December 9, 2016
Dr. Margaret A. Ellibee was selected in June 2012 by the Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees to serve as college president. Ellibee served as vice president for strategic effectiveness and advancement at Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin from 2007 until 2012. Previously, she served as state director for career and technical education with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and coordinator for innovative programming and research at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
Ellibee received a Doctor of Philosophy in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin in 1995. She also taught vocational agriculture at Stuttgart High School from 1983 to 1986. She will be sharing the story of one of her students and entreprenuer, Maxi Dominguez.
Maxi Dominguez is a recent graduate of Pulaski Technical College and has recently opened Raiz Apparel in Little Rock.
Raiz Apparel was described as a self-started project mixed with hard work and entrepreneur mindset which turned into Raiz Appaarel. Dominguez says, "Through this brand, I am able to diversify my skillset daily while diving into my passion."
Dominguez has utilized the internet and edgy photography aimed at a specific demographic as a selling and marketing platform for their clothing line with a website hosted by Square Space, along with Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube and other online media accounts.
Dominguez will discuss developing and building a fledgling startup business in today's marketplace.
Dr. Margaret A. Ellibee is president of Pulaski Technical College and Maxi Dominguez is a recent graduate of Pulaski Technical College and has recently opened Raiz Apparel in Little Rock. Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
EPISODE 13 Transcript
[0:00:03.2] TB: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Be sure to stay tuned till the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.
Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:19.5] KM: Hello, you’re listening to Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me get up in your business. You may be asking yourself what makes this lady qualified to do this, and I’ll tell you. Experience.
In a minute, you can email or call and ask me anything. 40 years ago with just $400, I started Arkansas Flag and Banner. Since then, it’s morphed into flagandbanner.com with sales nearing four million.
I started by selling flags door to door then went to telemarketing, next mail order and catalog sales and today we rely heavily on the internet. In addition, I’ve navigated Flag and Banner through two recessions and two wars. When people find out I’m that woman who owns Arkansas Flag and Banner, they often say, ”Oh I’ve heard about you” and began asking me business advice.
I amaze even myself with all the knowledge I’ve gained. If you call me for advice, you will not be given text book answers or theory. But you will be given candid advice from my real world experience. Be prepared for the truth, it’s not always easy to hear.
For instance, you may not want to hear this. In business, there are very few overnight successes. Starting and owning a business takes persistence, perseverance and patience. When I started Arkansas Flag and Banner, I supplemented my income by waitressing.
All while I pedaled my flags door to door. After nine years, the company had been to grow and solely support me. My first hire was a book keeper.
My first expansion was to begin the manufacturing of custom flags.The next decade ushered in desert storm war. Flags were scarce so a screen printing department was hardly built to meet consumer demands.
In addition to sales and manufacturing, Flag and Banner now has a purchasing, shipping, technology, marketing and call center department. I spearheaded each of their development.
My experience is deep and wide and my advice is free. I hope you’ll take advantage of this unique opportunity by calling or emailing me on today’s show. Before we start taking calls and emails, I want to introduce you to the people at the table. We have Tim Bo, our technician. Say hello Tim.
[0:02:34.5] TB: Hello Tim.
[0:02:35.9] KM: Today, I’m lucky because I have two guests today. Margaret Ellibee, fourth president of Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock, Arkansas and her student Maxi Dominguez. He’s an entrepreneur also. First, I’ll introduce you to Margaret Ellibee, I just love saying Margaret Ellibee.
A native of Wisconsin and a graduate of Iowa State University with a BA in science and agriculture education. Somehow in 1983 and lucky for us Kansans. Margaret landed in Stuttgart Arkansas, Duck capital of the world and home of Riceland Rice, teaching agriculture to high school students.
[0:03:16.8] ME: Yes ma’am.
[0:03:18.1] KM: Three years later, Margaret moved the Fayetteville and enrolled in the University of Arkansas where she earned her Master’s. Following her bliss, she returned to Iowa and worked in the Department of Education as an agricultural education consultant. Always a learner, Margaret again returned to school, this time at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she received a doctorate in philosophy and educational administration.
In 2007, she put her accumulated degrees to work and entered the world of higher education as the vice president of Waukesha County Technical College in Piwaki Wisconsin.
[0:03:57.5] ME: Very good.
[0:03:58.3] KM: Thank you very much. This became the position that would springboard her to the presidency of Pulaski Technical College. You're very impressive. Next and with her today, Maxi Dominguez. Short for Maximus. I don’t know why you don’t go by Maximus but okay.
[0:04:14.3] MD: Maximilian everybody.
[0:04:15.4] KM: It’s Maximilian, okay, I like that even better.
[0:04:17.7] MD: It’s even longer.
[0:04:18.4] KM: I like that better. A student in Pulaski Technical College who recently opened Raiz apparel. A clothing line that utilizes Squarespace, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube and other internet platforms to display edu-photographs aimed at the specific demographics namely young people.
Dominguez says, “Through this brand and website, I am able to diversify my skillsets daily while diving into my passion.” Welcome to the table, Margaret Ellebee and Maxi Dominguez.
[0:04:55.0] ME: Thank you Kerry very much, this is great to be here.
[0:04:58.6] KM: Man, you all are impressive. This is an hour-long show, we could talk about a lot of stuff but first, I’m just going to hit you with it hard Margaret.
[0:05:04.5] ME: Okay, go ahead.
[0:05:06.3] KM: Why go to college?
[0:05:06.8] ME: Why go to college? Well, Kerry, that’s a great question and it’s a question that’s coming up nationally all over the country is the value of higher education and I think the value of going to college is this. You become a rounded individual. You have skills that you can build upon and those skills are both academic, they can be technical and that’s why we’re at Pulaski Tech.
Then there are life skills. If you have those three areas, the academic, the technical and the life skills, I truly believe whether you’re pursuing an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree or you’re going on to a master’s or PHD. You have those three components you can succeed pretty much at anything.
[0:05:55.2] KM: I think that’s well said.
[0:05:56.9] ME: Thank you.
[0:05:57.6] KM: Academic technical, hence the name Pulaski Technical and life skills.
