The Venture TeamEdit

Kelsey Olenych

Skills: Sales, Team Supporter

Resources: Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority

By creating a company that must overcome large fixed costs in such a short period of time, sales was one of the most important traits we were looking for in the search for a third team member. The Co-Presidents, Taylor and Jeff, thoroughly screened and interviewed all of the applicants and narrowed it down to three. Upon a final interview at Backcountry, Jeff offered Kelsey a sales position with the company largely in part due to her excellent sales experience from her time working at Hooters. While with the company, Kelsey excelled in pressure sales as well as convincing customers outside of our target market to make a purchase.

Taylor Wilhelm

Skills: Film Editing, Budgeting, Organization

Resources: Club Dodgeball

With the current experience of being the Vice President of the #3 Collegiate Dodgeball Team in the country, Taylor has plenty of experience leading an organization to success. This made for a smooth transition to Co-President with teammate Jeff Cooper. Taylor’s previous experience with producing Adult films transferred over to his ability to caption the evolution of our products throughout the semester. Fortunately at a young age, he developed an incurable disease of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This brought the organizational skills needed to help this company thrive with organizing the lists of sales, materials, and expenses.

Jeff Cooper

Skills: Marketing, Idea Generation

Resources: Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Club Dodgeball

Hailing all the way from Stamford, CT, Co-President Jeff Cooper brings with him the creative ideas of a true nutmegger. Jeff decided to stay in Harrisonburg this past summer to immerse himself in the culture of the Harrisonburg Community. While managing his exterior painting business, Jeff was able to gain insight with what did and did not appeal to the locals. This ended up being absolutely no help with our venture, but his experiences with running a business allowed for an efficiently run venture with this company.

Innovation Question Storming Edit

-What is our tribe?

-What do the people want who are in our tribe?


-What can we provide them given the resources available?

-What is a common item to have?

-How can you make a common item fashionable?

-How can you differentiate that item?

-Is it durable yet nice to touch?

-Is there a more efficient way to do this?

Big Idea Hypothesis Edit

For the members of the Club Dodgeball Team at James Madison University who want to represent their organization around campus, apparel is a stylish method to promote a reputable brand around campus that will attract more members by creating awareness. Unlike flyers, apparel allows students on campus to associate the Club Dodgeball team with a person they may know and provides a conversation starter to learn more about the organization.

Key Innovations Edit

Probably our most successful innovation idea was to offer multiple JMU Dodgeball apparel items rather than just one. This allowed us to create three diverse shirts that better suited the multiple preferences of the team members, which in turn increased our revenues. Additionally, allowing dodgeball members to actively participate in the design of the clothes demonstrated to them that their opinions really mattered to us. Including them in the design process increased their interest in the final products. By targeting customers outside of the dodgeball team, especially those who know someone on the team, we really broadened our reach. We received many more orders from individuals hoping to support the team.

Early Adopters Edit

The early adopters for the dodgeball apparel were the first of those willing to take a risk by preordering the clothes prior to actually getting them in.  They took a risk because there was a chance that the final products wouldn’t actually look like the designs. In fact, even after the first few customers ordered, we slightly changed the design of a few of the products. Their commitment to the products showed they trusted our judgments and signaled to the other customers that we would deliver desirable clothing. The early adopters for the phone chargers weren’t taking quite as big of a risk because we already had the product in hand when selling. The first buyers, however, helped in our following sales because we could tell future customers about the popularity of our product.

Resources Edit

SOS Advertising

110 W Grace St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801


277 Burgess Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Zach Cooper

Home Depot

121 Burgess Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Lessons Learned and Advice Edit

Our groups journey throughout this process was not always the smoothest despite the strong skill set that the group members brought from their respective fields. We experienced failures in each attempted venture. When we attempted to sell custom menorahs, we originally wanted to outsource everything and just flip it to make a profit, but that was way too expensive. We would have had to hand make each menorah to save on costs and we just did not have enough time to order all of the materials needed to then have time to create enough to make substantial profit. The lesson we learned from this setback is time is money. Our advice to future entrepreneurs is once you think of an idea start acting on it so you learn more information about how to make it work and if it is feasible quickly rather than waiting a couple weeks to then realize that idea won’t work.