Inspiration sells on urban street wear

Correction appended

Junior Jane Fenterstock found a new way to enjoy New York’s graffiti: by wearing it.

She said the urban street art of Manhattan, N.Y. inspired her to start her company, Two Comma Kid, in 2009 when she was a high school sophomore. Now, that art is printed across T-shirts and hats.

“Urban art in general was such an unconfined form of art I had never really seen before. It opened up a new way of communicating a message,” Fensterstock said. “It was daring and rebellious but had a purpose.”

The junior majoring in American studies now runs the company entirely from her apartment, waking up at 7:30 a.m. to check online sales. Her website sells sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats and accessories, among other products.

Fensterstock labels the brand “motivational apparel.” The company’s name comes from the two commas in “$1,000,000.”

“It is meant to embody the class of young people with big dreams and big ambitions that is emerging now in our generation more so than ever before,” she said.

Two Comma Kid sells apparel and accessories for men and women, with prices ranging from $10 to $40. One popular T-shirt that sells for $24 features an artistic redesign of the dollar bill with the phrase “Wealth is more than money,” and a sold-out $23 hat reads “Self Made.”

Fensterstock runs the entire business by her self — from the design of the apparel, to the production and shipment, to the social media marketing. Her mom serves as the production manager.

“In a way, this is a self-serving business,” Fensterstock said. “What I produce inspires others, and that inspires me.”

The company is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, creating an advertising space for giveaways, contests, upcoming events to boost the company’s customer base.

Two Comma Kid has over 3,000 likes on Facebook. Customers often comment on specific products and ideas they would like to see come to life, Fensterstock said.

Her brand made it onto Karmaloop, “the world’s largest online retailer of streetwear,” according to its website, which features brands such as Betsey Johnson and Vans. She said the distributor has been a tremendous source of exposure and has helped generate revenue. But Fensterstock has not yet made any profits, with all incoming money going toward producing new items.

Fensterstock has no shortage of ideas for new products. Her struggle, she said, is finding the time to balance being a student with being an entrepreneur.

“Most parents are worried about their kids going out past curfew. Mine always told me not to get sued,” she joked, discussing the legal responsibilities that come with running a business.

Given more time and resources, Fensterstock said she would like to expand the production line, with more consistent new releases and a wider customer base.

“Hopefully, she grows organically,” said D.J. Saul, Fensterstock’s mentor and chief marketing officer at iStrategyLabs. Saul graduated from GW in 2008.

Though she was initially hesitant as to how GW’s community would receive an urban streetwear brand, Fensterstock said the response has been positive.

Max Walker met her during his freshman year when they lived on the same floor of Crawford Hall. He now serves as model for Fensterstock’s apparel on her website.

“I noticed her sneakers,” Walker said. “And she talked to me about her fashion line and asked for some advice.”

This article was updated Nov. 9, 2012 to reflect the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Jane Fensterstock runs the online company out of her residence hall room. In fact, she lives in an off-campus apartment.

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