This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.
We recently sat down with 16-year-old Julian Kresse from eStem Public Charter School. Julian has a very unique passion – bladesmithing. From a young age, he’s been involved in a martial arts practice that has exposed him to different techniques and approaches to the craft. Julian has taken initial interest and turned it in to a company through research, determination and skill.
NI: Hi Julian, tell us a little about yourself.
JK: I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and have lived here my whole life. From a young age, I was putting together puzzles and building things. I love to draw and design. When I was about 9 or 10, I started Cuong Nhu, a martial arts style. This completely changed my life for the better. I lost a lot of weight and became more confident in myself. When I was 11, I went to Italy for a year with my family. When I got back I continued Cuong Nhu. I was going everyday and then later started to take Kickboxing and Tai Chi. In Cuong Nhu, we started using weapons. I studied how these weapons were made, and fell in love with the craft.
NI: We heard you have significant side hustle called bladesmithing. How did that happen?
JK: I started studying bladesmithing because of Cuong Nhu and became interested in different techniques and approaches.
The idea for my business came from a life of always working with dull knives. I started thinking about a way to sharpen knives more effectively. I was familiar with the traditional Japanese methods of sharpening with a water stone, but I wanted to make sure my knives were precisely honed and sharpened. I looked around for a high quality sharpener. The best one I could find was something called an “Edge Pro”, but it $600 – $700. Then one fateful day, I found one for $5 at an estate sale.
NI: What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who has a passion, but doesn’t know what to do with it?
JK: One piece of advice that I’d give someone that has a passion but doesn’t know what to do with it, would be to study their passion as much as possible. Find other people that have the same passion and see what they are doing with theirs. The more people they meet with the same passion, the more friends and connections gained.
NI: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to other young entrepreneurs who want to start their own thing?
JK: You have to have the grit and self-control that comes with being your own boss. It’s up to you if you give up or not. It’s up to you to goof around or get down to business. Starting your own business is not easy there will be hard times that you think you will give up but you have to stay strong and see your idea through.