At 2017 graduation time last year, we posted the following Q & A with Dwayne Carter. We decided to check in with Dwayne and update the progress of C3.
Company: CART3R LLC. (Also known as C3)
Owners: Dwayne Carter II and brothers Michael Carter and Joshua Carter
Where located: Navarre, Florida
Business type: Sports brand/athletic apparel
The Waldron Center frequently observes that inspired business ideas frequently derive from what an entrepreneur knows and loves. Senior management major and Bison running back Dwayne Carter of Navarre, Florida, obviously knows sports — so it was logical for his business inspiration to incorporate that passion he shares with his brothers.
What is a little surprising is that his interest expanded even before he graduated into a full-fledged e-commerce business.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
I decided I wanted to do something special with my brothers, and with all of us being athletes, I wanted to do something that dealt with sports. So we decided we wanted to start a sports brand like Nike or Adidas. We are an e-commerce store. We do advanced orders when we make uniforms for teams and organizations, and for our individual line, we have inventory.
What was one challenge you had to overcome to get the business off the ground?
At first, it was difficult to arrange the manufacturing part of the company. I tried contacting multiple manufacturers around the world, and working with them, the big issues were a language barrier and the minimum size clothing orders I could place, which was 100. Then one day when I was searching, I was contacted by a manufacturer from Peru, and he spoke great English. He allowed me to place minimum orders of 50. He made my job a lot easier and made the process of making clothing and getting them here smoother. We’ve stuck together ever since.
How do you market your brand?
Our saying is “Expect Greatness.” We strive to be known as a brand for athletes who love to work and who expect to be great because they work so hard to reach it — even if they are counted out at the moment. We try to depict athletes working that theme in the photos we use.
Carter says he relies on social media and the web for advertising. You can connect with him and C3 on Instagram at CART3R, follow @CART3R LLC on Twitter, or visit C3 online at shopc3sports.com.
We wish him luck after graduation!
January 2018 Update:
Are you working full-time with C3? If you work elsewhere, what are you doing, and can you discuss managing C3 and other opportunities at the same time?
Yes, I work with C3 full time. I just work on C3 and train while my agent talks to teams in the NFL/CFL to get me signed. I manage doing both by changing my sleep schedule. Since my manufacturer is 12 hours ahead so I work to get our clothing and our customers clothing designed and made from 9 pm-3 am. Then I wake up around 10 am and train about four hours a day. In between the four hours I’m in meetings either over the phone, via skype, or in person with our customers.
How do the personalities of the three brothers affect the process of doing business together? Would you have any wisdom about working with your own family?
The personalities of the three of us work well together, because we all have have the same ultimate goal; we all are driven to get there. We also are all creative in different ways.
I would say working with your family is fun, but make sure you can see things from their points of views and be open to their ideas. It’s easy to be closed-minded, especially when it’s with your brothers/sisters.
What do you consider your biggest market and what is your biggest selling tool?
Our biggest market is people interested in football, whether it’s football coaches ordering for teams or individual football players. Although we sell to all athletes and all sports. Our biggest selling tools have been Instagram and Facebook and the videos we make for them.
Any specific advice for college entrepreneurs? Anything from your own experience that you might have done differently if you’d known then what you know now?
One thing I learned that I wish I knew earlier was to design and order clothing a season ahead.
To college students, I would say keep going and don’t get discouraged. Also, I would say don’t be afraid to ask for help. I think because we are so young we have an advantage. There are so many older entrepreneurs that are excited to work with us because they want to see the culture of entrepreneurship grow.