Challenge Convention, Take Entrepreneurship 202 – The Scarlet

It’s been almost a year and a half at Clark for me, and I can definitely say that the saying “If you don’t try, you’ll never know,” is behind me until I graduate. I took a music production class that changed my life; a meme class too deep to be a meme class; and an environmental engineering class that made me realize I was too focused on art to be a scientist.

This semester, I enrolled in “Entrepreneurial Marketing and Communications” aka ENT 202 (which also gives you the POP requirement for PLS!) and after a whole semester, I can say that this class taught exactly what it was about in Clark: Challenging Convention.

Our class has less than 20 Clarkies, but we have a large classroom inside Jonas Clark Hall. Professor Lauren Kendzierski (@thecolorfulchef on Instagram) introduced the syllabus as a website instead of a standard PDF, and almost everyone in the class shared what they wanted to achieve for their businesses in this class. Throughout the semester, we did fun and creative things like a mood board in the craft studio, listened to professionals and students share their experiences, and even made a Tiktok in class!

After sharing a few afternoons, Elena Perez, owner of the social-media trend “Kindly Anonymous” (@kindlyanonymousclarku on Instagram); Jack O’Reilly, Owner of “Life Is Bad” (@life_is_bad_official on Instagram); and I had the opportunity to sit and reflect on how the class improved our companies and made us renovate its initial concept.

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Kind Anonymous started as a business for another class and told his professor he probably wouldn’t pursue it after that semester. However, someone reached out asking if they could request a bag, and their Instagram page already has over 300 followers!

The product is a special bag filled with candy, a sticker, a crayon/pencil, and a message on a piece of paper. The company’s goal is to move to fill the bag with products that are more driven for mental health, and “useful” items, while maintaining the organic and kind spirit that the bag holds. The mission of Kindly Anonymous is to normalize being kind to others, or to yourself sometimes. “Right now, it’s weird to give something to someone, but we want to change that, and give people a treat as a thank you.”

Life is bad was an idea Jack had in 11th grade, and when ENT class came around, he thought it was the perfect opportunity to dive into the idea and see what could really be done with it. “We usually see “Life Is Good” shirts with casual and goofy designs, I wanted to make it look like a parody, but usually, it’s the little problems that annoy someone more than they should,” he says. .

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Following the “simplicity is key” mantra, the Life Is Bad shirt designs are mostly stick figures who have accidentally spilled milk on themselves, or caught their belt loop on the door knob and are getting stressed about it. Despite the negativity, the goal is to ignore the bad things in life, because when they happen, it’s always the last thing in the day that puts you on top – you just explode.

“If you can make those little things small it’s just one thing not to worry about and it becomes harder to explode and in the end you think: I think it’s just my luck now, and laugh about it” (O’Reilly, 2022).

In my case, I had no business idea that was fixed in the first place! But Professor Kendzierski recommended that I do one where I can “have fun” because the class is about publicity and ways to boost social media presence (and of course sales) to reach a wider audience (but always be true to your appropriate place).

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That’s how I created the Climax Collective (@climax.collective on Instagram). A non-physical space that recruits (and makes open calls for) artists who want to “I-State-the-art”, and challenge convention. The mission? To promote the works of each artist from the “collective”, and create a network between members to collectively help each other in the art world. The impact of ENT 202 on my business was more than creative, because with each campaign I tried to expand the methods of communication. Even if that got me advertising on every whiteboard around the library, trying to recruit artists every Wednesday at the Red Square Pop-Up, or spending hours on Canva.com creating cool designs for every Instagram post.

Overall, ENT 202 helped us experiment with new marketing and communication strategies for our businesses. Prof. always pushed. Kendzierski to go beyond our comfort zone, and try to make “connections” in the real world, instead of just working for the grade. In ENT 202, “Something simple, something fun, and something you love” can be a great creation that defies convention.

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