Business Graduate Making Her Mark in Fashion and Food
After devoting 10 years in service to her country, Army veteran Jessica Starr Clemmons decided the moment had come for her to devote more time to her family. That was 2013, and at the time, she was the mother of two boys. “I started missing a lot of their events. “I’m a hands-on mother, so I had to make a change. One evening, I sat down with my family and told them that I had decided to go back to school.” Working days and attending school at night, that meant being away even more, but in the long run, Jessica knew it would pay off.
She had a clear plan. Jessica wanted to be a business owner and enrolled in the Business Management program at ECPI University’s Charleston campus. By 2015, she had earned her degree and began executing that plan. Having grown up in the small community of Jamestown, South Carolina, she had always felt that the people there had to travel too far to find good food and entertainment. So with the help of two of the campus’ faculty members, Jessica developed a business plan for the ACES Social Lounge. In the five years since opening its doors, ACES has become a favorite destinations for locals, dishing up breakfast, lunch, and serving as a site for baby showers, birthday parties, family reunions, and more.
“Enrolling at ECPI was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s like a home away from home, just such a supportive environment. My kids are the reason I do all this, from them cheering me on when I walked across the stage at graduation, and then seeing how proud they were when I opened the doors to my first business, it just makes all the hard work so worthwhile!”– Jessica Starr Clemmons, Charleston Campus Business Management Graduate
“There are so many things I learned at ECPI University that I use most every day,” says Jessica. “With the Project Management Certification I earned while attending ECPI, I was able to save a lot of money doing things like pulling my own permits and getting many of the jobs done myself.” Not one to rest on her own success, Jessica decided to pursue an additional business venture last fall when she opened A Starr’s Closet, an online clothing boutique where she models most of the clothes. “I’ve always been into fashion, but I also like to find clothes that are affordable,” she says. “I wanted other women to have that opportunity, to give them a place where they can find high-quality fashion at a reasonable price.”
Jessica also gives back to her alma mater as a Business Advisory Board member, providing feedback and ideas to help enhance the program. “Enrolling at ECPI was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she says. “It’s like a home away from home, just such a supportive environment. My kids are the reason I do all this, from them cheering me on when I walked across the stage at graduation, and then seeing how proud they were when I opened the doors to my first business, it just makes all the hard work so worthwhile!”