Jawad Malik was only 21 years old when he decided to leave university and pursue his ambitions. Although he had only one year left to get his diploma and an admirable 3.5 GPA, Jawad felt that he could no longer justify the cost of tuition for the quality of education he was receiving and therefore decided to cut his loses.
It was at that time that he officially launched IDRESE – a footwear brand that would go on to disrupt the men’s custom footwear market.
Of course, this was not an instant decision for Jawad. Since Freshman year, this young entrepreneur was building an infrastructure that would one day allow IDRESE to prosper. IDRESE meaning Prince in Welch is a name that he believes reflects value and self-worth, but to spread this message to men across the globe he had to commit to the task of getting IDRESE launched; to take a significant risk.
“Undoing the preconceived societal notions in my head that dropping out was the ultimate failure in life and pursuing a ‘dream’ instead was the most difficult, but most rewarding experience I have gone through.” – Jawad says.
So how did this idea become a life pursuit?
The Birth of a Great Idea
Jawad shares that IDRESE was inspired by a tradition that has been around for decades before the internet. There were a lot of existing cobbler shops around Europe that were giving clients the freedom of picking the types of leathers, fabrics, and model type shoe they desired (Oxfords, brogues, boots, slippers, etc.). These cobblers would then handcraft for their clients a custom made shoe within a period of 6-8 months aligning to their exact specifications.
“What we did is we took this traditional experience and digitalized it – Allowing our customers from all over the world to design their own personalized (dream) shoes from the comforts of their own home…” – Jawad says.
And not only that, Jawad and his team managed to lower the production time to 4 weeks or less while still maintaining strict quality control, which is a first for many made-to-order brands.
One of the best features that IDRESE offers is that their shoes are Goodyear welted, which is the costliest and most labor-intensive form of craftsmanship in the market. Yet by using a “direct-to-consumer” business strategy of removing the middle-men & minimizing overhead, they are able to keep expenses low enough that the brand has become one of the few Goodyear welted footwear providers to offer handmade footwear for $290 and below.
“Longevity, aesthetics, and comfort at a great value, and nothing less; that’s our mission.” –Jawad declares.
Advice from Jawad to Other Young Entrepreneurs
“Focus on your physical, financial, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being every single day. These are the core foundations of what makes a strong-minded and healthy individual.” – Jawad shares with us.
Reading every day, going to the gym, exercising, eating healthy, having an organized lifestyle, and consistently moving forward with your business goals are significant actions that differentiate the ‘wantrepreneur’ from the entrepreneur. A strict schedule, Jawad believes, is crucial to building a business.
Jawad also states that delusion is best avoided,
“If something is not working, that’s fine; accept it, learn from it, and move on. Do not get emotionally invested in a false fantasy. Stick to the facts such as finding out whether or not there’s even a market for your product, to begin with.”
Jawad’s final advice to every young, and motivated person is to be yourself, work hard, and follow your life goals. Dropping out of college is not a necessary thing. If you are keen on the career path you have picked, then go all in for it.
“The primary goal in life is to catch the opportunities and prosper personally and professionally so that we may give back to society-,” Jawad proclaims. “To do so, we must find what we love and dedicate ourselves to it religiously.”
The Path of the Entrepreneur
Jawad shares with us how his father’s entrepreneurial spirit was what spurred his ambitions.
“I still remember going to the flea market yelling on top of my lungs selling merchandise that my father would give me and remembered the thrill of making a buck,” Jawad recalled. “The accumulation of many of these moments of what I called ‘ride alongs’ with my father is what allowed me to obsess over the idea of wanted to be a businessman.”
Living and growing up in a family of entrepreneurs played a significant impact on Jawad’s young mind. Seeing his family not go through the traditional routes of education and job seeking allowed him to view many moments in his life as opportunities rather than risks.
However, it wasn’t the money, the cars, or the big house, Jawad says…but the desire of living a life of total autonomy that makes entrepreneurship attractive.
“My end goal is the same as my initial goal, and that is to make a world a better place for not only myself and my family, but to the people around me — I want to create products that add value, but I also want to utilize the profits for a greater philanthropic cause.” – Words with a lot of meaning from Jawad.
What’s the bottom line?
To All Students Who Are Thinking to Drop Out of College
Dropping out of college is a tough choice for a 20-23-year-old kid to make. That’s why Jawad’s advice to young hustlers is to take some time to consider if they should leave university and have a solid reason backing up that decision. If you wish to leave college, you must still value the pursuit of knowledge.
“Our pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for our decision making, doesn’t mature until we are between the ages of 23-25. To believe that we know it all before this age is foolish.” – Jawad states.
In today’s world, the rising costs of tuition are making the pursuit of being a college graduate unattainable to most. But there is always hope Jawad says,
“With the flow of information and mass globalization, you can learn anything and reach out to anyone in an instant, making the college process obsolete and slow. The skills you attain through self-education are worth more to a true leader than a piece of paper with your name on it.”