Making Money Moo-ves

Two Gabelli freshmen talk about entrepreneurship in K-pop and dairy distribution

Michael+Tyutyunik+and+Krystal+Zheng%2C+GSB+%E2%80%9923%2C+run+a+dairy+distribution+company+and+K-pop+online+store%2C+respectively%2C+in+addition+to+being+full+time+students.++

ANDREW BEECHER/THE OBSERVER

Michael Tyutyunik and Krystal Zheng, GSB ’23, run a dairy distribution company and K-pop online store, respectively, in addition to being full time students.

By LEV YAKOVLEV, Contributing Writer

One of the things that surprises New York City newcomers are the amount of young people running their own small businesses. At Fordham Lincoln Center, there are students who dedicate their time outside of school to private enterprise, two of them are Michael Tyutyunik, Gabelli School of Business (GSB) ’22 and Krystal Zheng, GSB ’23, have agreed to discuss their businesses.

Tyutyunik is studying global business with a concentration in finance. However, outside of class, he is the managing director of a dairy company called Homegrown Varieties. He runs it with his friend, or, as he said, “The closest thing I have to a brother.” Now in college, they work together to deliver milk, yogurt and other dairy products of the best possible taste to their clients.

Tyutyunik is passionate about the taste of his company’s products. It took them seven months and a trip around the country to find a milk supplier that would satisfy all of their needs. Tyutyunik remembers turning down early offers because they wanted to find the best quality milk to distribute.

In order to find the taste and quality that they wanted, they had to search the entire country before finding great milk in California. When asked about expenses of such an operation, Tyutyunik replied, “Our competitors will laugh that we spend $1,000 on shipping, but we really don’t care about profit, and that’s what separates us from them.” 

Tyutyunik really believes that he is making a difference, and some stores have already started showing interest. “Now that we have secured our suppliers, we are ready to put our products in the factory. When our milk will hit the shelves, your perception of its taste will really change. In five years, you will hear a lot about us.”

COURTESY OF KRYSTAL ZHENG

Alternatively, Zheng runs a K-pop oriented online store through her Instagram page, @goryumis.goodies

“It all started with my love for art, DIY crafts and journaling. Eventually, I thought that I should put my skills to use by making products and sharing it with others,” Zheng said. Right now, she utilizes the same skills to design stickers, pins, key chains and more.

About a year ago, Zheng found an opportunity to make some money interning at a law firm. “The lawyer who I worked for specialised in copyrights, so it was related to what I wanted to do,” she said. “So, I used the experience and the funds to get started.” As she described, the hardest part was not in buying the sticker machine or setting up a site — it was finding the customers.

“I could only advertise it using Instagram.” But when the process of college applications took over all of her free time, Zheng was forced to abandon her dream for a while. 

However, since Zheng did not shut down her site, she had a surprise waiting for her when she came back: There were people who visited it and bought her products.

That’s why Zheng decided to return to her online store. “I made a real breakthrough when I decided to do a non-profit fan project for Stray Kids,” she said. “I made banners from donations I received, gave it to people entering the concert, and actually, one of the singers held one of them in front of the camera. It was super cool!” Stray Kids was her childhood idol, and now, ironically, it also helped her to start a business. 

Currently, Zheng is organizing a café event and party to celebrate the anniversary debut of one of her favorite artists. The first café date is on Oct. 23, and the second will be on Oct. 26. Both are located at Caffe Bene in Koreatown.

When asked about how they manage their time, Tyutyunik replied that “no matter how busy you are, you would always find time for something you love.” Zheng, on the other hand gave  more practical advice: “Write down all your plans; remembering by head is good, but when you actually record the thought, it’s different.”

Both Tyutunik and Zheng have people supporting them. For Zheng, it’s her fans. “When I started global shipping, there was a girl from the Netherlands who couldn’t pay for my merchandise online, so she shipped euros to New York by mail. I was really surprised that someone could do that for me.” For Tyutyunik, it’s his girlfriend, who “tells him to be the best he can be every single day.” In both cases, the business is held by love, which got them from the hard times and allowed a safe passage in a world of endless opportunity.