E-Scholar's wallet company finds success through Kickstarter
Devin Ajimine is the creator of Paramine, a company that develops wallets for people on the go
Senior Devin Ajimine has been very busy lately. On top of the workload of a computer science major and the busyness of senior year, he’s also the founder of , a wallet company whose successful Kickstarter campaign concluded on Oct. 10, exceeding their $5,000 fundraising goal by over $800. This money will allow the company to begin producing their wallets for retail.
For Ajimine, though, Paramine has never been just about wallets. Rather, it’s been about making his dream to create something come true. Wallets are just the vehicle for that achievement.
The results of Ajimine’s efforts are a series of slim, weather resistant, leather wallets, designed for creators and artists, but suitable for anyone.
Paramine began as an E-Scholars project, which is a group of students from all majors across campus that want to start businesses, or make a product or a service of some sort. E-Scholars provides the resources and tools to turn these dreams into realities by teaching students business skills and connecting them to networks of successful entrepreneurs.
Ajimine always had a desire to create something. As a computer science student, he said he first thought he was interested in developing software, but soon realized that he wouldn’t have time his senior year to invest in something that complex.
But that wasn’t the end of Ajimine’s dream to make a product of some sort.
Ajimine said he eventually landed on wallets because they’re relatively simple to produce and seemed like a low-risk idea, but they’re still a product that he can put his own take on. Ajimine said he needed to have other creators interested in his vision to have it succeed.
When he was traveling for E-Scholars, Ajimine said he met a lot of creators such as photographers, models and musicians. By reaching out to them, he was able to get them interested in his product.
“I’ve just been so inspired by their work ethic,” Ajimine said. “That’s when I came up to them and was like, ‘Hey, do you guys want to help me promote this product?’”
The creators that Ajimine approached help promote his product to their followers on social media platforms, such as Instagram. Creating that widespread interest was key to the success of the Kickstarter, he said. Ajimine said that he designed the wallet with these creators in mind, people who are always on the go and traveling.
While Ajimine is certainly excited about his product, he’s more interested in inspiring others to use their talents to create something like he did.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re biology, business or computer science, there’s always time to create something,” Ajimine said. “And that’s what I want to show people.”
Ajimine created the word Paramine to represent the idea of taking your various skills and passions and combining them with your studies to do something new and fresh.
But he is quick to point to his friends and other collaborators as keys to Paramine’s success. Senior Emily Sandoval, Paramine’s outreach and sales team lead, said the core of the company is the vision of it being student-based. She also said that they wanted to show students that you don’t need a business degree to start a company or make a product.
“That’s what made this whole process kind of cool is that Devin is the brain behind it all, and so you know that he’s going a mile a minute, but he’s making it super doable for everyone,” Sandoval said.
Senior Sven Shoultz, one of two of Paramine’s marketing specialists along with senior Keaton Averman, said Ajimine asked for his help because of his marketing experience. While Ajimine understood the entreneurship elements of running a business, promoting a product wasn’t his specialty, Shoultz said. The marketing specialists worked with Ajimine to help him figure out how to market his product on social media and establish a brand.
Shoultz said that it was a little challenging bridging the divide between his marketing knowledge and sense with Ajimine’s computer science background. Even though Ajimine went through E-Scholars, there were some parts of running a business that were more intuitive for Shoultz and Averman. But Ajimine was totally open to learning from those on his team.
“The great part about it was Devin was open ears all the time,” Shoultz said. “There was never a moment that he wasn’t willing to listen to us and discuss with us. He might not always do exactly what we say, but it was always that he was willing to listen and discuss the options with us, which was great.”
For Ajimine, his busy schedule has been a challenge in running the company. He said he has to write down everything to keep it all straight. Ajimine also said that the real secret to staying on top of things is to persist when the going gets tough and things get hectic.
Sandoval said that Ajimine’s approach to running the business has been crucial to its success. After accommodating to the busy schedules of Sandoval and the others working for Paramine, Ajimine has made it possible to run a business while also being full-time students.
Despite the challenges faced along the way, that the company has been a fun experience for Shoultz because he gets to do it with his friends. Shoultz loved being a part of Paramine because he gets to work alongside people he’s been friends with since freshman year.
And Ajimine has high hopes for the company in the future. Sandoval said that he wants to get his product into stores, and that he’s even considered expanding the business to include clothing.
But for right now, Shoultz said that Paramine shows how friends and the UP community have helped to make a dream become reality. He said that Ajimine’s story is an inspiration to others who to pursue their goals.
“No dream is too big,” Shoultz said. “Whatever you want to do with your life, go and do it. Don’t be fearful; don’t take a seat. Stand up and really do what you believe in.”
Wes Cruse is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.