As a college student, Jordan Greenwald didn’t know he would become an entrepreneur. It wasn’t until an eye-opening study abroad trip to Spain that he realized he was destined to run his own company.
Jordan first came to the Dingman Center the fall semester of his sophomore year. He attended a Pitch Dingman session without a business idea, but was pretty confident that he could develop an algorithm to predict the stock market (which wasn’t exactly true). One of our most senior Entrepreneurs in Residence could tell Jordan was bluffing and politely told him to re-think his idea. Feeling a little embarrassed, Jordan didn’t think he would come back to the Dingman Center. It was a full year until he would go on to start the Entrepreneurship Connector Club also known as E-Connector, the revamped undergraduate entrepreneurship club.
The following semester, Jordan traveled to Spain leaving the club in the hands of his board members. While in Spain, Jordan spent a lot of time exploring the city on his own, delving into the culture, admiring the art and learning from the locals.
“It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak the language, I got the message.”
Jordan noticed that the hats everyone was wearing were dull, straightforward, and lacked serious design attention, something he had never quite picked up on before. He knew he could create something better and eventually decided to launch his progressive street wear brand, Meta Cartel. Upon landing back in the United States, Jordan immediately met with his accountant in New York to determine the next steps for launching his venture. Within one week, the LLC papers were filed and Meta Cartel was a legal business entity.
Jordan has faced many of the same trials that other first-time entrepreneurs face, including his first run of hats being printed incorrectly and losing a relationship with a manufacturer. In February 2015, Meta Cartel launched their first collection of three hats — all of which are now completely sold out.
After completing the Hatch stage of Fearless Founders and earning initial profit for the business, Jordan Greenwald almost didn’t apply for the Dingman Center’s summer incubator program, Terp Startup. He assumed he needed to get an internship, because that was his family’s expectation. To Jordan’s surprise, his parents encouraged him to apply to Terp Startup after learning more about the program. Drawn to the program by the working capital he needed as well as the office space, Jordan applied to Terp Startup on the last day and was accepted. Now, he is focused on final designs for a new line of hats to be released this fall. In the mean time, the final pieces of his last collection can be purchased at Cotton Duck Art & Apparel located on Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland. The company has also introduced art pieces in their product offerings, moving into contracted work such as an accent wall mural for a client in DC and a Martin Luther King art piece currently displayed in the Stamp Student Union Art Gallery.
Jordan cites the most difficult part of running Meta Cartel as being respected among his peers who are running tech companies. In workshops and networking sessions, he noticed that the questions he was asking were different than those of the other entrepreneurs. Rather than obsessing over metrics or pitching investors, Jordan is more focused on making his passion project a sustainable one. One of UMD’s student entrepreneurs that Jordan admires the most is Omar Goheer, founder of K. Sultana. (Read our coverage of K. Sultana HERE)
“Omar seems like he has a good balance between focusing on selling and being really passionate about your company. I think we need more of that.”
After graduating this December, Jordan will continue running Meta Cartel full-time in the hopes keeping up with his two entrepreneur brothers; one is the CEO of his own venture while the other sold his company. Coming from a competitive family of entrepreneurs and a being entrenched in the entrepreneurial community at UMD, he has this piece of advice to offer other students considering launching a venture:
“Do want you want in your heart. Don’t feel pressured to come up with the next big tech idea. We have enough of those. What we need are more companies that people are actually passionate about, and have a lot of pride in.”
To learn more about Meta Cartel, visit the website at http://metacartel.com/