Archives for April 9, 2016

And when I’m not “KUSIKUYing” I’m mentoring 28+ student enterprises!

And when I’m not “KUSIKUYing” I’m mentoring 28+ student enterprises!

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With MHC student entrepreneurs (I’m on the far left) on the way home from San Fransisco after a successful weekend at CGIU.

It’s been a busy year at Mount Holyoke College (MHC) where I am the  Entrepreneurship Coordinator and Visiting Lecturer in Economics.  Things began getting very busy when my students began winning competitions and making it into final rounds for entrepreneurship presentations and pitches this past month.  Last week I traveled to UC Berkley with with 15 MHC students who were invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University, based on a competitive application process.  They engaged in innovation and leadership in education, health care, justice and environmental challenges.  

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CGIU winners!

While there, I made up a list of all of the enterprises I am working on.  It turns out there are now 28 active student social enterprises (up from the 3 that were there when I started this job in September 2015) that I am mentoring/coaching at MHC!  So far they have generated over $6,000 in revenue though I expect that to triple by the end of  this month with their participation in the Draper Competition,  Grinsoon Banquet, and CGIU Foundation funds!  

Some student enterprises arose from my classroom, others from our weekly Entrepreneurship Learning Lunches and others from classroom projects that inspired action.  

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My students at the SIT Institute busy creating social marketing solutions for the local Winter Famers Market in Brattleboro, Vermont.

So proud of the ladies at MHC (women’s college) and the awesome work they are doing.  Projects range from apps that help with diet, business and safety  management to conflict transformation training programs rom Columbia, water pumps in Kenya,  air masks made from water bottles in China, artisan production in Rwanda, Malawi, work study in Ethiopia, rape prevention and health training programs in Bangladesh, trauma art therapy in Nepal, and more!

Kudos to he 18 SIT Graduate Institute students who worked with me to create wonderful solutions for better customer retention and involvement at the Brattleboro Winter Farmers Market!

 

Moving along – on Target!

Moving along – on Target!

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KUSIKUY unveiled – mock ups of hand tags and labels. Production in the print shop now!

 

Things are cooking here at KUSIKUY.  With our first order of mittens in production, labels and tags being finalized and social media getting coordinated, it feels as if we are putting the last coat of wax on our showroom floors!

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KUSIKUY – a tradition of attention to detail and fine handcrafting with the world’s best materials.

It has been an amazing journey re-discovering my beloved clothing company and imagining our future.  I come form a long line of NYC entrepreneurs, my father is one and my grandfather too and back in the old country my great grandparents were also entrepreneurs.  However, rather than hand down a single company from generation to generation, we chose to be a family of stubborn entrepreneurs, with each of us growing (and selling) our own enterprises: my great grandparents were jewelers, grandfather a processor of precious metals, my father a dental equipment manufacturer and myself a fine, handmade clothier.  Though we did not pass down our enterprises, we did pass down a strong business ethic, shrewdness, discerning eye for detail, an innate honesty and a commitment to labor, being sure to provide the best working conditions and benefits to secure a committed, talented force.  I bring this NYC sensibility to KUSIKUY carefully choosing the best designers and brand agents in New York to bring contemporary styling to Andean heritage and make world famous sustainable luxury.

Graduating the Mentorship

Graduating the Mentorship

Wow!  6 months ago, the KUSIKUY relaunch was an idea.  I was going to mom & pop – DIY the glittens along with the knitters, struggling ceato keep prices low and quality high, squeezing corners and still not getting it to work out.  Selling KUSIKUY as “eco ethical” and trying appeal to the amorphous “eco friendly” market.  Then I met John Sorontino of the Cambridge Entrepreneur Academy and he changed my life.  “These are the best mittens in the world!” he exclaimed and then went on to show me how they were, and he was right!

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KUSIKUY mittens are hand knit by Bolivia’s elite knitters, descendants of the clothiers of great pre-Incan kings.

 

Made of the finest fiber in the world – Bolivian alpaca is scientifically proven to be of the highest quality there is and a direct lineage from the original herds of Incan kings.  With production by elite knitters, and descendants of Incan courtiers,  And a rich, deep history of dating back to the world’s greatest ancient empire, KUSIKUY brings the heritage of Andean luxury to today’s royalty.

Working with Valley Venture Mentors and the many other folks who helped along the way: Jennifer Williams of Verilliance, Amy Shapiro from the CDC,  Rob LaPorte of 2Disc, and many more.  KUSIKUY is now emerging as a leading Sustainable Luxury Brand.  Even more awesome I just graduated from the VVM mentorship program with a great cohort of 8 other entrepreneurs looking to make a difference and bring amazing products and services to the world.  Now it’s actually happening…