Enthusiasm of entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership radiates from the work of Braxton Manley, the young CEO and Co-Founder of Braxley Bands.
Manley, a graduate of the Texas Tech University Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, runs a thriving business designing and manufacturing watch bands that started through a school project co-founded with Grant Andrews, a Texas Tech College of Media and Communications graduate.
"To me, the American Dream is alive, Manley said. "America has resources and anyone can go out there and create something from nothing."
Manley said he believes entrepreneurship is the heart of American culture, and he built his company from leveraging resources at Rawls College, Texas Tech, and the Innovation Hub.
Inspired after taking a new venture creation class as an undergraduate taught by Rawls professor Ron Mitchell, Manley developed his idea into a functioning prototype to enter in a contest with the Innovation Hub called Red Raider Start-Up.
Manley was motivated to open an online store and sell watch bands he was hand-stitching with his grandmothers sewing machine.
"The key was to start small, we spent $25 to buy elastic material and sold them to our friends for cash and then we used the money from that and put it back into the business," Manley said. "It was something you could do while taking 15 hours of class, having a social life and still getting a healthy amount of sleep at night."
Manley credits a digital marketing course he took at the Rawls College for being a helpful tool in modern marketing methods that have been utilized by Braxley Bands in selling its products.
"Ultimately our goal is to just grow the brand and eventually come out with other products," Manley said. Manley has lot of ambitions for the future and he is working to make functional and practical products using the same elastic component.
Manley said being a CEO of his own company is fun to work with something he is so passionate about but has to be self-disciplined with his time. To promote a healthy balance, Manley dedicates time to do things he enjoys such as playing guitar, piano, and physical fitness.
"The best way to grow people skills is to find social groups, "Manley said. "While you're doing business, you need to learn how to work and talk to people in a constructive way to maintain mutual trust and respect."
Deciding on what he deems important in his life was an important lesson for Manley.
"Do a cost-benefit analysis for the things that take up your emotional and mental capacity and focus on the important things," he said.
His advice for others looking to start a business is to define your metrics for happiness and pursue them.
Manley is grateful for the support of the community in Lubbock, Rawls College, Texas Tech, Innovation Hub, KCBD News Channel 11, and local retail stores.
"You don't find that type of support anywhere else. Lubbock has such good people and I will be eternally grateful for those who mentored me."
To learn more about Braxley Bands click here.