Inaugural Student Entrepreneur Holiday Showcase

Fall 2020 held a lot of challenges for Harding University. One of those challenges was how to engage students in a time where gathering in small groups was considered a no-no, and students had to adopt a more distant lifestyle at school. A normally bustling Waldron Center was empty and quiet.

Rochelle Waddill, new to the Waldron Center, and director Jon Wood, were determined to get students involved and began concentrating on awareness and name recognition. Regan Campbell, student worker at the Waldron Center, partnered with Rochelle to head up the social media this semester. The two decided to focus on student entrepreneurs here on campus, and began a weekly highlight of a student business that was featured on instagram (check out @huwaldroncenter). More and more businesses began to roll in, and it was quickly evident that there was a large amount of talent and initiative in this group of students. Waddill had the idea to form an event at the end of the semester to bring them together and give them a chance to truly showcase their work on campus. Given the COVID guidelines, that was easier said than done. Working with the Provost office and Dean Frazier, they were able to get a plan that worked, and the Student Entrepreneur Holiday Showcase was born!

The Holiday Showcase, themed “Hu-Ville” (pronounced hoo-ville), was met with eager excitement and rave reviews. Each student entrepreneur that participated (18 of them!) was able to set up a table, showcase their work, sell their wares, and support one another.

Below are some of our entrepreneurs and their contact information. Check out what these students have accomplished and consider supporting them on this Cyber Monday! Christmas shopping awaits!

Alaina Abbott Photography

Alaina Abbott

insta: @alainaabbottphotography

abbottalaina27@gmail.com


AMT Fitness

Toni Montez

insta: @toni.montez

http://amtfit.com


Bloom Clay Co.

Rachel Williams

insta:  @bloom.clayco

FB: Bloom Clay Co.


Byrd Jewelry

Maddy Byrd

insta: @shopbyrd

byrdjewelry10@gmail.com


Candace Grace Arts

Candace Crawford

insta: @candacegrace.arts


HaMi Boutique

Hallie Smith

insta: Shophamiboutique

www.Shophamiboutique.com


Kendra Neill Design

Kendra Neill

insta: @kendra.neill

kendraneilldesign.com


On Me Clothing

Colt Williams

insta: @on.me.clothing

www.coltgraphics.com/on-me


Ramen Doodles

John David Stewart

insta: @ramen.doodles_

http://www.johndavidstew.art/doodles


Spooning with Carol

Caroline Palmer

insta: @spooningwithcarol


Start Her Running Co.

Layne Pace

insta: @startherrunningco

www.startherrunning.com


Suitcase Studio

Megan Benz

insta: @suitcase__studio

www.suitcase-studio.square.site/


Wicker & Wood Vintage

Megan Sides

insta: @wickerandwoodvintage


Wir’d By Sal

Sally Roach

insta: @ponygalsal

sallyyyroach@yahoo.com

Mason Faulkner manages his herd

This is the second in a series of posts about student entrepreneurs on the Harding campus. 

When the Waldron Center got a tip that senior Mason Faulkner had to miss class because he “was headed to Canada to buy some cattle,” curiosity got the best of us. We discovered a young entrepreneur with 10 years of cattleman’s intuition and an accountant’s analytical predisposition. Discussing his herd of registered Fleckvieh Simmentals, he spoke with a quiet confidence that implied he’s thought a great deal about how to invest his energies.

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Faulkner played scholarship baseball for two years at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri. He pitched for the Bisons for a season before injuries derailed him from collegiate baseball. He pointed to some surgical scars on his elbow, resigned. “My baseball career’s pretty much over now.” College was about much more than sports for Faulkner, whose major is accounting. “I love numbers and the language of business, and I thought accounting would help transition me eventually into a career in farming. I knew the finance background would be helpful.”

His parents, Perry, a CPA, and Jalene, a retired math teacher, have a commercial herd of around 200 in Center Ridge, Arkansas. “When I was 12, my family sold me my first cow for $100. Ten years later I’m sitting on 15 head.”

Raising cattle requires money, land, skill and relentless engagement. Commercial beef cattle, usually a cross between breeds with no pedigree, are raised to sell at market for slaughter. Purebred (registered) cattle, however, are raised either to produce breeding stock for other purebred producers or for breeding desirable traits into commercial herds. A registered herd requires more intense management than a commercial herd. The owner tracks performance metrics for each animal.

Faulkner’s business model is to run registered breeding stock; he’s curating a bloodline. He just returned from purchasing six Fleckvieh cows from Saskatchewan. Why Canada? “The original imports of the breed went there, so a lot of the original genetics are there. If I buy them there, I get different genetics, and it increases the value of my herd.” Faulkner’s cattle are isolated in their own pasture on family land in Center Ridge, and he manages his herd separately.

31405499-1772-4377-8C42-B83531AD4862 (1)“I like the breed because they are heartier, are bigger, have more longevity and bring more when you sell them per pound.” A little research reveals Fleckvieh are also known for “fitness characteristics including fertility, calving ease, udder health, milking speed, somatic cell count and persistence.” There’s a lot to know.

“I don’t sell mine at a local market barn. I’ll be taking them to a big registered cattle sale in Texas this weekend, and later on I’ll consign some at a registered sale in Mississippi. The full bloods bring more money there. I raise bulls to sell to Angus or Brangus breeders who cross the bulls with the Angus cows. The genetics of the Simmental improves their commercial herd.”

Faulkner navigates a conversation about advanced reproduction technologies in cattle with businesslike instruction; he’s aware that the vast majority of people he sees day-to-day have no idea what he’s up to. Occasionally, he’d quietly correct something to make sure we understood. Assisted reproductive interventions can be costly. To save money, a cattleman must develop some veterinary expertise. “Mom’s a pretty good vet, and we inseminate our cows ourselves,” he said.

He’s looking ahead. “I graduate in May, sit for the CPA exam and will start work for HoganTaylor, a regional public accounting firm. I’ll start out living at home in Center Ridge.” He needs to stay close to the herd. “And I’m looking at some land in Perry County that may become available eventually.”

So what’s his endgame? “All my life, I’ve been competitive, playing sports. I like to use my strengths to go out and meet people. I’ve built up this network of other farmers and I’d like to get some public accounting experience and eventually perhaps specialize in agriculture.” He wants to contribute to improving the industry. “Agriculture is very important; it’s a big part of everyone’s lives. I feel there’s a need for publicity to help people understand what we do and how to make it more sustainable. Technology is advancing, and we need to find ways to incorporate it.”

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He’s got an eye for innovation. “I’ve been on a mission the last year to create an app to track data on cattle: breedings, weanings, weights, heat cycles, dates, prices, accounting — so when I am out in a pasture with a client who says, ‘What about number 53 out there — tell me about her?’ I’ll have all the data available for each animal.” He and his uncle, a programmer, are already testing the app. Are they looking to market it? “It’s an ongoing project. The biggest challenge is that farmers may not be very tech savvy. Some will dabble with it and then abandon it. It didn’t cost us anything, and I can use it if it never comes to anything commercial.”  

What qualities does he think are especially important for a cattleman? “A cattleman typically only generates revenue twice a year, but expenses come in every month. So you have to manage your money. A cattleman has to be good with cash flow.”

With 10 years of experience building his own herd and his accounting credential in hand, we expect Faulkner is well-positioned to handle what’s ahead.

If  you’re a Harding student running a business, the Waldron Center would like to connect with you. Email Patti Summers psummers@harding.edu. Follow us on Instagram or Twitter @huwaldroncenter.