[0:06:02.1] ME: And life skills.
[0:06:02.8] KM: We want to come back and talk to Maxi. Maxi Dominguez, founder of Raiz apparel, an online shopping store but before we do, let’s take a break to tell people you’re listening to Up in your business with Kerry McCoy on KABF. This is a mentoring show for small business owners or for those just starting their careers.
My guests today are Margarete Ellibee, president of Pulaski technical college and her student and recent entrepreneur Maxi Dominguez, founder of Raiz, did I say it right?
[0:06:31.4] MD: Raiz apparel.
[0:06:34.7] KM: There’s a lot we could talk about today, we could talk about Margaret Ellibee and her interesting career in academics and agriculture, we could talk about Maxi Dominguez and his interesting new career in e commerce and being a student at Pulaski Tech.
We could talk about the future of Pulaski Technical College and what role it plays in our young people, current opportunities for young people, continuing your education which I have done and even agriculture in Arkansas because you are in depth about that.
But let’s first start with what do you see for young people getting out of college today?
[0:07:05.4] ME: Well, I see great opportunity.
[0:07:08.5] KM: You do?
[0:07:08.0] ME: Yes ma’am, I truly believe, if you have a very good college education and I’ll go back to Pulaski Tech. We’re very fortunate to have Pulaski Tech in Central Arkansas, we have close to 7,000 students and I think –
[0:07:21.4] KM: I thought you had 10,000 students?
[0:07:23.9] ME: No, not even long, we have 7,000 and I think with our graduates and with our students, they achieve their associate degrees or they get a certificate and what that does for them is again, give those essential skills that they need, whether that is in career they’re pursuing, a job they currently have or they need those skills to transition on to a four year institution.
[0:07:45.8] KM: Or they just need to mature, I was not very mature when I graduated from high school. I’m still not very mature but really, I was 17 when I graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, I mean, some people just need a few more years to mature.
[0:07:59.0] ME: Sure.
[0:07:59.7] KM: Which plays into your life skills.
[0:08:00.8] ME: Yes, again, the great part of a technical college is the fact that we have, for the majority, none traditional students.
[0:08:09.8] KM: Is that right?
[0:08:10.8] ME: Like yourself Kerry.
[0:08:10.7] KM: That’s me.
[0:08:12.1] ME: Our average age is 29. Many of our students, they’ll graduate from high school or they go off into the world to work and they didn’t know what they’re going to be doing and get on a career path and then some don’t. If it’s Kerry, some don’t.
[0:08:29.0] KM: Right.
[0:08:30.3] ME: Then what happens is they’ll find their way to Pulaski Tech and they get a great education, we get them on a career path, a degree plan in an area that they have a passion for. Maxi and I were talking about that coming over in the car is you get them on that career path and that career path will allow them to go back in to business and hopefully a higher rate of pay, get them on a track that they can achieve more in that pathway, that career pathway.
They’re always moving up the ladder in that business or they can go on to higher education or they can do both.
[0:09:11.0] KM: Yeah.
[0:09:12.7] ME: If a student, an individual, Arkansan can get through Pulaski Tech and have that opportunity and then have those three options for them to pursue, that success for them, it’s success for what they’re going in to.
[0:09:28.3] KM: Instead, what their options were again?
[0:09:30.7] ME: Those three options are, they can go right into the world of work, get a job and usually at a higher wage.
[0:09:39.1] KM: Because they got a degree or.
[0:09:39.8] ME: Because they got a degree or certificate, it’s higher than a high school degree so they can do that, they can go on to higher education.
[0:09:47.7] KM: Okay.
[0:09:49.0] ME: Many of our students are university transfer.
[0:09:51.7] KM: Right.
[0:09:51.5] ME: They go to Pulaski Tech then they go to UALR or UCA and they finish that four year degree in two years at those institutions.
[0:09:59.6] KM: Two years at both of them?
[0:10:00.7] ME: Two years at both so it’s four.
[0:10:02.2] KM: Two years at yours and then two years at U of A.
[0:10:04.3] ME: Yup, yes ma’am. And then, the third one is that they can do both.
[0:10:10.5] KM: They can go on and get their degree and then go on and get even a better job hopefully.
[0:10:13.9] ME: And get a better job. What we see –
[0:10:17.1] KM: It doesn’t bother you when people come two years over to you and then go two years over the other school?
[0:10:19.8] ME: No ma’am.
[0:10:20.7]KM: I always wondered about that.
[0:10:22.1] ME: I think it’s absolutely wonderful because they know what they want to do, they no way want to improve their lives and if that happens, they’re improving probably their family lives and they’re improving themselves as employees wherever they work.
[0:10:36.1]KM: And they’re finding their passion.
[0:10:37.6] ME: that’s exactly what we need to do.
[0:10:38.8]KM: Maxi, in the opening statement, I said about you and I quote, what you said on your website because I went to your website which we’re going to talk about, that you said that through this brand and your website, I am able to diversify my skillsets daily while diving into my passion, pull the mic up to you and tell me what diving into your passion means?
[0:11:00.7]MD: Well my passions ultimately are my outlets, I believe that you know, we gave ourselves reasons to live and that’s all that genuinely matters in our lives. To me, in a simple word, that’s passion. We all have the ability to dream, to think big and my passion is –
[0:11:18.0] KM: Yeah.
[0:11:18.4] MD: What I am doing at Raiz and I chose it because it was –
[0:11:21.4] KM: What does that even mean raiz? Explain the name of your apparel.
[0:11:25.0] MD: Okay, Raiz is a Spanish word, it means root and/or origins and I took that, I chose that word for one because it correlates to my culture where I’m from, I’m from Argentina, my first language is Spanish and that was just one of the many ways that I could just carry on my culture along as I expose myself to new passions, to other creatives, to other beautiful things out there and that’s how my passion –
[0:11:51.5] KM: Did you know that when you went to Pulaski Tech that you were already creative and that you wanted to go to Pulaski Tech because you were creative and what is your degree at Pulaski Tech?
[0:12:00.0] MD: Entrepreneurship.
[0:12:01.2] KM: Is that a degree?
[0:12:02.3] ME: Yes.
