Summer 2016 Entrepreneurial Experiences

Author Archive

Week 8 : Slender Seven

Friday, July 29, 2016 11:42 am

Today was my last day interning for Slender Seven. The past eight weeks have gone by so fast, and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to intern here! The major project I worked on throughout the summer is the rebrand in order to prepare for the relaunch that has been pushed back to 10/1.

We have our official new brand, P.S. Snacks, which will operate under the Slender Seven LLC. “P.S. This Cookie Dough is Good for You” will be the labeling on the front of the tubs with each flavor having a different contrasting color. Working with the agency and the process of designing a new label could have gone smoother if we engaged in more market research. Not knowing exactly what our target market thinks about the new packaging and flavors could be a negative when we relaunch. In addition, the other interns and I had to continue to promote the Slender Seven brand with recipes and social media. We created blog posts, new recipes, and instagram posts throughout the summer–all of which were very successful.

Since the internship was during a transition time for the company, it was difficult to help expand the company. We met with owners of coffee shops and workout studios in an attempt to create partnerships, but since we are changing the name and packaging so soon Nikki would have to go through this process again after the relaunch. Although I did not personally get to help scale the company, I have created relationships that Nikki can continue to work with after the launch is successful.

I have learned so much from the internship, both about myself and the business world. Nikki showed me the financial side of the company–her accounting system, projected profit and loss statements, and we worked together on a break even analysis. I also worked a lot on brand management, by marketing the product with in-store sampling and social media. I learned how everything you post and share needs to be coherent with the brand itself in order to build the image. And lastly, I learned that when I find something I am passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work! I loved walking into work everyday knowing I was promoting a product that I loved. I know the launch of P.S. Snacks will be successful, and I get wait to see what else is in store for this company.

Week 7 : Slender Seven

Monday, July 25, 2016 10:28 am

The past week was crazy at Slender Seven! With Nikki traveling for the majority of the week, there were a lot of additional tasks that needed to be completed. The biggest job we dealt with was inventory and delivery. It was our job to call all the Whole Foods to make sure they had enough dough so that we could do in-store sampling. However, if they did not and ordered more, we had to deliver the dough to the union kitchen distribution sight so it would be sent out within a day or two. Other tasks included blog posts, social media pictures, market research, and preparing for the relaunch.

Week 7 taught me a lot about leadership and entrepreneurial management. It is essential to take initiative to make sure things get done and come up with new tasks for yourself. Since there are not as many eyes on you as there would be in a large corporation, it is imperative to get yourself motivated to make a difference. As a hard-working, determined, and goal-oriented leader, I am starting to see how I could be successful post-graduation working for a start-up. However, I enjoy the structure from a large company and the invaluable mentors and training you get along the way. I would love to work for a large corporation post-graduation, potentially in the CPG, health, wellness, or entertainment industries. After gaining experience in one of these industries then maybe I would switch and either start my own or join a startup.

Week 6 : Slender Seven

Friday, July 15, 2016 12:46 pm

Another week finished interning with Slender Seven! This week was very productive in regards to our relaunch and rebrand. There are a lot of challenges that our team encounters every week since we work in such a fast-paced and changing environment. One challenge with the rebrand is making sure that the new name and packaging accurately reflects the product. We are confronting this challenge head on by doing lots of market research. In addition, Nikki is trying to raise $250,000+ which should get her to the breakeven point approximately next June. Already she has raised $125,000 from investors and continues to draw interest from advisors and investors. We have had great results by reaching out to vegan celebrities, bloggers, and fitness trainers such as Jessica Alba (the Honest Company) and Marco Borges (trainer for celebrities such as Beyonce and Jay-Z). Lastly, a big challenge is that besides the interns, Nikki is running the company by herself. By having no other executives to help, all decisions are left up to her. However, this problem is currently being solved since we are building a board of advisors. Two of which are former executives for Kraft and Hershey. There previous experience in the CPG industry should help a lot! As we continue to build publicity for the rebrand, we also have to continue to promote the current brand through social media and in-store sampling.

