When he was in seventh grade, he sold candy. Later, he leased out his shoes to friends—with an insurance policy, so if the shoes came back in less-than-satisfactory shape, his friends would have to pay up. Next came a shoe cleaning business. Years later, in his second year at the Wisconsin School of Business, CJ is running two successful businesses: a barbershop out of his house and a streetwear apparel brand called Croesus.

CJ began cutting hair when he was 16 as a way to prove to his family—and himself—that he could be successful in life even if he followed a less traditional path. He started the barbershop at his school with the help of a teacher, cutting the hair of his friends and classmates. With time, however, CJ wanted to have his “own thing” while continuing to build community through business. That’s when he decided to launch Croesus—which means “rich king.”

“The idea behind Croesus is being able to grow, to become richer than a king, but not rich in the sense of just money or materialistic things,” CJ explains. “Rich of the soul, of character.”