[0:12:02.6] KM: Am I in the book? Am I in the entrepreneurship book?
[0:12:06.1] ME: Yeah, sure.
[0:12:06.4] KM: Well I’m in one of them.
[0:12:07.1] ME: Yeah.
[0:12:08.5] KM: Because I’m an entrepreneur.
[0:12:11.6] ME: You are, you're a great entrepreneur.
[0:12:13.9] KM: That is a great, I didn’t even know that that was really a course you can be.
[0:12:20.3] MD: I chose just simply of just how great it was.
[0:12:21.4] KM: Is it a two year course? Then if you want, you can go on to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and pair it with what?
[0:12:31.7] ME: You can go into business I’m sure, number of options. That’s the other great thing. Maxi is using his entrepreneurship with his clothing line and what he’s doing with all his social media and he’s one great example and we have many other examples that those students can go on to AULR for example.
[0:12:51.9] KM: It didn’t hurt your credit debt, what’s considered graduating from Pulaski Tech?
[0:12:56.4] ME: Graduating can be a two year degree.
[0:12:59.7] KM: That’s considered as a graduation for accreditation.
[0:13:01.3] ME: Yes.
[0:13:01.8] KM: Okay, I didn’t know that.
[0:13:02.4] ME: Yeah, as well as certificates, all of that. We have a great opportunity to impact a student’s life very quickly, quality curriculum with great experiences and you mailed all of that with their creativity and again, Maxi’s a great example of this, he has just this abundant creativity.
[0:13:24.9] KM: I went to your website. I know, I went to your website and you really do target towards young people.
[0:13:29.6] MD: Definitely.
[0:13:31.4] KM: Because I don’t even know what’s it say over there Maxi? It says, “shred, you have a khaki T shirt.”
[0:13:37.6] MD: Shred fast, die hard.
[0:13:39.1] KM: What does that even mean?
[0:13:42.5] MD: Okay.
[0:13:42.5] KM: That’s not my clothing line.
[0:13:44.7] MD: That totally correlates just again, one of the things I have influenced me, skateboarding. I grew up in the skateboarding culture, it’s taught me about art –
[0:13:56.5] KM: What’s shredding?
[0:13:57.4] MD: Shredding, it’s a slang word of kind of like just skateboarding, you know.
[0:14:01.8] KM: Okay, shred it. I guess it means like shred it.
[0:14:04.8] MD: Shred fast kind of like skate fast and die hard.
[0:14:07.8] KM: I love that. You go to school full time and you work full time on your website?
[0:14:11.8] MD: Okay –
[0:14:13.7] KM: How do you break up your day?
[0:14:14.3] MD: Okay, well I’m currently enrolled at Pulaski, I haven’t gone the past two semesters for very good reasons, business reasons. I am about a year away from getting my major in business entrepreneurship but I am currently taking a break just to kind of lay out my foundations and form my brand and then taking the next big step I have to take and then once I get to that point and get that little bit of opening where I can genuinely concentrate at school, that’s when I’m going to go there.
[0:14:45.1] KM: You know, I bet that’s true for entrepreneurs, they go to school for entrepreneurship, there are opportunities everywhere and it’s hard to stay focused, that was exactly the problem that I had in school so I ended up having to go back to school.
Because there were just things I needed to learn about marketing.
[0:15:00.3] MD: That’s the beautiful part, you know, you can always go back in college and Pulaski Tech has you know, been that great school where I don’t feel like being pressured to go back all the time, they understand where I’m coming from and because of that, I’m able to manage my company and school and all this other things I want to accomplish in my life.
[0:15:19.0] KM: I think Margaret’s heart really is in education and she wants the best for everybody.
[0:15:22.9] ME: Well, again, I think we’re very fortunate to have the faculty and staff that we do at Pulaski Tech and April Hern has been one of Maxi’s faculty members. You know, in April is a great example of very passionate instructor.
[0:15:42.5] KM: Mentor.
[0:15:42.7] ME: Mentor, knows the content, knows the real-world content and when students come to her and ask questions, they can get that theoretical knowledge but they get the real world knowledge and I think that can be said for all of our faculty at Pulaski Tech.
That leads to very strong substantive relationships between our faculty and our college with our students. Maxi’s not enrolled at this semester but he’s coming back because I’m going to make him go across graduation. Because he’s that talented and again, with a nontraditional student like Maxi.
We have students jobbing in and jobbing out of education and that’s one of the great functions of technical colleges.
[0:16:33.2] KM: I took classes ar Pulaski Tech, I was learning word perfect. I know, can really tell on myself, word perfect out there. I wondered, I know that was nice to get my tuition and my money for your income statement but I wondered if people like me who are in the city that come in and out of school like I do who just take a specific course because they just want to learn a specific piece of software.
If it hurts your accreditation because you’re considered a drop out or –
[0:17:03.8] ME: No, that again, part of our mission at Pulaski Tech in a technical college is we can offer credit courses which Maxi has been in and that’s working your way toward a degree and then non-credit Our none credit courses, if I wanted to come in and take word or learn the latest in Instagram, we have those nine credit and I can sign up for those and culinary right now is very popular with us for none credit.
[0:17:31.4] KM: I know you didn’t put your culinary school in Downtown Little Rock, I’m a little upset about that. That was a little bit of a stinker out there.
[0:17:39.9] ME: That was a bit of history for Pulaski Tech, that occurred before I arrived. It did.
[0:17:47.1] KM: Is it that long ago already because you’ve been here four years.
[0:17:49.5] ME: I’m on my fourth year, at the end of my almost fourth year.
[0:17:51.9] KM: It was four years ago?
[0:17:53.0] ME: I think it was at least six years ago, you made the right decision though by leaving it out there? There’s more population out there where you are. I think the location where we’re at right now serves our students very well, we’re very fortunate in having a tremendous staff out there and we’re very fortunate in getting our community groups involved with our culinary institute.
We just hosted the Little Rock Chamber for very big event in November. We have public lunches and dinners there that anybody can come to during the semester. We have numerous community groups.
[0:18:33.4] KM: Is that your biggest college or is it – I’m not sure how you say this, is it a college within a – you know.
