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Kent Daniel ’18

An associate’s degree in fashion, as well as losing his job, motivated the entrepreneur and supervisor of the Transportation department at Montclair State to go back to school for his Bachelor’s degree as an adult, and it definitely payed off.

Posted in: Alumni Profiles

Kent Daniel alongside Professor Ross Malaga and Sasha Mejia-Rivas
Kent Daniel (middle), alongside Professor Ross Malaga (left) and Sasha Mejia-Rivas (right)

“I loved being an undergraduate student at Montclair State. I felt connected to the world and as an older student, and I felt that I had a lot to contribute,” says Kent Daniel ’18. Daniel graduated last May with a B.A. in Business Administration and a concentration in Management as well as a minor in Entrepreneurship. He is currently the supervisor of the Transportation department at Montclair State where he manages 10-12 drivers and approximately 14 buses through campus daily.

When he’s not busy making sure that Montclair State’s transportation services are running smoothly, he is managing his clothing company, Culture Artisan Clothing, as creative director and founder. The creation of Culture Artisan Clothing was made possible through earning a third-place finish and $10,000 in last year’s Montclair State’s Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs.

“The pitch contest made me realize that it was possible to realize my dream of having a business,” he says. “Being a finalist allowed me to fund my inventory and marketing efforts to launch my business.”

Daniel gives credit to his Entrepreneurship minor for influencing and helping him come up with the idea. “As part of my entrepreneurship minor, we had to brainstorm business ideas weekly. Culture Artisan Clothing is based on a combination of influences and brainstorming sessions with Professor Ross Malaga,” he says. “Professor Archana Kumar’s courses on e-commerce and retail gave me a great foundation and practical knowledge to develop my business.”

Prior to earning his bachelor’s degree at Montclair State, Daniel earned his associate’s from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. From 1986 to 2010, he worked in the fashion industry and designed clothing for companies based in India. He also worked for Miss Erika, a division of Jones New York, and developed clothing for stores such as J.C. Penney, Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug.

After losing his job in 2010, Daniel found himself at a professional crossroads. Determined to persevere through the rough circumstances, he took on a job as a bus driver for New Jersey Transit. A year later, he applied for a position within the transportation department at Montclair State.

Daniel’s passion for the fashion industry was what motivated him to go back to school. For four years, he successfully navigated being a full-time student and employee.

“I have had tremendous support at work. My boss, William Fitzpatrick, worked with me and gave me the opportunity to adjust my schedule in order for me to attend classes,” he says.

Since graduation, Daniel has been working on developing his clothing line which launched in March. Culture Artisan Clothing is a free-trade women’s clothing company that manufactures its products in India. “The goal of my business is to create beautiful clothing while making a meaningful impact on communities and society,” he says.

Daniel has been growing the company through his own website, as well as through different social media platforms. He is also preparing to set up temporary locations to sell his clothes as well as some stores in and around Montclair.