Entrepreneur at 16

Student Spotlight Jay Sullivan

Ibrahim Abdullahi
Senior Jay Sullivan, Shoe Customizing entrepreneur and Photography wiz

Scrolling through Instagram, one might stumble upon some really cool shoes. Senior Jay Sullivan is the guy who customizes shoes and he is good at it. He has been customizing shoes for two years and has cranked out around 380 customized shoes during that time. The process may be time consuming, but the reward is worth it. What prompted Sullivan to originally start customizing shoes for others was he thought to himself, “If other people can do it, then why not I do it?” The idea for Sullivan’s shoe business was as easy as a thought in his head. It is not all that easy customizing shoes, everyone has a different design and as a customizer have to quickly adapt to the customers needs.

There is a process to which he does his customizations: a customer asks Sullivan about his shoe customizations and the customer either tells him he has a pair of shoes or Sullivan will order a pair for the customer from any shoe retailer. He charges for both the shoe – if he has to buy it – and the customization of the shoes. He usually adds a markup of about 40 to 120 dollars on top of the cost of the shoe depending on if he ordered them from online. Sullivan also has both an Instagram and a website to showcase his work. On Instagram, he has around 14,300 followers, for a person who has been customizing shoes for two years, Sullivan is doing great! Sullivan plans on continuing his shoe customization business through college, he commented, “I want to continue it, but on a smaller scale.”

I want to continue it, but on a smaller scale.

— Jay Sullivan

Other than customizing shoes, Sullivan is also talented when it comes to photography and videography. During the beginning of the school year, Sullivan was introduced to a project for the City of Owatonna by Greg Kruescke and Business Ed teacher Mr. Cummins. The project was to create a video to attract people and businesses to Owatonna. It included going to neighborhoods, stores, parks and other various places that would show Owatonna in a different way. Sullivan even used a drone to capture some of the footage and his thoughts on that was,It was fun to use drones.” Overall, the project took Sullivan the whole first quarter of the school year because it was his first time actually doing an entire project as big as this. Sullivan commented on what it was like to make their video for the City of Owatonna, “It was really fun being able to display Owatonna in a way that I wanted, and show off the parts that make it Owatonna.” It took awhile to piece everything together, but with the help of other students who were in the class, Sullivan completed the task and it is being used now to showcase Owatonna.