In 2005, Stephan Harman ’08 was making customized corn hole sets, sold by his microcompany, UD Custom Cornhole, in the UD Sophomore Experience. Now, he’s making customized sushi rolls, sold by his company, FUSIAN, at locations in Cincinnati and Dayton, with another opening this winter in Columbus.
Though Harman graduated from UD with a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship and the experience of running a business under his belt, he didn’t directly pursue it as a career. He moved to Aspen, Colo. for two years, where the idea of an innovative sushi restaurant was born among the ski slopes and the snow.
“I knew I wasn’t going to work for someone or sit at a desk all day,” Harman said. “I needed something engaging, I wanted to get my hands in every part of business.” Though Harman and his two co-founders had been warned not to go into the restaurant business, they were undaunted. UD’s entrepreneurship program provided Harman with many skills needed to own his own company, including managing people, finances and selling. “Owning a business is not a job, it’s a challenge; it’s a passion … it’s not a nine to five gig, it’s a lifestyle.”
Harman stresses the importance of keeping things simple. “If there is a way to simplify something, do it. My business partner Zach likes to quote Kid Cudi and say, ‘The ones that make it complicated, never get congratulated.’ It’s true.”
Owning FUSIAN isn’t just a nine to five job because FUSIAN is more than a restaurant; it’s a lifestyle. The tagline “Easy. Casual. Sushi.” is a philosophy that the restaurant and its people live by. Harman doesn’t view FUSIAN as a sushi company. “We’re social and ubiquitous,” he said. “Our job is to create an experience that leaves people feeling satisfied and further engaged in our brand.”