The Venture Team Edit
Our team consists of two Management majors, Katie Russo and Laura Brossman. We are both seniors with a TIE (Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship) concentration; Katie also has a concentration in European Business. Both of us contributed equally to our venture, but in different ways. Katie was the primary designer of our shirts. She also regularly updated our blog. Laura handled more of the logistics, including distributing shirts and taking care of shipping. We worked together to advertise our shirts, as well as to communicate with our customers. Katie's connections through her honors fraternity and friends helped us get a lot of interest and orders, while Laura's organization methods helped us effectively place and distribute our shirts to our customers.
Innovation Questioning Edit
The questions were mainly brainstormed during the first venture challenge since our second venture was a continuation of our first t-shirt project: What kind of t-shirt should we sell? Should it be relatively inexpensive? Or more expensive? Should it have a frocket? Should it be long-sleeve or short-sleeve? Should it be JMU related? If we made a JMU related shirt, we’d have an established brand and a huge market to sell to. But we wouldn’t be able to sell it on campus if we use the JMU logo, since the bookstore has exclusive rights.
Big Idea Hypothesis Edit
For the female JMU students/ Phi Sigma Pi students who like sorority-esque designs and have either a passion for their school or a passion for their fraternity but no shirt that merges these two passions, Monogrammed Tees is a t-shirt company that combines these two passions into one cute design. Unlike the JMU bookstore, Monogrammed tees offers affordable long-sleeved JMU shirts, and unlike most Phi Sigma Pi shirts, our t-shirt offers a feminine design specifically for the women of PSP.
Key Innovations Edit
The main difference between the shirts that JMU offers and our t-shirt was the design. While we did use the Duke Dog logo and the name of James Madison University, we incorporated them into a design that resembles that of a sorority. We felt that there was a market of women at JMU who liked the traditionally preppy and sorority design, but were not in an organization that provided such a shirt. We also offered the shirts at a price of $20.00, which is a much lower price than any long-sleeved t-shirt the bookstore offered. For the Phi Sigma Pi version of the shirts we took the original design and adjusted it to fit the crest of the organization. We kept the same colors since the fraternity’s colors are also purple and gold. The reason we believe the shirts were so successful was because we targeted them specifically to girls. Instead of going after a gender-neutral design as most shirts for this fraternity try to do (since it is co-ed), we narrowed our market to girls who enjoyed the sorority design of shirts, but were in a fraternity. The price for a long-sleeved shirt was again another selling point, as many of our customers have told us. The low price didn’t allow for much of a profit margin, but we made up the difference in the large quantity we were able to sell.
Early Adopters Edit
Early adopters of our JMU shirts were primarily friends, alumni, and members of Katie’s fraternity. These were the people who, upon talking to Katie and/or seeing our Facebook post about the shirt, immediately expressed interest and added their name and information to our order sheet (Google doc). These early adopters wanted to pre-order without even seeing the actual shirt; they only had a picture and our description to go on.
Early adopters of our PSP shirts were those who latched onto our MVP on the Facebook PSP group page. We just offered a picture of the design and asked if people would be interested. People tried to sign up before we even made the product available on our website.
Derek from Moxie, Harrisonburg post office, Square Up site, Square reader
Minimum Viable Product Evolution Edit
Team Venture Experience Summary Edit
Business Model Canvas
See image on right.
Lessons Learned & Advice for Future Students
1. Start early- develop an mvp early, don’t waste time
2. Customer discovery is key, we asked people we knew, people we didn’t know, classmates, people online, everyone what they thought of our design before we even put a cent into it
3. Shipping can be an unanticipated setback- costs and time vary for every order
4. Not purchasing shirts until we had customers
5. Do not try to design your own t-shirt just to save money, going through Moxie provided us with a professional looking design