By Rick Morwick
Sam Perin has been an artist most of his young life. Now, he has another skill set to add to his resume: entrepreneur.
A Carmel High School senior, Perin recently launched an online business, Soyu Shop, that sells custom merchandise featuring his artwork. He owns and operates it with business partners Sam Leagre, also a CHS senior, and Joshua Cunningham, a resident of Racine, Wis.
A play on the phrase “It’s so you,” Soyu offers custom products such as phone cases, posters, T-shirts and hoodies. All items feature artwork by Perin or Leagre, who also is an artist. Leagre does all of the T-shirt designs. Cunningham is the business’s social media manager.
“Our slogan is, ‘Be the you that you want to be,'” said Perin, 18. “While it does admittedly seem a bit corny, we didn’t choose it as a flashy title. We chose it because we truly believe in what it stands for. We think it’s really important for people to be themselves, especially in the fast-paced world that we live in today.”
Of all the challenges of starting the business, producing product is the easiest part for the young entrepreneurs. The hard part was getting started as an LLC, followed closely by advertising — or lack thereof.
“There was a lot of paperwork that had to be completed, and it was really a time-consuming process,” Perin said. “Another huge challenge that we are still facing is spreading the word. Now that we’ve officially launched, we need to let people know about us. But without a lot of money for big advertisements, it can be really difficult to let the world know who we are and what we stand for.”
Early hurdles notwithstanding, the business partners have faith in their products and are confident of building a loyal following.
“We haven’t made many sales on the shop yet, but that is to be expected since we haven’t been around for more than a few weeks,” Perin said. “We have gotten a good amount of attention on social media, however, and things seem like they could be picking up. We’re really excited for what the future will bring for Soyu.”
For more, visit soyushop.com.