On Wednesday, the other interns and I took initiative to do another recipe day in order to get more recipes for the blog, as well as pictures for social media. We successfully made healthy blueberry peach crisps, banana peanut butter muffins, and a raw cookie dough ice cream sandwich. The weekly demos at Whole Foods continued this past week, but I also took the initiative to do a pop-up demo at a fitness studio near my apartment called Barre3. The women (and some men) who workout here mostly personify our target market. Thus, it was a very successful event and everyone who sampled the dough loved it! Hopefully, after the rebrand is complete and we launch the 3 ounce portion/snack sized cups, they will be sold at the Barre3 studios in D.C. for a post-workout snack.

The market of raw cookie dough already exists; however, we are the only legitimately healthy cookie dough that contains no eggs or flour. It is primarily bean based where other edible cookie doughs have a wheat or sugar base. Eat Pastry and Immaculate Bakery are our main competitors. They are both sold in Whole Foods as well and have a wider target audience since they do not attract health conscious consumers.

Week 5 : Slender Seven

Monday, July 11, 2016 4:33 pm

It is weird to think that I only have three weeks left in my internship since there is so much still to learn. Each week comes with new responsibilities and tasks to conquer, and most of the time I am working in teams. As I mentioned before, there are 3 other interns from Wake Forest that I am working with in addition to Nikki. Nikki, the CEO and founder, supervises all of our work and also works with us to come up with new ideas and show us what she does on a day-to-day basis. I love that the environment we work in is very open and that people do not hesitate to bounce ideas off of each other, ask for help, and share how they are feeling about the progress of our projects.

Decisions at the end of the day are made by Nikki. However, I was surprised at how much she takes into consideration our ideas and opinions on issues that evolve. She views us as colleagues which therefore makes our team stronger. When a failure occurs, such as orders not being placed and/or not being put on the shelf in time for an in-store sampling, then it is a problem we all fix. Likewise, when a huge accomplishment occurs, such as raising $150,000 in less than two weeks for our relaunch, then it is due to the hard work of all of us as a team.

Not only has working at Slender Seven given me insights into the business side of the health industry, but it has also shown me what kind of company I am interested in working for. A company where teamwork is highly encouraged, and I am working with people who are smarter than I am or have more experience in the field–because that is the best way to grow and learn.

Week 4: Slender Seven

Friday, July 1, 2016 10:08 am

I cannot believe that I am already halfway through my internship! This week has been a break from the usual office life since I was in New York with Nikki the first part of the week attending the Fancy Food show. We networked, talked to people with similar companies to get their opinions on some decisions we have to make in the near future, analyzed different packaging and branding for food items across all areas, and most importantly, sampled a LOT of good food!

Since I am working with a start-up that is undergoing a major relaunch, I don’t have one specific project. Instead, I am working within all aspects of the business in order to prepare for the relaunch on September 1st! I am proud of the brand that we have put together thus far. Nikki takes all of our opinions into consideration when deciding what to put where on the label, coloring, and other aspects that are important to a brand. I think that the relaunch will be successful, especially if we continue to get high profile people trying our cookie dough. We sent the cookie dough to a well-known trainer of celebrities such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, and he absolutely loved it since he is vegan himself. We are currently in communication with him about expanding our product to his clients and partnership opportunities. In addition, we have started to build a board of advisors so when we talk to investors about our company we have a set of verified people on the pitch deck that would make individuals comfortable in investing in our company. I am happy with all the progress we have made the past month, and can’t wait to see what this month has in store for Slender Seven!

The biggest thing I have learned is that there are so many decisions to be made within a business, but specifically a start up. Whether it be how we spend our time day to day to make the most progress or what investors to reach out to, all decisions determine how successful we will be. I hope by the time I leave at the end of the month, Slender Seven will have the full board of advisors in place along with 25% of the money we plan to raise until we break even.

Week 3 : Slender Seven

Saturday, June 25, 2016 1:36 pm

Slender Seven was started as food blog by Nikki during her years at Wake Forest to promote simple and gluten-free recipes. After taking a few entrepreneur classes, she realized that some of the recipes had major potential in an unsaturated market–so, Slender Seven was created! Currently, there are 2 flavors of her healthy and eggless cookie dough in Whole Foods in the surrounding D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas, as well as other organic chains. The cookie dough itself was created one day when Nikki tricked her sister into eating a dessert that was bean based, and her sister couldn’t even tell the difference! Immediately, Nikki knew she had a very successful product in her hands. The gluten-free and organic food industries are growing at an alarming rate, which gives me confidence in the future success of Slender Seven.

