Rah Rah For Progress!

Slowly but surely, we are making progress on our social enterprise, RahRah4Good.

Our accomplishments to date include:

  • Analyzed market size and segmentation. (We are MBAs, after all!) Sport fan apparel and accessories is a $20B per year global market, 75% in the US and mostly involving university teams. We also have looked at the established fan jewelry products. We analyzed the relative size of team fan bases and also gained an understanding of the range of team colors and color combinations.

  • Researched numerous jewelry designs with the Startup Chile entrepreneurs.  It was interesting to note the difference in preferences across demographics.  We narrowed our offerings based on the feedback.

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  • Identified five jewelry workshops in Uganda and Ghana as potential sourcing partners. This has involved a lot of emails, Skype chats and video conferences. All these producers employ local women to make jewelry, seem capable of scaling production and are anxious to export.

  • Selected the test markets for our original production runs. We’ve looked at the sizes of the fan bases and assortment of color schemes of various universities in the US, and have selected four colleges -- Stanford, Harvard, University of Texas and Texas A&M as our test markets. (Distribution contacts for any of these universities are welcome!)

  • Specified the details for the samples to be produced by the African sources. This has included a lot of photos and bead-by-bead specifications to insure uniformity. We’ve put in orders for samples with all the workshops and expect delivery any day. Part of what we are trying to figure out is a style of communication that makes commitments clear.

  • Planned a trip to the four US universities to show samples and refine potential distribution strategies. We’re scheduled to travel April 22 - May 11. At present we are planning marketing tests at 3-4 US campuses in the fall involving college bookstores, social media/ecommerce and partnerships with on-campus organizations.

Here’s a typical day:

  • Make PEETS coffee with our drip system. (coffee and dripper brought from the US). Have breakfast -- fresh fruit and yogurt or eggs or cereal.

  • Ride our bikes to CMI (the main site of Startup Chile). Here we’re surrounded by lots of 25-35 year olds. Most are working on their online platforms or mobile applications.

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  • Plug in our headsets, and start to work. Skype with Africa or the US.

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  • Eat lunch in the park--usually leftovers from home.

  • Get back to work but taking breaks for our self-paced classes: Jan studies Spanish; Ed studies HTML5, CSS and Javascript.

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  • Attend one or more daily “SUP Academy” lectures, where we learn from our peers and experts about interface design, guerrilla public relations or other areas of interest.

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  • Bike back to the apartment

  • Find delicious veggies in fridge (bought at La Vega, the main farmer’s market in Santiago) and stir-fry for dinner, often with a cool, inexpensive glass of Chilean wine.

  • Relax, read or watch Netflix (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black). We’ve enjoyed accessing our US-based Slingbox for March Madness and Giants Opening Day. Our broadband connection here is great, a steady 10Mbps connection. Far better than what Comcast delivers to us in SF.

On occasion, we meet with the “Marketing Tribe” or the “Social Enterprise Tribe” to discuss key issues--usually over a beer or two or a Terremoto, an unusual, potent local cocktail.

Each group of entrepreneurs is left pretty much on their own to work on their business. Most of the “kids” are very dedicated -- you’ll find them working dawn to dusk!

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We still have a long way to go to sell our first item (and enhance the incomes of ladies in Africa), but we feel good about our progress to date.

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