Sarah Roberson Cummings (’17) threw everything she had into her dance career – ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and modern pointe. Dancing was her life until one day in 2011, when she broke her back in the middle of a dance competition, ending her career with one wrong move. “With newfound free time and a lot of creativity to spare, my parents bought me a few bottles of acrylic paint and brushes to fill my evenings and weekends,” Cummings said. While it took time to develop her skills, Cummings is now the proud founder and owner of The Redheaded Camel, a home decor, gift and apparel brand specializing in “hand-painted happiness.”
In 2013 Cummings, a freshman at Campbell University, decorated her residence hall room with do-it-yourself decor, prompting questions from her friends and other visitors, “encouraging sentiments ranging from ‘I thought you got that at a Hallmark store’ to ‘you should really start an Etsy shop,’” Cummings said. “That encouragement, along with the encouragement from my parents to give it a shot, gave me the confidence to start an Etsy shop that has blossomed into a whole world I never imagined.”
Cummings, a business administration major with a healthcare management minor, soon learned that opening her own shop as a college sophomore gave her hands-on experience with concepts that she had previously learned in class.
“Taking business classes while simultaneously running a growing business offered me a unique opportunity to see what my textbooks were talking about in real life, from taxes and bookkeeping to contracts and marketing. I was able to implement the lessons learned in the classroom in my real life as I was learning them,” she said. “Owning a business while getting a college degree, while working full time and running it full time before the age of 25 has certainly provided countless opportunities for growth. I have learned to be proactive in seeing problems before they arise, to position myself uniquely in what some may see as an oversaturated market, and to combat the ‘Amazon Prime’ mindset with custom, handmade products that are worth the wait.”
To Cummings, being a part of the Orange Owned network is a way to connect with other Campbell alumni with similar interests and values. “I am always grateful to be among good company, and this opportunity is one of those times. Being a part of the Orange Owned network, featured among people who know the value of hard work and the power of small business, is such an honor. I am excited to see how this new program creates new opportunities for Campbell alumni to succeed in business,” she said.
Orange Owned is now the next step to allowing Cummings to expand her business and interact with a new network of supportive alumni. “As a small business owner, the support of family, friends, colleagues, and people I might never get the chance to meet is paramount. Word of mouth and support on social media provides me with the opportunity to continue pursuing my dreams and serving others through The Redheaded Camel,” she said. “Being a part of a network designed to connect and share Campbell alumni-owned businesses with other members of our alumni community opens new doors and opportunities that I can’t wait to watch unfold.”
Sarah Roberson Cummings (’17) is the owner and founder of The Redheaded Camel. Learn more about her work at www.theredheadedcamel.com.
For more information on the Orange Owned recognition program visit alumni.campbell.edu/orange-owned.