Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder
If you thought that dashing man driving the scooter in the photo above was Lloyd Christmas, you need to look again. That is actually Chris White, JD/MBA student at CU Boulder, and co-founder of Shinesty.
Chris is completely immersed in the startup scene around CU and Boulder, so it is no surprise that he is now working on a company of his own. In this interview we found out more about how he brought his idea to life. Don’t let the mullet fool you – when it comes to running Shinesty, Chris is all business.
What is Shinesty?
Every year tens of millions of college students and young adults get dressed up in fantastic, unique, (and by boring people’s standards) weird, retro clothing for themed parties and events. The problem is that finding the best clothing for these events is hard. eBay is a pain in the ass and finding something cool at the Goodwill is like finding a needle in a haystack. That is why we are creating Shinesty.
Shinesty is a curated online marketplace where people can buy sell and trade amazing retro clothing for themed parties and events. We’re talking 80’s neon ski onsies for gaper day at Vail, American flag jorts for Fourth of July at the lake, ugly Christmas sweaters for the company holiday party, and all other things awesome.
How did you decide to take your idea and actually make something out of it?
I get lots of ideas, I guess that’s part of living with attention deficit disorder. Usually when I get an idea I sleep on it for a few days and then decide (1) If the idea is actually good and (2) if I have the skill set or experience needed to turn my idea into reality. When I thought of the idea for Shinesty I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have always loved awesome retro clothing and dressing crazy for themed parties so I thought maybe I had at least some basis for acting on my idea.
Many students feel they are too busy during school to work on their company. As a busy JD/MBA how do you feel about this?
If you’d rather work on your school work than your company that’s ok, it just means you probably haven’t started a company that you are really passionate about. For me, it is a struggle to pull myself away from Shinesty and actually focus on school. I’m passionate about creating a brand that makes people laugh and solving the very serious problem countless young adolescents face every year when that perfect sparkly gold and neon purple sweat suit is nowhere to be found in time for 80’s night.
I would much rather be donning a mullet wig and Charles Barkley team USA basketball jersey, building a funny brand than reading for my law school classes. Balancing school and Shinesty keeps me very busy, but it doesn’t feel stressful because I’m having fun. If you want to start a company while in school make sure you are doing something that you enjoy. You will achieve more and stress less.
What is the one piece you would love to add to Shinesty’s current collection?
It’s a close tie between the massive tiger print fur coat Macklemore wears in his Thrift Shop music video and all of the clothing worn in Dumb and Dumber, specifically the Western formal outfits Lloyd wears in Aspen.