The biggest problem with the brand right now is that the products (the dough) and the story (Slender Seven) don’t align. During the in store demos, we are constantly trying to unite the product with the brand of Slender Seven. Given this major trouble the past few months, Nikki decided to do a major rebrand and is working with a branding agency in North Carolina. This past week, we got the first round of new names and packaging and worked on changing designs, wording, coloring, and other aspects of brand in order to ensure that the products will be marketed the best they can be for the relaunch (currently scheduled for 9/1/16)

Not surprisingly, a relaunch costs a lot of money–which we lack. So, a major task this week was perfecting predicted profit and loss financial statements, as well as the pitch deck and business plan so that we can show them to potential investors. This upcoming week, Nikki and I are traveling to New York for the summer fancy food show. Here, will will network for new investors, as well as talk to distributors that sell the ingredients we use in our dough to see if there is a way to find it for cheaper than what we are using now. I am curious to talk to other companies there who have already made it in the food industry, and hear them talk about how they went about expansion and growth.

Week 2 : Slender Seven

Monday, June 20, 2016 10:06 am

As organic eating and gluten-free diets are becoming more popular around the United States, Slender Seven cookie dough promotes cooking simply, eating healthy, and feeling happy! Last Friday, I finished my second week interning with Slender Seven. However, here at Slender Seven, we are actually currently separating the company from the cookie dough product–so, it won’t be Slender Seven for long. For the relaunch, I worked a lot last week on brand management tasks with other interns and performed SWOT and competitive analyses of our competitors and our product. This is all in preparation for picking a new name, packaging, and expanding the whole business to new retailers and areas around the United States. There are 3 other interns working with me which makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable!

In addition to the marketing and branding aspect of the company, the other interns and I also get a lot of experience with sales through our demos at Whole Foods and other locations around the Washington, D.C. area. Since Nikki is still running her blog of Slender Seven, the other interns and I are also in charge of creating new, healthy recipes to post. On Friday we had recipe day! The other interns and I spent the day in the kitchen experimenting with different foods and new ideas. Some of the upcoming recipes that will be posted are avocado zoodles, savory sweet potato toast, cookie dough pops, and cookie dough butter.

The internship is very fast-paced. I love that each day and week I get assigned new projects in different aspects of business which allows me to see what I really am passionate about and gives me insight into what I should declare as the concentration for my major. Also, the internship is very hands-on. As I stated in my previous blog post, I am working directly with the CEO so my tasks range from editing her pitch deck for future investors, creating financials for future predicted revenue, and contacting buyers/retailers for post-launch.

Week 1: Slender Seven

Sunday, June 12, 2016 9:37 pm

This was my first week at my internship, and I have already learned so much! I am interning at Slender Seven, a health and wellness start-up in Washington D.C. that promotes cooking simple and living happy. Nikki, the CEO of the company who graduated from Wake in 2014, created the main product of the company “Cookie Dough.” The cookie dough is actually super healthy, since it is made from beans and can be eaten raw (it contains no gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, or eggs).

At the beginning of the week I learned a lot about how the dough is main and the distribution channels. It is carried at whole foods, and part of our jobs is to make sure it is made, packaged, and distributed through the right channels to get to the customers on time. In addition, since this is a new product on the shelves, the other interns and I must do demos and sampling throughout the week at Whole Foods. I have already done 2 demos, as well as attended a gluten-free expo as a vendor!

As a sophomore in the Business school at Wake, I will be applying skills I have learned in some of my classes this past year to help Nikki with her relaunch that is set for September 1st, 2016. After coming up with a new name for the cookie dough, we will be working on new packaging and reaching out to new distributors. Currently, she is only being distributed in the D.C. area; however, with the relaunch of the brand and extending her shelf life Nikki is trying to get picked up by distributors up and down the east coast. I will be contacting these distributors and hopefully getting some meetings set up over the next few months.

Overall, this internship has tons of great opportunities–learning about all aspects of a business such as distribution, marketing, financials, sales, and brand management. I couldn’t be more excited for all I will get to do here in Washington D.C. with Nikki and Slender Seven!

Serving Humanity Through the Pursuit of Knowledge

Copyright © 2010 Wake Forest University ~ 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, NC ~ 336.758.5000