Behind The Co-op The Start Of An Entrepreneurial Journey

May 18, 2022

During the Fall/Winter term, three student entrepreneurs participated in the Close School’s Entrepreneurship Co-op. This Spring, they gave a presentation discussing their experience, their entrepreneurial journey, and their plans for the future. The entrepreneurs included: Paige DeAngelo, the Founder of Aer Cosmetics, Kasiah Harrison, the Founder of Delirium Dreaming, and Phoebe Fry, the Founder of Phoebe Jay Creative.

Starting a business is a challenge – if you had an entrepreneurial idea you wanted to pursue, how would you get started? If you asked Paige DeAngelo or any other Drexel Entrepreneur, the answer would definitely lead you in the direction of the Close School of Entrepreneurship. When speaking about her experience in the Entrepreneurship Co-op, Paige expressed her gratitude to the Close School for their support along the way as well as the team at Graphite GTC for helping her with their low code platform. Paige isn’t the only student entrepreneur who had good things to say about the co-op and the Close School; Kasiah Harrison said she credits the Close School and the Entrepreneurship co-op program for giving her business a faster track to success.

FUNDING FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Did you know 66% of small businesses face financial challenges? Infact, the biggest challenge small businesses face is cash flow. Getting funding is a crucial step that entrepreneurs have to navigate when starting a business.

Drexel’s Entrepreneurship Co-op is a unique experience that gives student entrepreneurs the tools and guidance they need to succeed in developing their own entrepreneurial endeavors. When students are accepted into the co-op, they receive funding for their idea, a dedicated workspace in the Baiada Incubator and access to mentors who will help them achieve their full potential. Continue reading to take a closer look at what each entrepreneur accomplished during their co-op and to follow along with their journey!

PAIGE DEANGELO – AER COSMETICS

Meet Paige DeAngelo, you might already be familiar with her and her company, Aer Cosmetics, after she took home the second place prize during Startup Fest 2021. But, if you aren’t familiar with her brand, she has taken a new and sustainable approach to re-inventing mascara. Her solution is a mascara tablet that is dissolved in water and is made from accessible, organic, and natural ingredients. The mascara is mixed in a silicone tablet tray with a unique applicator.

Initially, Paige was applying to the Entrepreneurship Co-op with a different business that was reselling wholesale cosmetics… but she realized that this business would be creating tons of plastic and would be polluting the environment. She decided to hold off on that idea and instead wanted to find a more sustainable approach. After creating her first prototype, she applied for the co-op. Throughout her co-op experience, Paige has documented each trial of her product, she has raised $22,000 in grant scholarships, she has found a manufacturer for her product, and has filed for 2 provisional patents, all in just 6 months. While she has accomplished so much in her time during the Entrepreneurship Co-op, she spoke about her plans for the future and the launch of her product. Up until now, it’s been a one woman team; but, going forward, she’s enlisting help for a major public relations campaign. Paige will be partnering with her communications class to develop a launch plan for her product as well as a social media campaign where she will share all the footage she took while documenting her journey.

KASIAH HARRISON – DELIRIUM DREAMING

Kasiah is a third year student at Drexel, getting her degree in Communications with a minor in Retail. She grew up with a passion for both entrepreneurship and fashion, and after some thought, she decided it was time to start her own business… Delirium Dreaming. Kasiah had applied for the Entrepreneurship Co-op in the past, but this time around she was accepted to the program! With success on her mind it was time to lay out a list of objectives to work towards in order to grow Delirium Dreaming into a successful brand.

Success in this case is measured by a set of goals that each student entrepreneur lays out in a list of objectives at the beginning of their co-op experience. For Kasiah, there were five goals she wanted to accomplish including:

  • Getting into more stores
  • Hosting a solo pop up
  • Reaching $15k in sales
  • Doing more influencer marketing
  • Gaining more exposure

During the co-op, Kasiah was able to achieve her goals and continue to climb the ladder to success. With the help of the courses at the Close School and her time in the Baiada Incubator, she has been able to make great connections with other entrepreneurs and professors alike. Chuck Sacco, the Associate Dean for Strategy and Innovation, and Director of the Baiada Institute, was able to connect her to her biggest mentor, the founder of Aeropostale. Speaking very highly of her mentors, Kasiah talked about how important the mentorship experience has been for her and her business. With the help of her mentors, she was able to reach one of her biggest goals during the co-op experience… hosting a pop up event for her brand. During the pop up, she continually sold out of her clothing and it was definitely a huge success! Kasiah not only completed her goal of hosting a pop up for Delirium Dreaming, but she also surpassed her goal of $15,000 in sales, and has gained a lot more exposure and even had some famous musicians such as Aries wearing her clothing on tour. Not only has she gained exposure through other people wearing her clothes, Kasiah also has items on sale at Urban Outfitters, Bowery Showroom in NYC, and is putting together a capsule collection that will be sold online with Shein.

With so much accomplished during her co-op Kasiah still has big ambitions for the future. Some of her new goals include building the brand into a catalog with more releases, increasing the brand’s marketing, growing her team, and moving away from manufacturing in China.

PHOEBE FRY – PHOEBE JAY CREATIVE

Creating good content can be tough, but finding someone to make the right content is important for any brand when fighting to stay relevant and competitive amongst competition. During her co-op, Phoebe worked on her business, Phoebe Jay Creative where she focused on providing engaging content as well as a unique approach to reaching potential customers. Phoebe talked about her goals which included:

  • Building out a video service
  • Scheduling regular shoots every month
  • Diving into research
  • Acquiring better editing equipment and software
  • Sticking to a weekly editing schedule

During the six months of her co-op, Phoebe was able to make some incredible videos and work with notable brands like, Calvin Klein, NTK, Free People, and Cynthia Rowley. She learned a lot from her experience collaborating with big brands, but she also had smaller projects such as a music video she produced for another Drexel Student. Along with the client work that she completed during her co-op, Phoebe also worked with her mentor Sunny White to help build her online presence and put together a more professional linkedin profile.

One of the most important things Phoebe was able to take away from her co-op experience was the uncertainty that goes into running a small freelance business. She realized that freelancing can be complex but found the experience to be extremely rewarding in allowing her to work on her own terms and create work of which she is proud. Now that the co-op is over, Phoebe has lined up two different jobs for the Spring and Summer which will allow her to gain more experience in a structured environment.

The Entrepreneurship Co-op has been a major factor in jumpstarting students’ success on their entrepreneurial journey. Not only does the co-op provide students with the funding and time to get their business started, the co-op also provides mentorship opportunities, a dedicated workspace, and the ability to develop relationships with many other young entrepreneurs. To learn more about the co-op and the application process click here!

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