Tag Archives: Sustainability

What I learned from judging a $250K business plan contest… that might help you write yours.

This past summer I had the great pleasure of being a judge for the Chase Manhattan and Living Social “Mission Small Business” contest.  During that one week, I (and other judges each) reviewed about 600 business plan concepts. (About 70,000 responded.) There were 12 winners each receiving $250K.

First, almost all the plans fell into the middle range meaning they were good solid plans but didn’t stand out in some special way.  There were a few that were just plain confusing so much so that in some cases the name of the business was never mentioned, or I was left guessing what exactly the business was/did.

The ones that stood out, however, made sure that they answered all the questions asked in the entry information.  One of the key points that separated the winners was their passion which came across into the written word.  Another was their story…storytelling is very important because it draws the reader into your world and let’s them experience it.  Also important, and part of their stories, was how they overcame or were overcoming obstacles and their strength and tenacity to keep going no matter what.  One of the requirements was how the business contributed to the betterment of their community…and by that I mean not just writing a check to the local charity but actually having a positive impact on their local community. This included  job creation, another  very important factor.  Each of the 12 winners had all of these elements.

A word of caution…no funder wants to hear that your use of proceeds will go to retiring debt.  Unfortunately, no one cares about your past…they are funding your future.

When you’re asked or tasked with submitting a business plan, make sure to include all these aspects – they will help you stand out from the pack.

For details of the plan, names of the winners, and interviews with two final judges, one of whom was a sponsor, please visit the links below.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11669958/1/chase-and-livingsocial-award-12-small-businesses-250000-grants-totalling-3m-through-the-mission-small-business-program.html

http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=389700003

 

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Born Again Vintage

Check out this article and video of Instructor Bridgett Artise talking about vintage fashion and doing a sample reconstruction! Her classes are CEO 031: Building a Vintage Business and  SUS 016: Clothing Reconstruction.

Born Again Vintage article link image

 

New Digital Aesthetic = Pure Genius

Written by Chelsea Candelario, FIT Hot Topics Summer Intern.

While browsing through WGSN.com, I came across three collections of Fashion Forecast. I was completely drawn by the detailed clothing that matched the similarity of objects and themes. New Digital Aesthetic, Next Nature, and Neo-Geo all present a different side of something completely out of the ordinary and new for Spring/Summer ’14.

One of the collections I looked into was New Digital Aesthetic. They were inspired by the online culture of design. The digital ideas are put upon the construction and colors of the designs. Four themes that struck out with N.D.A are Preppy Pixel, Digital Fantasy, Cyber Strange, and Chemical Cartoon.

Preppy Pixel present designs that look like it could have been created on a computer. It brings on a ‘nerd quality’ giving colors that are simple such as black, white, blue, and grey.  Most of the attire consists of suits and layered women wear.

However, as I go through the slides, the theme shifts. It becomes more colorful. Blue, green, and red come together like I never seen before. The colors are either coming together or staying independent. The frequent show of blocks and pixel-like shapes still make their comeback to present the modern world of technology quality.

As I looked through Digital Fantasy, I stepped into a world unlike my own. The designs are out of this world. It starts off with bright neon colors and move to serene pastel colors. Fabrics such as wool and sheer become used for a two-piece assemble, over the knee dresses and complicated shirts. Characteristics of technology inspire the intricate details of these garments to bring out a unique feel of living in the digital 21st century.

Cyber Strange lives up to its name. Sleeveless suits and open up heels have presented themselves on the slides.  At first, I was confused and wondering why would anyone want to wear that? Then I sat back, a smile on my face, and think ‘This is Fashion after all’. This theme breaks all the rules of understanding where and how it was made. It’s the art portrait you enjoy, but can’t quite understand.

Chemical Cartoon is the last theme to N.D.A. It’s like stepping on a bridge between imagination and reality. So many bright colors splattered on to fabrics. You can literally spot one of these garments from a mile away. All sorts of colors and prints put together to give in a fun child-like quality. The three-piece suit filled with bright summery colors followed by stripes endlessly parading the garment or the patches of colors mixed in with floral prints that remind me you of the picnic day in June.

As if the colors were going to stop, it gets even more bold and electrifying with different shades of pink and purple covering the clothes. Also introducing light pastel colors such as periwinkle, baby blue, green, and yellow. Sticking to the theme of Cartoons, a charming picture of Kermit is plastered on one of the sweaters.

Looking through the slides it gave me the urge to grab a sketchbook and sketch a design, something I haven’t done since I left high school.