Julio Delgadillo of Buoyclub

CYstarters Spotlight Story: Buoyclub

This story is part of a series featuring each of the fourteen startups in the CYstarters 2022 summer cohort. Each student has the opportunity to focus on their startup or business idea while receiving $6,500 or up to $13,000 (per team), along with mentorship, accountability, and educational sessions on how to build a business. 

By Samantha Dilocker, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship 


Get to know:  Julio Delgadillo

Age: 22 

Education: Senior majoring in industrial design  

Hometown:  Des Moines, IA 


Currently working on: Buoyclub, a clothing brand made to uplift people’s spirit through cool messages and unique designs. 


Have you always seen yourself starting something?  

Yes. I have, ever since I was a kid.   


When did you start working on Buoyclub, and who or what inspired you?  

I started working on Buoyclub during the pandemic. It wasn’t really an actual thing until 2021. I spent about eight months researching designers from Italy, local designers here in Des Moines, and kids that I saw on Twitter designing their stuff and putting it out on Instagram. I was inspired. I used to be embarrassed to show my artwork, but I thought, if they’re doing it, I should do it too. Des Moines people really inspired me. I did a lot of research, even on rappers and celebrities, what they were wearing; I’ve always thought that was so cool. Mainly since I was stuck doing nothing in my basement, I researched everything. Color palettes, shoe silhouettes, anything that made up the aesthetic I was looking for.   


What excites you about being an entrepreneur?  

Being independent! Being hungry. I’m always thinking of what I can do next and how I can push the envelope. What’s not been done in Iowa yet? That keeps me really motivated.  


What is your biggest goal for your business?   

I’ve always imagined Buoyclub to have a storefront. Ideally, somewhere in downtown Des Moines, a nice, bougie but minimal place, or even opening a Buoyclub coffee shop. That’s the end goal I see. I’d also love to create a Buoyclub scholarship.  


What has been your biggest challenge thus far, and how have you overcome it?  

Being by myself and being my own critic. Doing everything by myself makes me really biased. I tend to think I’m doing everything right when in reality, some of the stuff I’m making is sometimes not good. Thankfully I have siblings, and I can show them my work and get their feedback. Sometimes they’re like, “Man, what are you doing? This is kind of wack.” Running this business by myself is like looking in a mirror. Sometimes I look in the mirror, and I can’t really accurately judge myself. Sometimes, we don’t see anything wrong in ourselves. That’s the biggest challenge so far. I’ve overcome this by leaning on my siblings and feedback from colleagues within my college. I’m surrounded by design students, so why not use that to my advantage? They really give me good criticism for what needs to be pushed forward.   


How has entrepreneurship at Iowa State impacted you?  

It took me a long time to recognize me starting Buoyclub as being entrepreneurial. I was just making t-shirts and putting designs on them. I forgot that was classified as entrepreneurship. Iowa State’s entrepreneurship program helped me to validate my idea. Being in CYstarters has been really eye-opening already. I finally realized, “Oh my gosh, this is actually a business that I can really pursue.” That’s been so eye-opening. I’m thankful for that.   


What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student?  

Find something you’re passionate about, and honestly, put all your eggs in one basket. Why not? We’re young. We don’t have anything crazy to lose. Go for it, whatever it is, wholeheartedly and pursue it one hundred percent. If you’re really driven, and you really want something, I believe you will achieve it.   


How can we support Buoyclub?  

Retweet and like my posts! Comment, and share my posts with your mother, your grandpa, and your teachers! I love seeing a variety of people in my clothes. You don’t even have to buy; support can literally be telling me you like the design.