Who are we? Edit
We are Daman Cox, Paulina Drucker, and Jason Tate. We are are senior management students in Bill Wales’ MGT 372 course and formed together to make Campus Coasters. Daman developed the idea for the coasters and had some early samples to work off of while Paulina and Jason explored possible other options and ways to improve the coasters. We had a lot of fun working together making coasters and going through all the iterations of trying to get the coaster just right. We worked through our failures though and were able to create a product that we think is something pretty cool.
Innovation Questioning Edit
At first we had two initial ideas of the coasters and Paulina’s idea of doing custom tapestries. We asked what do college students want that is unique and usually something you can’t get in Harrisonburg. After some initial questioning and exploration of interest, we found that the interest for both were present but that the tapestry interest would be much more reliant on price. After realizing that price would be too great an issue we dropped the tapestry idea and dove full force into innovating a coaster that college students would want.
Big Idea Hypothesis EditWe knew that college students like quirky, unique things and especially when those things show school spirit. Another fact we knew was that college students are often short on cash so we needed to develop an option that was affordable. We asked ourselves, are our coasters way to create something of desire but also cost efficient for our target customer? == Key Innovations ==
We made numerous innovations on our coaster throughout its numerous forms. At first we attempted to emulate the sample coaster that Daman had by using printed images with lacquer but found that the paper would become too damp and that air bubbles would form when the lacquer was applied. We then thought to use stickers instead for our coasters and attempt to use a fan to dry the coasters and prevent bubbles but that ended in some of the worst coasters we created. Finally we developed the idea of using lamination to create laminated logos and for the matter of the lacquer, creating a tape ring to contain and equally apply the lacquer across the face of the coaster. These two innovations proved to be key as the coasters came out much better looking and prepared for distribution.
Early Adopters Edit
The Early Adopters of our coasters were mostly our close friends and family who were interested in helping out our project. Another early adopter was Daman’s acquaintance in Baltimore, Jen, who agreed to buy a huge amount of coasters for her event planning work. We were able to sell a bunch of coasters right off the cementing of the final product due to their support.
Resources EditWe used wood bought online for a cheap price and all the additional tools and materials at Home Depot. We purchased the laminator at Walmart and used the power of the JMU color printer to fuel our logo production. We received most our orders in cash but used the Square app for a few purchases for those who couldn't pay in cash.
Minimum Viable Product Edit
Lessons Learned Edit
Overall we learned that with the right idea, college students will buy something if they think it’s something unique. We feel that we created a cool souvenir for them to take with them through college and as a token of their time spent at JMU. In hindsight we wish we discovered how to create our final product a little sooner and reduced some of that end of semester stress. We also learned not to buy anything before ensuring it is correct, as we received a bad order of stickers due to miscommunication with the sticker company. Finally, to have fun while innovating because being able to enjoy it makes it that much easier to create something truly unique.