[0:18:37.7] ME: Our program? Biggest division of program?
[0:18:40.3] KM: Is that your biggest one or would you say it’s agriculture or –
[0:18:43.4] ME: We don’t have any AG programs.
[0:18:44.7] KM: I can’t believe that with your background.
[0:18:45.8] ME: I’m sorry. Our culinary program is large, our business program, our business division is very large, health –
[0:18:54.0] KM: What do you mean? Nurses?
[0:18:55.7] ME: Yes. We have a rage of health programs ranging from LPN to Rad tech to occupational therapy, all of it.
[0:19:06.5] KM: That is a great industry.
[0:19:07.5] ME: We’ll be starting.
[0:19:07.8] KM: What do you think is the best industry for kids to go into right now, I heard they got a shortage of engineers.
[0:19:11.8] ME: Well, it’s really all over the board, if students choose to go into a science technology engineering math, advanced manufacturing, our business community with advanced manufacturing here in Central Arkansas.
[0:19:27.3] KM: People don’t realize the manufacturing is coming back to United states.
[0:19:29.8] ME: It is.
[0:19:30.4] KM: I know, the exporting is one of our biggest industries.
[0:19:34.1] ME: We have that demand where again, very fortunate that we have the Tech park starting in downtown so we’re getting –
[0:19:39.7] KM: What? Tell me about that, what’s that?
[0:19:41.3] ME: Well, our Tech park in Downtown Little Rock, as well as the innovation hub in North Little Rock are both areas where technologically related businesses and new businesses that could be like Maxi’s can come, start their business and integrate themselves.
[0:19:58.5] KM: Where is that Tech park?
[0:19:59.6] ME: Tech park is starting on Main Street in Little Rock.
[0:20:04.5] KM: Main and what?
[0:20:05.3] ME: We’ve got to get you out more.
[0:20:08.2] MD: Like we’re on Main Street right now.
[0:20:10.1] ME: Yeah, it’s all part of the Main Street and Little Rock. I knew you were going to ask me that.
[0:20:16.4] KM: Okay, never mind. Maxi, what was the hardest part about starting your job?
[0:20:22.4] MD: I think, honestly.
[0:20:23.3] KM: Money?
[0:20:24.5] MD: Yeah, always but honestly, probably finding the right coworkers and teammates.
[0:20:32.0] KM: You have workers? You have employees?
[0:20:36.3] MD: Well I don’t like to call them employees.
[0:20:36.7] KM: Is that your friend that called in?
[0:20:37.7] MD: I don’t like to call them employees, I like to call them my team members but they’re practically like family.
[0:20:41.7] KM: So hip.
[0:20:44.2] MD: I am the creative director and then my buddy Kurt Lansford, he’s our photographer for the brand.
[0:20:49.5] KM: Is that who, are all the photographs on your website original?
[0:20:54.6] MD: yes.
[0:20:55.7] KM: He is excellent.
[0:20:56.7] MD: He’s amazing.
[0:20:57.7] KM: I thought they were from, I thought you stole them from the professional photographer.
[0:21:01.4] MD: No, he travels with us when we go to out of state events, local events.
[0:21:05.7] KM: What’s an out of state event you would go to?
[0:21:08.7] MD: For example in March, I have two out of state events possibly. South by Southwest in Austin Texas.
[0:21:15.9] KM: Is it a trade show where you try to sell your stuff?
[0:21:17.8] MD: Yeah, it’s a tradeshow but it’s also huge music festival with –
[0:21:23.0] KM: Do you setup booths and try to sell your T-shirts there? Like shred fast, die hard?
[0:21:27.4] MD: They will be shredding fast and dying hard.
[0:21:30.6] KM: I love that saying, I’m just going to say that to everybody in my office, “hey all shredding fast?”
[0:21:37.5] MD: Yeah, we’ll be out there and then I have Gena Denny, she is our marketing person, she’s in charge of what our next move is, she’s in charge of playing –
[0:21:51.1] KM: You got a good little business coming.
[0:21:53.1] MD: I love my team, Raiz is –
[0:21:55.8] KM: You start it by yourself, tell us how you started, you started by yourself because I can’t imagine starting a business today.
[0:22:00.6] MD: I started by myself simply –
[0:22:03.2] KM: At home, at your TV? On your computer?
[0:22:06.8] MD: It was totally DIY which is do it yourself. I taught myself how to sew and in 2013 when I started my brand, at that moment, pocket T shirts with the funky little prints were extremely popular and I just quit my job at that point at a nursing home and it just came to my head like, “I want to do something for myself, I want to create something” and I saw my niece one day seeing at her house, just came to visit and it all just came together to me.
I was like, “all right, it can’t be that hard to make a little square shape print a pocket” and sewed it on to a T shirt. My first one was horrible. I did it by hand.
[0:22:51.8] KM: Because T shirts are stretchy.
[0:22:54.0] MD: Yeah, I did it by hand, not even a sewing machine, I just said, “here’s some needle and thread and here I go.” That’s how it honestly started.
[0:23:02.0] KM: You know, men used to always be tailors, you don’t see a lot of men sewing these days but they’re great at it.
[0:23:08.0] MD: I love it.
[0:23:07.4] ME: We got one sitting right here.
[0:23:08.1] KM: Do you love it?
[0:23:09.6] MD: Yeah, it’s fun, it’s a good outlet.
[0:23:11.8] KM: But you buy T shirts? And do you screen print them yourself?
[0:23:16.1] MD: Yes, I’m actually a screen printer, I’ve been a screen printer for about two years and I do –
[0:23:20.5] KM: You do it by hand or with a machine?
[0:23:23.6] MD: I mean, technically it’s a machine.
[0:23:24.8] KM: You got one?
[0:23:26.5] MD: I got my little setup and we print our own shirts, we also –
[0:23:32.9] KM: Who comes up with the slogans?
[0:23:34.9] MD: The slogans, well Stay True is the brand slogan, I came up with that and in terms of designs and stuff like that, I work with other illustrators or artist themselves because I’m not the perfect drawer but I come up with a creative concepts and then I partner up with the perfect artist or illustrator and we make it happen.
