Downtown State College seems to have students covered for all their tailgate needs — however, one former student has found a gap in the market.
Mercedes Fraistat, 22, a Penn State alumnus from Jackson, New Jersey, is the creator of Scrunchies by Cedes — selling homemade, Penn State scrunchies via Instagram.
She currently works for her family’s mechanics shop, has an internship with New Jersey Youth Soccer, takes two Penn State online classes and runs her growing side business.
“I always wanted a Penn State scrunchie,” Fraistat said. “I watched a video online, and I got the fabric from some Pennsylvania and New Jersey stores. It really does not cost that much to make them.”
For a while, she thought this business was not going to work. Then suddenly, her business was blowing up — and continues to do so.
“My friends’ moms were sharing them on the Penn State Mom’s Facebook page,” Fraistat said. “I didn’t imagine that in three days, I would have 45 scrunchies ordered. I have one order going to California for 12 scrunchies. My phone does not stop blowing up. Literally I come home and sit for three hours making scrunchies.”
Fraistat said she is now getting requests for other colleges and sports teams, as well.
She said people have reacted positively toward her business, calling her scrunchies “amazing,” and encouraging her to continue her business.
Liz Cooney is one of the people who purchased the scrunchies.
“I think they are really cute,” Cooney (senior-labor and employment relations and public relations) said, “[Fraistat is] personable and awesome and will accommodate whatever styles you want. I’ve made this my everyday scrunchie.”
Fraistat recently came to State College for Homecoming weekend for people who ordered schrunchies off her Instagram page to pick them up in person. While in the area, she took orders on the spot, as well.
As for how she caters to students and adults alike, Fraistat said she’s “trying to take in people’s feedback.”
She wants to keep continuing her small side business for now.
“You have to be aware before going into it, think about what you want to do and who you want to cater for,” Fraistat said. “I never saw anyone at a tailgate with a Penn State scrunchie before I started making them. If you want to start a side business, you have to make sure that it is going to work.”