Morristown, N.J. (April 13, 2015) – Ira Kaifa's job entails finding used, rare, and collectible sneakers. He also scavenges thrift stores and consignment shops for vintage apparel, from which he redesigns jackets, scarves, joggers, and ski masks. There is a market out there for anything vintage and Ira is at the forefront of vintage trends.
After attending Rutgers and County College of Morris, Ira, who grew up in East Orange, N.J., came to the College of Saint Elizabeth on the recommendation of his sister, an alumna, who had had a wonderful experience here. Enrolling technically with sophomore status, he completed his Bachelor's in Business Administration in one year, graduating in 2014 and immediately enrolled in the Master's in Business program, which he plans to complete in a year-and-a-half.
While attending CSE, Ira discovered the company SNKRBST (pronounced Sneaker Beast) through a friend. He pursued an internship and was writing website content. This led to a full-time position upon his undergraduate graduation. The company is owned by Daymond John of the TV show Shark Tank fame. Ira has ideas that he brings to the management, some of which they have used in terms of new product design. He is currently a brand ambassador and project manager, setting up conventions for collectible sneakers and working directly with vintage brands like Versace, Adidas, Coogi, and Etonic to innovate new designs and revamp their retro nostalgia. Ira is also in the process of developing a website for new products being redesigned from vintage pieces.
Ira informs us, "I've directed music videos, I've styled celebrities, and I've designed products that are currently in production. It's been fun, but it's very easy to get lost in all the action. I know that I have to use my education and work even harder to make a name for myself within this industry."
He has an acute eye for trends and enjoys the fashion part of the industry, but has loftier goals – such as someday owning his own company in the entertainment or fashion worlds. Meanwhile, he is learning from practical experience and enjoying the master's program.
"School is extremely important," he says. "Getting an education offers a different outlook on one's business position and has allowed me to make well-informed decisions when pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors."
Ira has strong opinions about the value of networking as well. "I got my current position through a friend that I met at a concert. He brought me into the company, but I took it upon myself to shine from there!"
What would he say to someone investigating CSE?
"This is a small community with professors who want to turn out degrees, not numbers," he counsels. "You can't get lost here and there are many people who only want you to succeed."