[0:23:57.0] KM: Then you make a print and you shoot it on your screen? Expose it?
[0:24:02.0] MD: Then we go into production and then –
[0:24:04.0] KM: Then you print them up? You print them up as a bunch of it at one time or do you print like screen printing does or do you one and two?
[0:24:12.1] MD: Yes, actually, that’s one of the biggest points of rise. All of our apparel and all of our lines are extremely limited edition, we do a very limited stock of them and our purpose of doing that is we’re creating cold share, we want to sell something more than just threads and cotton.
[0:24:30.9] ME: Girl, isn’t he cool? I just, it just makes me proud.
[0:24:37.0] KM: That’s shredding it.
[0:24:37.2] MD: We want something more. I’m shredding out here.
[0:24:40.8] KM: All right, you’re listening to Maxi, founder of Raiz Apparel. This is up in your business with Kerry McCoy on KABF, it’s a mentoring show for small business owners and for those just starting their careers.
You're a really hip dude, what do you want to do next? I’m sorry, I’m going to talk to you in a moment.
[0:25:00.2] ME: He’s the star.
[0:25:00.9] KM: He is, he stole the show from us.
[0:25:03.2] ME: That is fine.
[0:25:04.3] MD: I have a new big idea that I am about to venture into, it’s another business idea and I think when 2017, it will be up and running.
[0:25:16.5] KM: Is it a web based?
[0:25:18.2] MD: No, this is actually going to be more of a service. Since we already do in house manufacturing and branding and marketing.
[0:25:26.3] KM: You're talking about manufacturing of T shirts?
[0:25:28.7] MD: No, well more of screen printing. We provide that service.
[0:25:32.0] KM: Do you screen print on anything besides T shirts?
[0:25:34.1] MD: Anything you can imagine.
[0:25:35.3] KM: Could you screen print flags for me?
[0:25:37.9] MD: Let’s do business.
[0:25:39.9] KM: Screen printing because it’s too dirty.
[0:25:41.9] MD: It is very dirty.
[0:25:43.2] KM: I know, I took it down.
[0:25:45.5] MD: But somebody has to do it and I’m the man.
[0:25:47.9] KM: Well, it’s an art form.
[0:25:50.2] MD: It is an art form.
[0:25:51.2] KM: I’m not artistic. People think I am but I am not.
[0:25:54.0] MD: I think I was born artistic.
[0:25:55.2] KM: Look, you think I am too don’t you?
[0:25:56.7] ME: Yeah.
[0:25:57.2] KM: No, I’m not.
[0:25:58.1]ME: You’ve got great taste.
[0:25:58.9] KM: I just like clothes but I’m not artistic.
[0:26:00.2] ME: You’ve got great taste.
[0:26:01.6] MD: Great fashion taste, yeah.
[0:26:02.9] KM: Thank you all very much, I was begging for that compliment. So what is the largest thing you’ll screen print? Because my smallest flag is a three by five foot flag.
[0:26:15.0] MD: I can print –
[0:26:16.5] KM: T-shirts are small.
[0:26:18.5] MD: And what size did you need?
[0:26:20.4] KM: Three by five feet. I bet that’s too big.
[0:26:22.6] MD: I make that, I will personally make you a screen for that.
[0:26:25.0] KM: I probably have one, I’ll give you.
[0:26:26.6] MD: Perfect.
[0:26:27.2] KM: I probably have a bunch of screens to give you actually but they’re probably all warped.
[0:26:31.1] MD: Hey, well make it happen it’s all right.
[0:26:32.6] KM: There we go and they’re made out of aluminum but back when I first started screen printing you made screens out of wood. Are you making your screens out of wood?
[0:26:38.5] MD: Oh no, they’re aluminum.
[0:26:39.5] KM: Yeah, I know we make them out of aluminum, they don’t warp but they would get all old. For people listening they don’t understand this. Screens are like a screen door and you push through ink through them and you block out the area that you don’t want the ink to go through and you open up the area that you do want the ink to go through. It’s really like a screen door and you just push the ink through onto your t-shirts and it makes this print. It’s a nice art form. It’s one of the oldest art forms.
[0:27:06.7] MD: Silk screening, yeah, so it’s been around for the longest time.
[0:27:10.3] KM: Well Margaret I’m going to talk to you I’m sorry I keep talking to him. Let me see I’ve got some questions for you. Oh I know one, this is the hardest one for me. Back in college when you come out of school you’re scared to death about the college you pick is going to be critical to the rest of your life. If you don’t pick the right one your whole future is going to be ruined because you just put all these pressures on yourself.
[0:27:39.2] ME: It might be delayed a little bit but –
[0:27:40.6] KM: You put all these pressures around yourself. I went through it. My children went through it, what can you say to people when they are about to pick your college?
[0:27:48.6] ME: Well I think the best thing and looking back on my experience and some of our students and friends and family, I think you have to educate yourself. Do that web search really well –
[0:28:02.0] KM: You know how my daughter and I picked the colleges?
[0:28:04.6] ME: Oh how did you do it?
[0:28:06.0] KM: How many, the girl-boy ratio.
[0:28:11.6] ME: Let me talk about that, I am here to help you.
[0:28:14.3] KM: She’s listening. She’s going, “That’s true” we do it. I’d say, “Oh my you don’t want to go to that school there are 80 girls and 20 boys” she’d go, “Mom”.
[0:28:23.6] ME: It’s a little bit more than that.
[0:28:26.0] KM: Did I say that backwards? 80 girls and 20 boys, yeah we don’t like those.
[0:28:29.4] ME: But it’s figuring out, looking at those schools online and knowing what your passion is and we’ve talked about that this afternoon but if you don’t know then you go to that college and you take that visit and you go to an adviser. You get a feel and I’m a very contextual learner so I always have to see and I have to interact and I think with many of our students, they are the same learning style and I think if you can go and see and interact with someone and if they can’t, if students can’t go then at least call and call an adviser.
