From tip-off to T-shirts: basketball player finds passion in business

Maya+Calder+wearing+a+shirt+from+her+clothing+line%2C+Mac+Apparel.+

Courtesy of Maya Calder

Maya Calder wearing a shirt from her clothing line, Mac Apparel.

Ansley Puckett, A&C Editor

After a long day on the basketball court dribbling, shooting and passing, one App State women’s basketball player then goes home to plan, design and manage a clothing brand. 

Loving clothes and fashion her whole life, senior Maya Calder decided to start her own business in January 2020. Calder owns and operates Mac Apparel, a clothing brand that offers T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, shorts and hats.

Maya Calder surrounded by clothes from Mac Apparel. Calder said she’s always had an interest in business. (Courtesy of Maya Calder)

Some of her designs include matching sweat suits sets that come in red, grey and pink and feature the brand’s double M design surrounded by wings. The line also offers customers shorts with the word “Mac” and shirts saying “New Drip.”

Naming her clothing line Mac Apparel after her initials: M.A.C., Calder designed the line’s logo herself, bringing it to life with the help of a friend and realizing her dream of owning a business. 

“I’ve always been interested in the business. I love business. I love getting money. I love selling stuff,” Calder said. “I think I do a good job at it.”

After teaching herself how to start a line of clothing, her business got off to a slow start.

Calder said the clothing brand was delayed after several manufacturers sent her the wrong material and products, wasting her time and money. 

“That’s when I realized, you have to fail before you actually succeed at something,” Calder said. “I was getting real annoyed, and I was like, ‘Maybe this is too much.’” 

However, after researching several manufactures, she said she found one that fit her vision for the brand’s product quality and appearance.

“When I finally got the right manufacturers, they put my ideas to life,” Calder said. “Somebody that can understand what you’re trying to tell them and make it come to life, that’s one of the main things, so when I found that person, it just made it way easier.”

Calder said it has also been challenging to balance her responsibilities and the clothing brand, pushing her to make time for her passions and her obligations.

Senior power forward Maya Calder going for a shot against the ETSU double team.

“It’s really hard. It’s time management,” Calder said. “Because I have practice and schoolwork, I gotta kind of put the clothing brand off for a little bit, and then when I have time from school and basketball, that’s when I try to focus on my clothing brand.” 

Despite the challenges, Calder said the best part of running her business is the support from family, friends, teammates and coaches.

Tyquita Jackson, a friend of Calder’s, met her at a party while she was planning Mac Apparel and jumped at the opportunity to buy clothes from her line. 

“I think she does a really great job at marketing it,” Jackson said. “Just to see her on the social media platform marketing, offering rewards and things like that for her customer base or her clients, I just think it’s amazing as a college student and a basketball player at the same time.”

Jackson said she admires Calder’s ability to face new challenges even without knowing what to expect. 

“I just think her being able to get it kicked off,” Jackson said. “Just taking those talents and abilities outside of school, outside of sports, outside of everything else she’s dedicated to, you know her family, that’s a big step.” 

Calder said she’s been amazed by the reactions and responses to her clothing, motivating her to continue the business even through the challenges. 

“The feedback has been mostly positive. Feedback that makes me want to keep going and keep creating more designs,” Calder said.

In the future, Calder hopes to grow her brand to a larger scale while inspiring other people to follow their passion as she did with her business. 

“Anything you put your mind to or any dream you have, or any passion you have, just go ahead and do it,” Calder said.