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From gargoyles to Santas: the entrepreneurial spirit at work

"There's no market for gargoyles," Chris Corrado plainly states.

For Corrado, sophomore in The James F. Dicke College of Business Administration, this simple realization served as a major turning point in the development of Corrado Creek Clay, a crafting venture he started as a high school freshman.

Noting his market's fondness for seasonal pieces, Corrado abandoned his previous creations - gargoyles - for what he describes as "folk-artsy, whimsical Santa Clauses, snowmen and nativities with an old-time feel to them."

"These Santa Clauses changed my life," Corrado reports. When he first began selling them at craft shows, he took a passive approach, choosing to "sit in the back of the booth and hope someone would buy something."

But then Corrado realized that he wasn't just selling clay Santa Clauses; he was selling himself. "I learned to relate to the customer, talk with them, sharing my goals and my dreams. And now I love to tell customers my story."

At one point this story involved a future in mathematics, but Corrado's new confidence pushed his career ambition in a new direction. "Crafting taught me that I love to sell. I really wanted to go into marketing or a business field."

"I was looking for an institution that had an excellent business program. And Ohio Northern was that place. I also wanted to come to a school where I could be a leader on campus."

Corrado continues, "The big reason to come to ONU is that you are "somebody" here; your teachers do know you. They do care about who you are and your development. You have more opportunities to get involved."

Taking full advantage of these leadership opportunities, Corrado is the current fundraising director for Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and one of four representatives from the business college serving on the dean's advisory council. Corrado also is the founder and president of Orange Noses, a chapel outreach group that uses juggling and other clown-inspired entertainment to spread its messages.

After graduation, Corrado hopes to "be in a position where I can sell, where I can represent a company that I trust. I also would like to do market research, where I can find out - as I did in my clay business - what people are shopping for, why they would buy a certain product and how I can make that product better to suit their needs."

"Not many kids my age get to start their own business, to market their own product. Every year I think about getting a real job, but I feel so much love for my own product. I can't stop."