We sat down with Jade Hamachai, an entrepreneurship/business major here at the University of Utah. She told us about her days in club volleyball and the succulent/produce business she created in her hometown. She originally wanted to be a biology major, but has decided business/entrepreneurship is where her passion lies.
Where are you from?
I’m from San Louis Obispo, Calif. I lived 10 minutes away from the beach, and I was really lucky because it was always 70 degrees year-round. It’s been an adjustment moving here, but I’m excited for the different seasons.
What is your major at the University of Utah?
Right now, I have been thinking of majoring in entrepreneurship/business or entrepreneurship with a minor in finance. I initially started college thinking that I wanted to be a biology major, but in my third month of school, I quickly realized where my interests are falling. I’m taking biology along with labs, but I am also in Business Scholars and a lot of business classes.
What is your favorite aspect of Lassonde Studios?
I really love how there is a large community feeling, even between floors and the lobby. It just feels like a family honestly. There are also a lot of brilliant people who live here, and it’s been really cool to even just meet some of these people in passing. You’re able to talk about different projects they’re working on and different classes that they are taking, so I really enjoy the community aspect of living here. It also feels like a support system.
What resources have you utilized?
I have gone to a few of the lobby events. There was a financial, smart-money lecture that I went to and I’ve gone to a few Pinterest events. I know that this isn’t really an official resource, but meeting people with similar interests as me and having meeting place has been really nice. In terms of the Maker Space, I haven’t had a chance to use it yet; however, I am really interested. I took woodshop in high school and I really enjoyed that, but I’m still trying to get adjusted.
We heard you started your own succulent business. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
In high school, starting the summer between freshman and sophomore year, I started to harvest and sell succulents from my yard. I was playing club volleyball, which is super expensive, and to help my parents pay for that, I started harvesting these plants with my teammates. First, we were called “Side Out Succulents,” side out was a volleyball term. Then, later on, my grandma moved to the neighboring town to an avocado orchard, and so I started harvesting avocados and oranges from her property as well and our name changed to “Hamachai Harvest.” My last name is Hamachai, so I began my own sole business and created a Facebook page and a website. My dad is actually in internet marketing, so he helped me with that. I used social media to grow a following. I had a lot of friends with local families that became recurring customers. It was really cool to see how small businesses begin to grow. By my senior year, I had people coming up to my door by word of mouth. I try to buy organic food and support other local businesses, like farmer’s markets. It was a way for me to not only provide for my community, but also to reduce waste as well. A lot of the succulents, oranges, avocados, etc. would either die or they would go uneaten, so it was a really cool way to learn about the plants. I actually had to do some research for harvesting succulents. When you harvest succulents, you have to let them mature a little before you can re-soil them. I learned a little about plants, owning a small business and being an entrepreneur, growing things, getting customers, going door to door and just saying to let people sample products, putting in countless hours over the summer to harvest. We would go practice from six to eight, and then we would come home for two hours, harvest, get some lunch and go to work out. Those were my summers for the bulk of high school. We had so much fun! We also partnered with a local charity event as well, so we would sell our succulents and a percentage of our profits would go to this charity.
What is your favorite meal at Miller Cafe?
My friend and I have honed down this spinach wrap with turkey and veggies, and it’s really good. I also really like their salads. I’m kind of vegetarian, kind of not, so I eat turkey wraps and all that, but for the most part, I eat a lot of veggies. The chef tables are also nice and kind of different, so those are good too.
What are some of your hobbies?
I really enjoy being outdoors, it’s why I live on the fourth floor of Lassonde actually. I love hiking and being outside. I did grow up on the beach though, so I didn’t get too much of a chance to ski or snowboard when I was younger. I have gone, but not often. My dad is from the East Coast, so he would take us, but I wouldn’t really get into it, so Utah is a good place to learn. I definitely enjoy reading, art, and painting.
What are your career aspirations and goals?
Like I said earlier, I started college wanting to major in biology, biochemistry specifically, and then a minor in business/entrepreneurship. I wanted to attend med school and one day wanted to own my own practice, but now I’m leaning away from med school; however, I am still interested in health. I’m not sure where it is going to lead me yet. I am a freshman so I have a little time, but it’s difficult. It’s a good difficult though, because I have so many interests, again with health, but also finance, and potentially being a part of the stock market and investing. I have a lot of things that I could potentially want to do, but I’m just trying to figure out my path.
What is your favorite part of living on campus?
Ooh! Living on campus has actually been really great, especially as a freshman being out of state. I’ve met so many great individuals and I’m really close to the Student Life Center. I really enjoy being active and working out a lot. It’s nice and convenient to be close to my classes, but it is also a stunning campus. I think we’re all so incredibly lucky to be able to go to school here. You know, you look outside and the mountains are snowcapped and the trees are changing colors, it’s just so great.
What made you want to live at Lassonde Studios?
Honestly, I was so captivated when I came here on a campus visit. The exterior of the building is beautiful, but then you come in and it’s just this vibrant environment and atmosphere. People are always moving around, studying, and collaborating. I just felt excited when I came in and walked through the doors. I went to a really small, Catholic high school and it was an amazing experience, but also a little bit more sterile. Here you have creativity and the ability to be what you want to be and have that freedom. So that was a big part of it, knowing that I was going to be in a place that would allow me to grow into the person I want to be.
Why did you want to come to the University of Utah?
I actually used to play club volleyball pretty competitively. I was looking to go here or the University of Tennessee, and I visited both campuses. I really fell in love with both, truthfully, but the weather here is amazing and a little bit better than the humidity in the South. I visited, it was great, and then I actually stopped playing volleyball, but still applied to both schools. I applied to the business program here because I had heard of its great reputation and I felt good when I came here, there was just this feeling. I visited a ton of campuses through sports traveling over the years and this was definitely one of my favorites. It was honestly the campus environment, the weather, outdoor opportunities, and everything just came together perfectly. I feel so lucky to be here and I’m excited for the future!