Professor: Aaron Dinin
Year: Fall 2016
“Some basic entrepreneurial infrastructure is universal to all ventures. Where possible, this course will attempt to help everyone learn more about these items. Specifically, we’ll learn about cultivating our personal “brands” as entrepreneurs, and we’ll learn about customer development for our businesses/products.
In addition, since everyone in the course will be starting from somewhere different and working toward a different goal, this course hopes to “fill in the blanks” wherever you need help. My goal is to provide the support you need based on the current status of your project.” (Dinin Syllabus 1-2)
For my final project, I created a pitch deck for LAJA collection and pitched LAJA’s value proposition and progress to classmates and the I&E staff. I shared LAJA’s founding story, her value proposition and the progress I made from building her throughout my Duke career. The pitch deck also included customer testimonials and plans for the future assuming I were to receive $50,000 in funding.
The senior capstone was my second class with Aaron and it was a great way to finish up my I&E certificate. The class structure favored me because I was able to apply what I learnt in class to LAJA. My favorite aspect of class were the different entrepreneurs we got to hear from across the semester. We also read, discussed and challenged ideologies from books like “The 4 Hour Work Week” and “Nail it Then Scale it”. These books, the discussions and the guest speakers opened my mind to different way to search for and/or apply entrepreneurship in our everyday lives.
This class was another opportunity to get help and feedback on my business through my professor and classmates. Since I had launched a new collection the summer before, my focus was to sell my products. Thus, I launched a new series on my blog called #LAJAStyles where I style different Dukies in my products and I photograph them. I also used it as an opportunity to collect feedback on my designs, have a clearer picture of what they wanted and what drew them to the LAJA brand. Through this marketing tactic, I learnt the importance of getting the product in front of the customer, personalization in the customer’s experience and empowering individuals to push your brand. I had a fabulous time interviewing, styling and shooting my clients however the biggest challenge was coordinating schedules because Dukies are busy people.
My biggest learning lesson was the realization that entrepreneurship manifests in different forms and there are several paths to success; all of which are viable and different.