With just one T-shirt design with a brand logo of a burger, junior entrepreneurship major Benjamin Edmund started his own clothing brand, Cronk Studios, in 2011.
Since then, Cronk Studios has expanded from Edmund’s hometown, Riverhead, Long Island, into other parts of the United States.
“I made these T-shirts in high school as kind of a joke, but people kept wanting them, so I started to sell them,” Edmund said. “I figured this could go somewhere. I sold one shirt at a time, one design at a time.”
The motto of Cronk Studios is “Creating Reality on New Knowledge,” which is the acronym for C.R.O.N.K., according to Edmund.
“Our motto means to manifest your lifestyle or your life or future each day based upon past experiences,” Edmund said.
Cronk Studios is a streetwear clothing brand based on lifestyle and exclusivity, according to Edmund.
“Streetwear brands born in the ‘80s and ‘90s such as Stussy and Life Is Good have turned into big name brands so they’re losing that personal connection with their customers,” Edmund said. “That is what streetwear was born on. Cronk Studios is changing that, we are going to bring streetwear back to where it used to be.”
Edmund said he uses social media and promo videos as a marketing technique. Every few months he creates a new design or article of clothing to promote a sale of the product.
“We release only one product each month and we release each item only once,” Edmund said. “The designs stand out and because of the lifestyle associated with them, they are really personal to the customers.”
Edmund said he makes his supporters feel as though they are a part of a family, which he calls the “Cronk Family.”
“When they feel like they’re a part of it, it’s not really like I’m selling them a product it’s more like they’re joining on the lifestyle and they’re supporting what we are doing for the greater good,” Edmund said.
Dominick Tullo, a junior entrepreneurship major and a friend of Edmund, is a Cronk Studios supporter. Tullo believes Edmund has the capability to do great things and owns clothing from Cronk Studios because he “loves what the brand stands for.
“My favorite part about [Edmund] is that if you try to find him on social media you won’t. There is no Ben Edmund, you will only find Cronk Studios,” Tullo said.
Edmund attended a conference for the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs Association in 2013 and won the Disruptive Student Innovator of the Year award for his unique business strategy.
Professor of entrepreneurship Dale Jasinski told Edmund about the conference and inspired him to attend and promote Cronk Studios.
“[Jasinski] has always pushed me to be more confident with the brand and get it out there,” Edmund said. “I probably wouldn’t have went to the conference if he didn’t say, ‘Listen, you need to go to this conference, your business is worthy of this award.’”
This is Quinnipiac’s third year attending the conference. The conference ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
Edmund was among nine Quinnipiac students to travel to the annual conference in Chicago where more than 1,100 collegiate entrepreneurs were able to compete.
“In [Edmund]’s category they were looking for new business models, selling T-shirts and hats is not new, but the way he does it is new,” Jasinski said. “I think that is what the judges rewarded. He has a mainline business being done in a new, innovative way.”
Edmund was humbled to receive this award and said this was the first time Cronk Studios has been recognized on a greater scale.
Jasinski said he is proud of what Edmund has accomplished with Cronk Studios as a college student.
“[Edmund] is a great young man and a great entrepreneur,” Jasinski said. “They rewarded him not only for his artistic and style approach but I think they also looked at it as a very interesting way of running a business.”
Edmund hopes to move Cronk Studios to retail by January 2014, since at the moment there is only online marketing.
“Online sales are tough especially when you don’t have any retail presence, and social media is only going to be around for so long,” Edmund said. “We are going to start retail in New York City and the Brooklyn area, also in New Haven and whatever small boutique stores we can get, and eventually push west into the U.S.”
Jasinski believes Cronk Studios has the capability to expand into a big business. But Edmund said marketing his brand will be difficult due to the competitive market.
Edmund said even though the award was given to him at the conference, his supporters should be recognized as well.
“Although I am at the forefront pushing the brand name, it would be nothing without all of their support,” Edmund said.
Check out Cronk Studios online.