Jackson Ensley ’22 combines boundless energy, passion and hard work to grow POPCYCLE

The ability to turn an idea into a product that truly functions for a community is a rare skill. Jackson Ensley ’22 is one of the talented and dedicated few that have honed this ability. His secret? Hours of hard work.

A New Jersey native, Jackson gleaned an entrepreneurial mind from his first role models: his father and his grandfather (Clifford Ensley ’69, ’70, G’71). Entrepreneurs themselves, they passed on a “do it yourself” mindset to Jackson, who has already begun his first professional venture, POPCYCLE, a company formed to connect budding designers and clothing brands on campus with the broader Syracuse University community. Jackson and his partner began with a series of popup shops around campus last year that were unfortunately cut short when campus closed in the spring. Faced with this dilemma, the POPCYCLE team began the design of a virtual platform to continue connecting fashion enthusiasts on campus. In May they began the design of a website which launched September 7th. Only a few days later, many items off the site have sold out.

Jackson first became interested in fashion in high school, but quickly found that he was more passionate about the marketing and business aspect of the industry. In the future, he hopes to expand POPCYCLE beyond the SU community to become a marketplace that can serve creators from different college campuses across the country. For now, connecting designers to buyers is reward in itself, but he has hopes of eventually making the venture profitable. To him, entrepreneurship is really all about working towards his goals on his own accord and fostering confidence in his ability to make tough decisions. In this way, POPCYCLE is a direct representation of his pure dedication and hard work.

When he was still getting started, Jackson was surprised by the amount of effort it took to realize his plan. Looking back, he finds that some of the hardest work often goes unseen by the consumer. For example, last year, each of the two popup shops required months of planning; hours which a customer passing through might not even consider. However, in his eyes, every hour he puts into his company is an investment in the brands he supports, his partners, and his future as an entrepreneur.

Jackson is pursuing marketing management in the Whitman School of Management at SU. While most of his time is dedicated to POPCYCLE, he also holds a position on the editorial board of FADS, a fashion collective on campus, as the head of merchandise.

Most recently, Jackson has joined the Blackstone LaunchPad as an Orange Ambassador, specifically focusing on marketing for the platform. Orange Ambassadors are generously funded through a gift from Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture) who is Minister of Evolution and President of the Republic of Tea. These positions were created to nurture the “orange experience” in the SU community, and there is no one who brings more passion to this role than Jackson who has an eye for vintage collegiate clothing and a very unique Syracuse collection.

Throughout the development of POPCYCLE, Jackson used the LaunchPad as a collaborative and supportive space to bounce ideas around, receive mentoring, and hone-in on his vision for the online marketplace that his company has become. He cites the LaunchPad, its staff and its leadership as integral to the success of his brand.

In his new role, Jackson hopes to “pay it forward” and give other creative and entrepreneurial students the opportunity to receive such boundless and essential support as they pursue their passion.

This semester the POPCYCLE team is holding socially safe pop-up drop off and pick up hours in the LaunchPad. Check out their product line on their website here.

Story by Ellen Jorgensen ’23, LaunchPad Orange Ambassador; photo supplied