In 2016, Christian Zeron was a senior at Seton Hall, a Catholic studies major and the winner of the annual Pirates Pitch competition. Two years later, he is the founder and owner of a thriving, up-and-coming business, Theo & Harris.
The company mainly sells vintage watches, but if you happen to come across the Theo & Harris website, the brand caters to a whole range of content, including reviews and new releases. Making $1.6 million this year in sales, it’s safe to say that business is booming.
It might seem strange for a Catholic studies major to pursue a career in business, but for Zeron, his major was something that not only helped him win the Pirates Pitch competition, but also helped his business.
Every year, Seton Hall gives students the opportunity to pitch a business idea that can one day turn into a real company. Zeron did just this, winning $6,000 and turning Theo & Harris the idea, into Theo & Harris the company.
According to Zeron, his Catholic studies degree was and still is a part of his success.
“The Catholic studies major is so free,” Zeron said. “It creates an environment to allow people to think about analytical and critical issues.”
Thinking critically is one of the tools the alum credits in his work ethic. Since learning from thinkers like St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas requires depth and complexity, Zeron was well prepared to enter the entrepreneurial field and manage an “online marketplace.”
If critical thinking is one of the core driving points behind the start-up, then storytelling is a close second.
“My dad got a Rolex when he turned 40 – and I remember it meaning so much to him,” he said.
Zeron mentioned that since his father grew up less than affluent, a Rolex isn’t just a watch, but something people aspire to own one day.
“When he saw that it was a Rolex, I remember him starting to cry and thought to myself, ‘Why is my dad crying?’” Zeron said. “That’s when I realized that watches could mean a lot more than time.”
Fully committing to Theo & Harris wasn’t a hard decision. After graduating, the business was still brand new, finding its legs in the field, yet Zeron’s conviction never wavered. In fact, he admits to believing in the company’s success due to faith.
“My strong opinion was built on very weak foundation,” he said. “There was no real reason why I felt so confidently about it, I just had a feeling.” Since its beginning, the company’s sales have consistently risen, so that ‘feeling,’ must have been a good one.
Zeron’s firm confidence in Theo & Harris was something well noted before he even entered Pirates Pitch.
Professor Susan Scherreik, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and former professor of Zeron’s, noticed his passion for his start-up idea. and urged him to enter.
Entrepreneurship isn’t always easy, according to Scherreik, but she praised Zeron for sticking with the start-up even when it wasn’t a sure thing.
“He believes in his ability to overcome the inevitable challenges that arise and grow this business,” she said.
Dr. Ines Murzaku, professor of Ecclesiastical History, is someone Zeron credits as helping him along the way in academia. She also echoed the same sentiments as Scherreik. Murzaku said, “Since the first time I spoke to him, there was no doubt in my mind that Christian will become a learned and ethical business person.”
Looking ahead this year, Zeron spoke of linking with like-minded brands that fit within the aesthetic of Theo & Harris.
“Brands that represent value and style, and story is the future for 2018 and beyond,” he said.
Megan Beauchamp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.