Mary Baldwin University student creates own clothing brand to motivate young people

A rising senior at Mary Baldwin University is inspiring young people to follow their dreams and achieve their goals through his clothing brand HVNGRY.

“I didn’t know how to run a business at 19, you know, all I know is clothes, money and food. That’s my daily expenses of a college student,” Jamal Carter said.

But with the help of MBU’s Office of Personal and Professional Development helping connect Jamal to resources in the community, his brand has taken off and can be spotted across the state.

“I didn’t think it was going to be a banger until I put that post out on my Instagram, and I had people, ‘let me get this, let me get that.’ That was kind of my workday,” Carter said.

Carter has always been interested in high-dollar fashion, and Instagram was a place where he was really able to explore that passion.

Carter is studying business at MBU and is currently involved in a work-study program within the university’s Office of Personal and Professional Development.

“This is someone that is going to be incentivized by learning and money, and this person very much cares about being successful,” Director of the Office of Personal and Professional Development Nell DeVito said.

After meeting Carter, DeVito knew he had the potential to thrive in whatever he wanted to pursue. So, DeVito worked with Carter to help him find his strengths and figure out how to apply them to serve more students at Mary Baldwin.

“We work with students to develop what’s in their head and combine it with their heart to have a hustle,” DeVito said. “Your head is like your strengths and your academic content and the things that you’re learning, and the heart is like what you really care about, and the hustle is where it connects.”

And after drawing on inspiration from Malik Jarrett, the designer of EAT, a clothing brand based out of Washington, D.C., Carter knew that was something he wanted to achieve.

So, he started brainstorming and came up with the HVNGRY logo.

“I showed it to Nell, and she said, ‘Jamal, pursue it. If that’s what you want to do, do it,” Carter said.

DeVito helped him by giving him resources on how to start a business.

“He comes back and he’s done research on a business plan, he’s got all these pictures, he’s got a business model framework, and he’s like I’m working on this, here’s the name, this is what it means, and I’m like, ‘Jamal, this is a brand!’” DeVito said.

She started connecting him with the Staunton Creative Community Fund and the Staunton Innovation Hub, and now a year and a half later, Carter is thriving with his clothing brand. People are seen wearing his clothes around campus and beyond.

“Jamal has been very selective in what he takes from what I have given him, and he’s made his own thing,” DeVito said. “I have done my job as a mentor if that person lines up the head, the heart and the hustle is unique to them.”

Carter said he couldn’t have gotten to where he is today without the support he’s received from MBU and the community.

“There’s something that’s always going to be bigger than you, and you have to recognize that, not only as a business person, but as a person in life. That’s when I realized it’s not me that’s doing this. It’s the community, it’s the people, it’s the people that see my vision, that’s wearing it across campus,” Carter said.

Jamal hopes to expand on his brand by creating a non-profit that addresses food hunger in lower-income communities. He also aims to help others find their passion at MBU.

“He helps students develop their resumes, and their cover letters, and helps them understand what they’re good at, and how to demonstrate on paper, or in an interview, basically, helping other people succeed,” DeVito said.