And say, “Here’s what I’m thinking” and at Pulaski Tech for example students can come. We can assess them for their career aspirations and what their passions are and what they really like to do and then put them into career pathway, a degree plan that matches that passion and I think again, looking across the higher education across this country certainly at Pulaski Tech, what we’re trying to do is individualize that degree plan and that passion for great successful educational experience for the student.
And if you can match that up, if a college can match that up with Maxie or Carrie or Margaret then that student has a great chance of succeeding and then once that student is there then it’s the college’s responsibility to make sure that we have the best faculty that are touch stones for that student, that know that student by name, knows what that student is doing and if they’ve missed class for a week then I can call Maxie up and say, “Maxie what’s going on?”
[0:30:19.5] KM: Well how do you do that? You have 7,000 students. How can you possibly do that?
[0:30:22.7] ME: We have great faculty and staff who make an effort to know our students –
[0:30:29.1] KM: Well what about University of Arkansas Little Rock, they’ve got 40,000 students.
[0:30:33.5] ME: I think they probably try do the same thing and I think where you see college and universities and it doesn’t have to be the university or the college as a whole but as an individual faculty member and instructor of that classroom, this is just Margaret’s opinion, it’s my responsibility to know my students and know what triggers their passion in class, what their challenges are both in class and out of class and when I have that familiarity, then I can make that bound with my students and the success of my students then goes up.
[0:31:11.2] KM: So you said Pulaski Tech will help a student in their business success if they want to go be an entrepreneur by academics, by technical and by life skills. So if you’re not just mature enough and you don’t know what to do, go to college.
[0:31:29.5] ME: Well what we can do yes.
[0:31:31.2] KM: I like the idea of taking a year or two off and think going to college.
[0:31:34.7] ME: Yeah and that many –
[0:31:36.4] KM: What do they call that year –
[0:31:39.5] ME: I knew you were going to say that.
[0:31:40.5] KM: Yeah, what do they call that year? Tim you skip leap year, no that’s not it.
[0:31:46.3] TB: Let’s just call it leap year. I like that.
[0:31:50.5] KM: Yeah, what is that year? Gap year, yehey Kerry.
[0:31:55.0] ME: Gap year and I know that’s becoming very popular.
[0:31:57.9] KM: I try to get my kids to do that. If you want your kids to do something, just tell me to do the opposite because if I say, “Take a gap year, find out who you are and what you want to do” they’re like, “Nope” straight to college.
[0:32:07.7] ME: Again I think that depends on where that student is on that particular point. For example, I had a great agriculture teacher and he came to our middle school in beginning 8th grade and presented to the class and I thought this is what I want to do and it matched up with my interest at home.
[0:32:34.5] KM: Did you grow up on a farm?
[0:32:35.9] ME: No I grew up in the city and so I was fortunate to have that and that sparked my passion and –
[0:32:43.6] KM: A teacher can make or break your decision. My guess for my daughter was to go to school to be a doctor and she got a terrible biology teacher and she completely changed the course.
[0:32:52.7] ME: Well that’s unfortunate but it can certainly influence what you do, sure.
[0:33:00.1] KM: It really can, there’s mentors all over. You know I’m reading this current – I know this guy but I am always reading a self-help book or listening to one on the tape and it’s Eckhart Tolle, you know who that guy is? He’s this spiritual kind of self-help guy and he says “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for you evolution”. I wish someone had told me that one when I was young because I think it would have taken the stress off of everybody’s expectations that they put on you about the path that you should take because people often ask me, “How do you end up in the flag business?” and I always say it’s a series of bad luck.
[0:33:41.9] ME: But it was meant to be. Yeah it was meant to be.
[0:33:47.0] KM: But that’s what he’s saying, yes so if you just go ahead and kind of say, “You know I’m floundering but I’ll just keep floundering on a positive direction and then there will be paths that will lead me to a certain directions” and then you don’t have to feel like every day you have to make the perfect decision for your life because life will give you, as he says life will give you the experience that is most helpful for you to reach your destination. I love that. What’s the difference between a two year college and a university?
[0:34:14.2] ME: Two year college, it could be a community college or a technical. Two year college offers an associate degree so that’s a two year degree, a technical college in our case we have associate degrees and certificates. Four year institution or university has bachelor’s degrees and then they can certainly build upon that and have master’s degrees and doctorates. So there’s a distinct difference between the two just depends –
[0:34:49.1] KM: Doctorate, you can get a doctorate at a college.
[0:34:51.9] ME: You could but at a two year college. If it’s a community college or a technical college you could not.
[0:34:58.9] KM: So I went to a one year college and no certificate. Guess what I went in Maxi? Fashion merchandising.
[0:35:05.7] MD: Ooh how was that?
[0:35:06.9] KM: I know right? You and I were kindred souls. Maxi what is a defining moment when you said “I am going to launch my own apparel website”? Is there one thing that you just woke up well? You saw your little sister sewing.
[0:35:20.9] MD: My first eBay sale.
[0:35:23.0] KM: Oh really?
[0:35:24.3] MD: I was so shy and so scared of what the reaction of my local community would be, just judge me, I fear they’d judge me at that point. I was still young and that was a big thing about me but –
[0:35:40.7] KM: How young were you?
[0:35:43.2] MD: Well I was probably 18 I think.
[0:35:45.5] KM: Oh my gosh, you were a born entrepreneur. I thought I was young when I started. I was 21 when I started Flag and Banner but you were 18? Was it your sewn shirt that you made at 18 and you put it on eBay?
[0:36:00.2] MD: Yeah because I was too afraid to put it out here locally in public.
[0:36:03.9] KM: So you didn’t have a website. You just made a product and you put in on eBay, was that hard to do?
[0:36:07.7] MD: To put it on there?
[0:36:09.5] KM: Everybody is doing it so it must not be.
[0:36:12.1] MD: No, exactly and literally within a week I got my first order from Kentucky or someone’s state.
[0:36:19.5] KM: And then how did you keep it going?
[0:36:21.5] MD: Well I just needed that one sale to manifest enough courage to just be like, “All right, let’s do this” I just needed that one sale –
[0:36:28.1] KM: So what does do this mean?
