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Senior Ethan Crowell Talks New Apparel Brand Business ‘Pyro’

December 07, 2022

The following article is from the UT Daily Beacon

Ethan Crowell, a UT senior, spends his free time productively — designing vintage graphics for his newly released online apparel brand, Pyro. Instead of creating memories that would most likely be forgotten the next morning, Crowell is creating a business he hopes no one will ever forget.

“I have gotten the question, ‘What is Pyro?’ many times since officially putting my name out there,” Crowell said. “To that question, I respond by asking, ‘What gets you fired up?’ Regardless of how deep of an answer I get, I tell them Pyro is what lights a fire under you.”

With some college students starting their independent businesses while enrolled in college, some have chosen to not utilize their degree post-college and instead focus on their independent businesses. For Crowell, he looks to never employ his psychology degree after graduating.

“Once I complete my degree, it is possible that I could have to find a job to help supplement my business, but I don’t believe that job would be in psychology. If anything, I could see potentially doing graphic design works for companies,” Crowell said.

With the increase in accessibility to creating one’s own business through social media and online platforms, the daring steps to create one’s own business have begun being sought after not only by college students but also by high school students.

According to the Educational Credit Management Corporation, the likelihood of high school seniors attending a four-year college fell from 71% to 51% in the past two years. Though this is also accounting for the increase in tuition costs, many students are now seeking out different career paths rather than college.

Additionally, Junior Achievement USA conducted a survey that concluded that 60% of American teens would prefer to start their own businesses instead of attaining a traditional job.

With that said, is college a necessity for individuals looking to start their own online business or platform?

“Content and brand creators don’t necessarily need a college degree, but, personally, I think it is a great fallback,” Caitlin Newman, professor of social media strategy, said.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a study revealed that only 27% of college graduates attain a job that is related to their degree. This percentage should be expected to drop with the inflation of content and brand creators.

“I have struggled in college to find the right major fit and ended up having to settle on something to get on a relative track to graduating on time,” Crowell said. “It’s okay not to go to college, but I believe it takes some kind of experience to expose you to many different things you could find yourself in.”

With Crowell’s business being in its beginning stages, his initial approach is to promote what all Tennessee natives love, Tennessee football.

“Pyro encapsulates whatever it is that makes you truly passionate about something,” Crowell said. “As I begin, I will be putting an emphasis on gameday tees and just getting my name out there. I hope to slowly get my name out there and work with other people in Knoxville to continue to make an impact on people in this community.”

With his first release of Florida gameday tees, Crowell was able to sell out twice on the same day the tees were released. Only two weeks later, he released Alabama gameday tees, in which his number in sales increased, and is still increasing thanks to Tennessee’s win over Alabama.

“As for the future, I genuinely believe I can reach every goal I have set out for this brand,” Crowell said. “I believe once I have a team of people around me that I trust, I can really create something special.”

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