St. Thomas students find their beat; start business

St. Thomas graduate Jeff Sevaldson and senior Joey Nesbitt are marching to the beat of their own drum.

Last year, the pair started their own business called iW Drums, which creates affordable LED light kits that can be installed inside a drum set.

The idea came from a late night inspiration.

“Jeff runs into my room at three in the morning one night and was like ‘I want lights in my drum,’” Nesbitt said.

After pooling together $500 of their own money, they bought the supplies and started to custom fit their own drum sets with the lights.

“I remember Jeff was so nervous, he’s like, ‘Do you think anyone is gonna buy this?’ ‘What if we don’t sell any?’ Nesbitt said.

Since starting their business in August 2011, the duo has sold almost 100 kits. There are orders coming in all the time, even from places like Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Every time we sell a kit, I get excited,” Sevaldson said.

Being a young entrepreneur and new to the business world can be risky with the bad economy. But professor Alec Johnson said this is time most small businesses start, and being young could play in Nesbitt and Sevaldson’s favor.

“In some markets or industries that could be a challenge,” Johnson said. “In theirs, it’s not because their customer is young. It’s music, it’s youthful. They are selling to young emerging drummers, so in fact, that issue plays into their strengths because they can relate to their market.”

While things are going well for Nesbitt and Sevaldson so far, they said they do face some challenges.

“We both want it to be a life-long deal,” Sevaldson said. “Right now, we’re not at the point we can do it full time.”

However, both remain optimistic that their business will continue its success.

“If you have a crazy idea to light something up, we’re going to do it,” Nesbitt said.

The kits are only available on their website They range from $99 – $249.

Kristopher Jobe can be reached at

3 Replies to “St. Thomas students find their beat; start business”

  1. Thanks for the interview Kristopher – we had a good time!  We also have an internship on the UST Career Center site! For those who are interested look under engineering or marketing!

  2. These guys are going to make it big someday. Don’t forget about me, Jeff and Joey.

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