[0:36:29.3] MD: Do this like that same day that I got that first order in through eBay I made an Instagram account, followed all my friends and local people around here and pretty much I just put it out there like, “Hey” –
[0:36:45.4] KM: So you put a copy of the product on Instagram and said “this is $22” or however much it is.
[0:36:50.4] MD: Yeah and at that moment I was sewing t-shirts for $10 or whatever just to get them out there.
[0:36:55.8] KM: And how many orders did you get?
[0:36:57.7] MD: I got plenty of orders within the first week –
[0:37:00.0] KM: From just friends and family on Instagram.
[0:37:02.5] MD: Yes and then from there a couple of months later I got invited to vend out my first local show and –
[0:37:09.8] KM: What’s the local show?
[0:37:11.4] MD: Well you have a lot of –
[0:37:13.0] KM: A band local show or?
[0:37:14.2] MD: Bands or rappers, you have a lot of upcoming artists who are constantly doing great things and –
[0:37:19.4] KM: You just went out there and mixed it up and socialized.
[0:37:21.3] MD: Right, I like to build community and that is part of just building culture and teaming up with other artists and creatives like that is amazing.
[0:37:28.3] KM: So you took your Instagrams, you did good, you started selling them, did you deliver them by hand? Did you ship them?
[0:37:35.4] MD: At first if it was a local order which most of them at that for a while they were. I just personally meet up with people and I love that. Honestly I still wish I could do that until this day but –
[0:37:48.1] KM: But now how do you deliver your stuff?
[0:37:50.4] MD: Through the mail.
[0:37:51.4] KM: Do you take it down there?
[0:37:52.3] MD: Yeah, I usually go to the post office just have a couple of days out of the week that come in with my little duffle bag and –
[0:37:59.3] KM: So you printed up t-shirts and went to band shows and sold them pretty much at band shows, are all you doing is t-shirts?
[0:38:07.4] MD: No, Raiz at this point is a lifestyle brand, we do women’s fashion, men’s fashion, accessories –
[0:38:17.4] KM: Well you don’t make it in your accessories so you’re now a reseller.
[0:38:21.0] MD: Well accessories as in hats and stuff like that, some of them we do yes.
[0:38:25.8] KM: Got you, yes. So you are putting your brand on. So mostly it’s putting your slogans and your inspirations, branding. It’s mostly branding. That’s really cool. You got plans for a big store?
[0:38:39.6] MD: Yeah, I would love a brick and mortar. Currently I don’t know when I would like to get to that point but I am thinking that I want to focus locally first. That’s my big thing, until I feel like I’ve made the impact I want to make here. I would like to honestly move to a bigger city.
[0:39:01.0] KM: What? Don’t you leave us.
[0:39:03.4] MD: No, I want to do wonderful things in the community but once I’ve built that relationship with everybody here who’s helped me get to where I am today I’ve got to expand out. I’ve got a message I want to put out to the world.
[0:39:16.9] KM: Well I’ll tell you sticks and bricks are expensive to maintain. I don’t know, Pulaski Tech, Margaret, can you tell me that the University of Arkansas and you have now joined forces?
[0:39:28.6] ME: Yes, we will be joining in to the University of Arkansas system which we’re very excited about and with this, it will allow our students I think greater access to very subsitive articulation agreements.
[0:39:44.9] KM: What does that even mean?
[0:39:46.0] ME: Well it’s really easy, it means that their program to study at Pulaski Tech will align directly with their program to study at University of Arkansas college –
[0:39:58.6] KM: So they can do two years with you and transfer more.
[0:40:00.3] ME: Yeah, easy and then they don’t have to repeat anything once they get to four year institution because that is an articulation agreement.
[0:40:04.6] KM: So it wasn’t exactly you’re saying, articulation. It should be a curriculum agreement.
[0:40:11.3] ME: It is. That’s what it is Kerry. It is totally in a curriculum because we have our curriculum –
[0:40:16.1] KM: Then why don’t they use that word?
[0:40:17.4] ME: Well we’ll use it from now on, so that’s very good for our students and we’re thrilled about that. We’ll have some cost savings because we are joining a larger system and so that would be good for the college –
[0:40:33.4] KM: We’re running out of time. What about when kids graduate, how do you help them find placement? We shouldn’t call them kids, young adults.
[0:40:41.6] ME: Young adults. Our young adults and our adults. What we do and again it can be the faculty member in the classroom, they have direct ties to business and industry. So many times students can get that job interview directly through a faculty member. We have a website that students go through that we’ve just put together –
[0:41:05.6] KM: So I could post job openings on your website? I’ve got one right now.
[0:41:09.7] ME: Yes, give it to me or send me an email and we can post it. So there are those mechanisms where students can begin to look for jobs and then we’re connected with state websites –
[0:41:22.6] KM: You know the one gripe I have about colleges? They don’t teach children to take showers and wear decent clothes or cover their food in the microwave.
[0:41:31.6] ME: Well –
[0:41:32.8] KM: Their parents should be doing that but they come in so grungy. I’m like, “Hey this is not college. You have to dress appropriately.”
[0:41:40.8] ME: Again I guess I’m biased because I am president but that’s where the life skills that we teach at Pulaski Tech whether it’s in our speech class and again, our faculty and speech are great and how you make that eye contact, how you present yourself, how you shake a hand, all of that is great for students.
[0:42:01.2] KM: Good job. So I think I love to learn, I am not very good with the classroom but I do love to learn and I have gone back continuing my education. I think everybody should. I think that is one of the reasons that people are having a hard time at 50 and 60 finding jobs because the jobs they were skilled at are no longer there. It’s a new set of jobs and they need to go back and Pulaski Tech is the perfect place to go back and learn about computers and marketing, anything.
I mean I was 40 years old and I learned how to turn the computer on. Yeah, on an internet coming that sells over a million dollars a year on a shopping cart.
[0:42:35.5] ME: Look at what you’ve done? Great success.
[0:42:36.5] KM: That’s what I am telling everybody else. They need to get out there and realign some stuff and it’s going to change again in the last 10 years. So when do I get to go for free? What age?
[0:42:47.6] ME: I think it’s 60 or 62. Well talk.
