For Noble Madu and Connor Moore, attending classes at Texas Tech was not enough.
They wanted to receive hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and marketing while obtaining their degrees, and developed an idea that has enabled them to do this.
On June 2, 2011, Madu, a senior marketing and communications major from Plano, Moore, a first-year educational psychology graduate student from Longview, and Weston Betts, a senior business marketing major from Murphy, created their own company titled Pawns2Kings. Now, Madu is the account manager of the company and Moore is the chief marketing officer while Betts pursues a full-time position after his graduation this spring.
“We wanted to bring marketing value to different companies in Lubbock and Texas as far as promotional tools, social media management, hands-on promotion,” Madu said, “and we did that starting in 2011 and it was working very well for us, so we kept meeting new business owners and meeting new people and basically we just wanted to do something in our spare time and make some extra income.”
Last April, Madu and Moore developed Pawns2Kings even further. It is now an online store that works similarly to Groupon, a website that connects buyers and sellers through a series of online deals.
“Essentially we are basically a flash discount online store and we’re trying to appeal to college students and put different things on there that college students like,” Madu said. “Our goal is to basically bring value to the businesses we work with and to the customers and consumers of our actual brand.”
Some of the local companies featured on the Pawns2Kings website at www.pawns2kingstx.com include Smoothie King, which offers a $2 discount on medium smoothies through the website, and Studio 57, which offers a $10 discount through the website for a five-class, all-access punch card. To retrieve the discounts, customers must provide an email address to which the discount is sent.
Other products featured on the website include women’s and men’s fashion as well as shoes.
“Our main goal is really just trying to get people to the site by showing them our potential value,” Moore said, “because otherwise, people don’t know and they will just go in store and realize they can get a really good discount just by visiting our site and doing business with us.”
For their business to operate, Madu and Moore have had to attend referrals, complete legal work, network and propose business ideas to many different companies.
“It’s something anyone can do, it’s very easy,” Madu said. “People are humans, you know. A human owns a business so it’s very easy to talk to somebody.”
It has worked to Pawns2King’s advantage that Madu and Moore are both college students, Moore said.
“Ultimately they see us as being college founded and not really coming into this trying to money-hustle them and stuff like that,” he said, “and both goals are for ourselves to make money and the business owner to prosper more than they already are.”
Attending classes while running a business is not easy, Moore said, especially since he and Madu run the Pawns2Kings website by themselves.
“I’ve been trying to make everything work as far as time management,” he said, “but it has been really fun.”
Madu said he does not mind the time commitment because he believes the work will pay off someday.
“I think it will be worth it if we can get this done,” he said, “and we can succeed and actually bring value to the people.”
Right now, Madu and Moore are developing an app for Pawns2Kings that will be available for download on both Android cellphones and iPhones.
Moore encourages any students with suggestions about which companies should offer discounts on the website to contact them through the Pawns2Kings website.
One of the businesses featured through Pawns2Kings is Chick-fil-A. Corie Williams, the marketing director at Chick-fil-A at Raider Park, said she has known Madu for about a year and asked for his help last February.
“Pawns2Kings is one of our consultants,” she said. “I ask him how he would do this, what ways to go about it, how to target this certain group of people, if I need a connection in with Greek - I go with Pawns2Kings because they have a great partnership with any of the Greek sororities and fraternities, so I think primarily their relationship with Chick-fil-A is consulting and how to better our social media presence.”
Pawns2Kings has helped Chick-fil-A tremendously, Williams said.
“I think one of the biggest aspects I learned from Pawns2Kings was leveraging my personal social media power,” she said, “and using that to effectively market for our business as well.”
Pawns2Kings is a unique website, Williams said, and she encourages people to utilize its services.
“They’re a middle man, but you don’t feel that,” she said. “You get the product as soon as you buy it and it’s instantaneous, so it’s definitely worthwhile to check out.”
Madu and Moore agreed students who are interested in entering entrepreneurship should chase their dreams.
Moore said not to be fooled though, because founding a business takes a lot of time and work, but is worth it in the end.
“A lot of people start out with something and then they quit because they realize how hard it was,” he said, “so just keep at it and it will all come together.”