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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Strictly Southern: Aggie owned and influenced

Photo by Wesley Holmes — The Battalion

Political science seniors Anthony Valdez and Jose Avila own an A&M-inspired clothing company.

Two Texas A&M seniors have expanded their reach past academics with the purchase of a local clothing business, where they hope to produce t-shirts and bowties centered around an A&M tradition.
Strictly Southern is a clothing company that started in 2012, but was recently bought out by political science seniors Anthony Valdez and Jose Avila. The company’s elephant logo is a nod to Elephant Walk, an A&M tradition where seniors pass through memorable campus hot spots as “elephants” — Aggie jargon for senior — looking for a place to “die,” or graduate.
“People across the nation will hopefully be wearing these clothes,” Valdez said. “And people look at the elephant, and will be like, ‘Well you know what, it’s just a elephant.’ But to Aggies, to us, it’s Elephant Walk. This is our mark on the company, our mark on Texas A&M.”  
Valdez said the concept of owning a company is still surreal.  
“The fact that we’re business owners at the age of 21 — it’s just crazy to think that this is our thing,” Valdez said. “This is something that we have had the privilege to be a part of and take ownership of.”
Avila said the Texas A&M community has been supportive and receptive to the startup so far.
“Texas A&M has really given us a sense of community, a sense of family that we’re able to put this company in a safe place which is Aggieland,” Avila said. “We can trust that it will take off because of the community at A&M.”
Avila said part of what makes the experience so special is that the company was founded at A&M.
 “I mean Texas A&M has been our life, and Texas A&M is where we met,” Avila said. “We love the company for starting here and want it to continue being Aggie-owned. I didn’t want him [the previous owner] to sell it to someone who wasn’t going to keep it at Texas A&M.”
Jenna Bergstedt, close friend of both owners and agricultural science senior, said she hopes Valdez and Avila can inspire other students.
“They’re working very hard and when they continue to grow this business,” Bergstedt said. “I hope they can use this experience to spread to other students, and tell them that it’s a great opportunity to go out and try multiple things while you’re young, while you can ­— Especially while you’re here on campus and have so many connections with people you’re own age.”
While both Valdez and Avila have career goals beyond owning a small business, they intend to continue Strictly Southern for as long as possible.
“It’s something that you like and something that you do not only because it becomes a hobby but because it gave you so much and put you where you’re at and you can’t just let it go,” Avila said.

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