Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite class of all time had to be the entrepreneurial challenge ENT 122. It was great because it gave me some real-life field experience. I learned a lot about working with and managing people. My favorite professor had to be Nathan Gold.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I took a short stint working for an owner of a children's clothing store in Brooklyn by helping him get his business online. It was while working there I learned what not to do. I was working for minimum wage but I wasn't concerned with earning money; I was more concerned with learning.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the online retail industry?
I would have to say my field of specialty is business and customer service. I find business comes naturally to me. Prior to starting my business I had no real online retail experience; in fact I knew nothing about it until 10 months ago. I remember going on a trip to Miami, and I just got inspired to start a new business. My original idea proved to be a little too complicated to pull off so I kept changing and adapting. I had a lot of people tell me no or that I couldn't do it, including some professors, and I wasn't willing to accept that.
What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Don't give up on your dreams no matter how hard it seems. If it was easy everybody would be doing it right? They'll be many things that'll stand in your way or knock you down but that's just your way of paying your dues. Some days will be more difficult than others but just remember on the days you want to quit the most: "fall down 7 times; stand up 8."
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
How has your BBA helped you?
While my degree is not required to own my own business, it was the experiences I received building up to my BBA. I learned so much and grew up a lot during my time at Hofstra University. I also discovered it is what you put into something that will determine what you get in return as you can't expect something to be handed to you. Hofstra has done more for me as a person than I can ever repay.
What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?
My favorite part of entrepreneurship is taking something and creating it into something that transcends myself; watching it grow into something much bigger.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your retail career progressing to in the future?
In 10 years I see myself building another business, preferably something not-for-profit. I'd like to see my current retail venture grow into either a public company or to the point where I can sell it to another businessman who will keep it alive to my standards as I move onto other things. I'd also like to travel the world.
Andrew Laine is the founder and owner of the retailer Turn Up (http://www.turnupgear.com), based in New York City. He graduated from Hofstra in 2013 with a BBA in entrepreneurship. During his last two semesters he was also on the Dean's List. While attending classes, working full time, and partaking in campus life he also co-founded the now defunct Dorm Delivery, which specialized in on-campus food delivery. Prior to his time at Hofstra University, Andrew attended Nassau Community College where he obtained an associate degree in business administration, served as a tour guide, was the president of the Transfer Club, and an influential member of the Creative Writing Club. It was during this time that he interned for a semester at Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida, and gained professional experience in customer service.
Andrew founded Turn Up in December 2013 within six months of graduating. The concept itself was inspired from one of his final classes at Hofstra, after coming back from a spring break vacation in Miami. While in its early stages, Turn Up is hoping to become a competitive one-stop online retailer for partying gear and accessories. From button downs and dresses to sunglasses and bandanas, Turn Up aims to keep the masses pumping to the beat before, during and long after final call.
Andrew hopes this is only the beginning of a long and successful career of many business ventures, thanks to the help and support of his fellow alumni and the quality education he obtained at Hofstra University.