, Chämbers hopes to start doing editorial illustrations for magazines, newsletters, and other publications. She has already done some advertisements and graphic design work.

“You have to be a jack of all trades,” Chämbers explained. Her portfolio is online at

Rayne Rivera is the owner of a new small business called “Rayne Day Designs.”

“I’m really crafting, so I’m starting with paracord, but it’s going to grow,” Rivera said. She plans to expand her business to furniture and ceramics.

As an engineering major, Rivera says that tying paracord bracelets serves as a much-needed stress reliever. Her bracelets come in three standard sizes or can be made to custom lengths. She works in all colors and sometimes incorporates seashells into her work. Rivera can be contacted by email at