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Jackie Smythe: Entrepreneurship changing career expectations

Jan. 9, 2020

Jackie Smythe is a sophomore in the Broad College of Business majoring in Supply Chain Management and minoring in Entrepreneurship. She is a cofounder of INFKNIT Apparel: sustainable, reversible apparel with a practical approach to design. She was recently featured on the globalEDGE Business Beat podcast to discuss her entrepreneurial endeavor. 

I never expected to successfully cofound a company at 18 years old that describes my two passions: fashion and sustainability. Approaching freshman year at MSU, my expectation was that I would have four more years of traditional schooling and hopefully graduate with good grades and a job offer. 

Little did I know that attending MSU’s Freshman Seminar Abroad in Costa Rica program would change all of my academic and career expectations.  

Through this program, Olivia Miller, Amanda Miner, Katherine Rojeck and I created INFKNIT Apparel as our final class project in Costa Rica.  INFKNIT Apparel is sustainable, reversible apparel with a practical approach to design. 

Our mission is centered on minimizing the average closet, without compromising variety, while providing high-quality clothing sourced sustainably that will last through life’s wear and tear. 

Our professors took a liking to the idea and encouraged us to join MSU Hatch, where numerous resources were available to develop our business idea further. 

MSU and the Hatch have helped propel INFKNIT, providing us the opportunity to have lunch with President Stanley this fall, helping us strategize Kickstarter advertising and inviting us to attend conferences.  

The Hatch has supported us every step of the way, especially through assistance with knowledgeable interns and networking contacts. This support for entrepreneurship at MSU has influenced my decision to declare the minor. 

I never could’ve imagined the success that has already come from INFKNIT. I believed my career would begin after graduation and never anticipated to be simultaneously practicing things I’m learning in class while experiencing them in the professional world. 

I never expected to be answering business emails while keeping up with class notes, shipping out fabric during finals week or filing a patent myself. I’m so grateful for the success of INFKNIT and can’t want to continue learning along the way.  

To all entrepreneurs out there, keep your head up and be ready to work hard. Not everyone is going to think your idea is fantastic, but if you can continue to work hard to make your ideas a reality, you will succeed.