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Young Entrepreneur Graduates From University of Mobile

by Renee Busby

(Courtesy of the Mobile Press-Register 2012. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Published May 10, 2012)

Jami Leigh Carter always wanted to open a boutique.

So she went to the University of Mobile to study business, hoping it would help her reach her goal.

Not only did her studies at the university help her, but the 22-year-old Carter started her business before finishing school.

Following in the path of her father, who owns an insurance agency and graduated from college with a degree in business, she applied what she learned watching her dad and the principles she learned in business school to start an online boutique called Lace.

Wearing an outfit she sells at her online store, Carter said she would help friends with their clothing styles.

“Everyone always told me, ‘You put good outfits together,’” said Carter.

Despite achieving her goal to open a business, she remained in school to further her education. A member of the Class of 2012, Carter received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Mobile.

Carter has been busy the last four years.

Despite taking a full college load and running her own business, she works for the Cunningham Bounds law firm 35 hours a week and volunteers at the Dumas Wesley clothes closet with the University of Mobile Students in Free Enterprise, or SIFE.

Carter said she has learned a lot from her classes that she has been able to incorporate into her own business.

“That class is what made me realize I could do this,” she said.

Carter credits the university with helping her “learn the key points of business.”

She researched what she needed to do to start her own business, which she runs from an office in her father’s building.

The first thing she did was go to the bank for a loan, which was co-signed by her father.

Borrowing money made her realize that she was on her way to being a business owner, she said.

She sells to customers as far away as New York and California.

“I hand pick all of the clothes from designers online,” said Carter.

“It’s almost as if I’m styling all of my clothes,” she said.

Carter said she would continue to sell online instead of opening a store.

“I feel like online is not going to go away,” said Carter, adding, “Online sales are up.”

Plus, she said, “I don’t have the overhead.”

After graduating, she is spending more time on her business.

“Four years add up to this one moment,” Carter said of graduating from college. “I’m glad I stuck with it.”

(Visit Jami’s boutique online at lace-boutique.com)