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Alumnus successfully dives into entrepreneurship; launches lapel pin brand

Jeremiah AllenWhat started as a form of therapy has turned into a successful business for alumnus Jeremiah Allen ’04. Allen, the creator of Rook & King, transformed one of his darkest moments in life into works of art; creating unique lapel pins.

“During the time I was in the thick of battling the depression, I started making the pins and discovered it was a meditative experience for me. I started making them for myself, just to fill my own voids, as I was unable to find the type of pieces I was personally looking for. I had no idea others would eventually gravitate towards my work,” said Allen.

Closeup of pin on lapelAllen, who never planned to become an entrepreneur, based his business model on the game of chess. He admits he’s not the best player, but the game has been an intricate part of his strategy for success.

“I named my business Rook & King after the chess pieces,” said Allen. “The rook and king pieces have a maneuver called “castling” that is generally recommended the player execute within the first 7 moves. The whole point is to better set yourself up for success. I always try to train myself to look at life similarly, in the sense it involves the art of knowing how to move strategically.”

Despite the heavy load of juggling a full-time job as a writer with Learning & Development, and running a business, Allen said he is appreciative of the success gained, “I still haven’t gotten used to it. It’s all still deeply moving for me.”

Allen added that his success is also attributed to his experience as a Smithite.

“JCSU is where my roots got planted. I had professors that doubled as mentors and spoke life into me even after I left. Those interactions and relationships shaped me. I’d like to believe I carried that with me ever since.”

Allen hopes current Smithites do the same when it comes to their careers. His one rule of advice for students. Be dope! “Whatever it is you love, find a way to incorporate it into your daily life. It doesn’t matter how far-fetched it may seem, Allen explained. “We learn as we go so get started where you are with what you have.”

Closeup of pin

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