[0:42:53.0] KM: Perfect. So do you all have anything to say to any budding entrepreneurs out there? You probably do, I’m sorry go ahead.
[0:43:05.6] MD: Well really what I would say to everybody is just don’t stop. Dream big, dream as big as you can and just always remember that it’s always possible. Nothing is impossible.
[0:43:19.3] KM: Did you read what I wrote to ask you about because you played right into that. People will think that we rehearsed this. Howard Schultz from the chairman of Starbucks coffee gives a tip on how to be successful and I love watching biographies of people and one of his top 10 ways to be successful is he says, “Dream big and then dream even bigger”.
[0:43:43.9] MD: Don’t stop.
[0:43:44.7] KM: And the other one was don’t ever stop did you watch it?
[0:43:48.6] MD: No.
[0:43:49.6] KM: Well it must be true. So we got a few minutes, talk about agriculture.
[0:43:54.7] ME: Oh gosh.
[0:43:55.1] KM: Are they the top industry in Arkansas?
[0:43:57.4] ME: It is, I have not been in the agriculture industry for a long, long time but you look at our timber industry in the state and certainly –
[0:44:07.1] KM: How about blackberries?
[0:44:08.9] ME: I don’t, I know we have a growing fruit production in Northwest Arkansas –
[0:44:14.7] KM: Dr. John Clark was one of my son’s mentors. My son is a horticulturist and he is a renowned blackberry breeder and the reason you can get blackberries today in the grocery store because you used to only be able to get them on the side of the road because they were so fragile and the reason you can get them today in grocery store and that they are tough enough to ship and travel and be in grocery stores is because of the University of Arkansas breeder Dr. John Clark and Clark is still in Arkansas.
[0:44:39.8] ME: That is tremendous.
[0:44:40.5] KM: I wouldn’t have known that.
[0:44:41.6] ME: Well and you look at the apple production in the state and again what the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in their AG department has done with developing various apple varieties, certainly on rice production in the state and being an old Stuttgart girl it is tremendously important –
[0:45:02.8] KM: How did you ended up in Stuttgart?
[0:45:03.8] ME: There was a position open there and I was lucky enough to apply and have new –
[0:45:10.2] KM: You call that lucky, Stuttgart Arkansas.
[0:45:12.8] ME: Yes, great experience.
[0:45:14.4] KM: I’ve been to Stuttgart. There’s got some big mosquitoes down there.
[0:45:16.9] ME: If you can live through the mosquitoes you can live through anything.
[0:45:18.2] KM: That’s right, golly. Ain’t that the truth? Well this Dr. John Clark is now developing – he’s doing breeding. He was just in the newspaper about his wine grapes that he’s changing and doing and I know that Arkansas used to be known for apples and that we kind of died of. I think during the civil war. They died off and I have seen them in the grocery store some Arkansas apples are back.
[0:45:42.3] ME: When you look at our again, wine business industry in the state in the feta culture that again, University of Arkansas has led the way with and we are very diverse in the state agricultural.
[0:45:56.8] KM: I know right? It’s a big industry. So Margaret if every time you come on the show, you get a cigar and Maxi will like that. That cigar is for birthing your business.
[0:46:09.7] MD: Really?
[0:46:10.5] ME: My gosh, thank you.
[0:46:12.9] KM: And that cigar is for birthing a lot of children.
[0:46:18.3] ME: Well we provide the support for the traditional students who come in on high school, the non-traditional like Maxi, like you.
[0:46:29.6] KM: Like me to continuing education.
[0:46:30.7] ME: And they are the dreamers and we provide the structure for them and then they succeed.
[0:46:36.7] KM: They are lucky to have you and I’m so glad that they have you.
[0:46:40.4] ME: Well it’s a two-way street, we’re lucky to have them.
[0:46:42.0] MD: I generally was lucky to have Pulaski Tech.
[0:46:43.3] KM: That’s great. That cigar came from the Humidor Room at Colonial Wine and Spirits on Malcom Street in Little Rock Arkansas. You’re welcome. One of the great travesties of life is that wisdom is not transferable but it can be shared. Thank you to Margaret and Maxi for sharing your wisdom with us.
[0:47:00.8] ME: Thank you for having us.
[0:47:01.6] MD: Thank you.
[0:47:02.4] KM: So you can tweet, share your wisdom with the #sharewisdom. Thank you to my guest today, Margaret Ellibee, fourth president of Pulaski Technical College and her student, Maxi Dominguez, founder of Raiz Apparel, an online store. Next week our guest is going to be a father and son duo. Father Eric Hargett, an insurance entrepreneur and his son, Ryan Hargett who you all know this, recently built a business called Chef Shuttle.
[0:47:32.2] MD: Oh I love Chef Shuttle.
[0:47:33.8] KM: I know, he’s going to be on next week. I can’t wait to hear all about that. That’s a really interesting business. If you’ve got a really great entrepreneurial story that you would love to share, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio and your contact info to email@example.com. I had a question and it came in late. Let’s see what it is. Oh Margaret you got to have to answer this one. Well I think you have a minute to answer it. Being the president of a college, how do you manage the business side of education?
[0:48:04.8] ME: Oh that’s a challenge and you’ve got to have great fiduciary or the fiscal end of things. You have to have the legal things all down and you have to balance that with the education and then the heart. We have heart at Pulaski Tech and you have to be able to balance all of those and if you do that successfully and you’ve got great people, you have a successful college.
[0:48:30.8] KM: Yeah because running a college is a full time job. Now you’ve got to throw in all the other stuff. Do you ever sleep?
[0:48:35.7] ME: It’s a wonderful job to have.
[0:48:37.6] KM: Oh that’s good. If you’ve got a really great entrepreneurial story that you would love to share, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be in touch and finally to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me. If you think this program has been about you, you’re right but it’s also been about me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve learned or heard something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and then it, whatever it is will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I am Kerry McCoy, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:49:16.8] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Want to hear today’s program again or want someone else to benefit from it? Jot this down. Within 48 hours the podcast will be available at flagandbanner.com. Click the tab labeled “Radio Show”, there you’ll find today’s segments with links to resources you heard discussed on this program. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.