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Connor Garrett
August 3, 2020

A Tale of Entrepreneurship Built on a Berry Friendship

Entrepreneurially driven Berry alums Connor Garrett ’15 and Jawad Mazhir ’13 first collaborated four years ago on StudyHubb, an app used to create study groups with like-minded peers. Today they’re involved in Lucid House Publishing, founded in 2018, with Garrett as the co-publisher and Mazhir as the director of technology and design, even as they pursue individual business endeavors.

Garrett, an English major with a creative writing concentration, moved to Los Angeles after finishing college and penned two poetry books and a novel while working as an advertising copywriter. He founded Lucid House Publishing after Mazhir urged him to create the business because “a writer/author who has the ability to run a publishing house is a powerful thing.”

Built on a partnership model, Lucid House Publishing is a departure from traditional publishing. The press is highly selective, developing manuscripts they believe in and guiding them through every phase of the publishing process. Garrett explains that a hybrid publisher champions the work of the author, who invests in the book project and retains most of the profits. He says, “The hybrid model treats the author like an entrepreneur. The publisher provides the services and is paid for their time while the author reaps the rewards.” 

Lucid House Publishing is an ambitious family undertaking. Garrett’s mom — journalist and author Echo Garrett — serves as the co-publisher. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Garrett and his father, photographer Kevin Garrett, co-authored the fantasy novel Spellbound under the Spanish Moss: A Tale of Southern Magic. Released in June, it has received praise from The Georgia Hollywood Review and Jonathan Haupt, executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center.

Garrett says his Berry experiences laid the foundation for success, and he matured while learning to manage time and stress: “Between working at the newspaper on campus, playing on the soccer team, designing an app, working on a fantasy novel (secretly) and attempting to keep up with my coursework, you could say it was a forced evolution — something that was absolutely necessary for me.” He still juggles a busy schedule, pulling in business as a freelance copywriter, journalist and startup consultant while developing new titles.

Like Garrett, Mazhir has a distinct flair for business. “I guess you can call me a serial entrepreneur,” he says. “I am the founder of a cooperative called Dream Collective. It serves more as an incubator/accelerator for independent entrepreneurs, freelancers, creative professionals, small businesses, etc. We all help each other grow and chase our dreams in a sustainable way.”

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As a consultant, Mazhir assists with startups, helps several entrepreneurs run their businesses, builds apps and websites, and manages design and social media. A biochemistry major, he started out in pre-med, but technology and entrepreneurship soon fascinated him. An art teacher unlocked his potential as a creative, and he taught himself how to design and code, and worked as a student graphic designer.

Mazhir says his science background has proven useful in his career: “Being a good entrepreneur means you are good with data and research. Berry made me excellent in that regard. But you also have to be good at critical thinking and problem solving. That is where the work program comes in and helps you build some real life experience.”

It’s said that the best job is doing what you love. For entrepreneurs like Garrett and Mazhir, doing what they love is a way of life — while supporting and believing in each other.

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