Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Mayfield, of Wednesday Custom Design

“Hi, we’re Wednesday, a boutique paperworks company from Oklahoma City, OK. We’re a creative collaboration between two complete opposites who happen to like great design and each other, a lot. We invest the best of both of us in our work to create an evocative aesthetic. We compile the delicate and bold, intricate and eccentric, and the playful and thoughtful into our designs to curate Wednesday’s unique style and personality. We get excited about paperworks, because some of our most cherished memories have been initiated by an invitation or punctuated with a hand written thanks.”

Any company comprised of two ACU alumni that has an “About Me” page like this one promises to have a story to tell, which is why it was so exciting to have Jessica and Garett Mayfield speak here on campus last week.

Garett and Jessica Mayfield

Their story started here at ACU, where they met. Following their graduation in 2009, the two moved to Florida to pursue Jessica’s job in corporate marketing. At this point, Garett was doing freelance design, but the two decided that they wanted to pursue something more creative.

At the request of a friend, Garett and Jessica decided to branch out and get into some branding work. This experience, while challenging, proved to be incredibly beneficial as the two taught themselves how to budget, create deadlines, interact with a client, and eventually come out with a good product.

Just one of Wednesday's fabulous designs

In spite of some initial struggle, the Mayfields launched Wednesday and watched it take off. Speaking out of both their struggles and successes, Garett and Jessica had a few key points to communicate to our group:

  • Tell your story; it belongs to no one but you.
  • “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman
  • An honest brand is the best brand.
  • Authenticity attracts others, while fakeness often repels them.
  • Don’t compare yourself.
  • Create your own definition of success.

Throughout all of this advice was woven the central message that doing what you love and bringing glory to God is worth far more than any monetary gain. In addition, at the heart of Wednesday lies the Mayfields’ belief that people are worthy of grace and respect and that customers should always be valued. Garett and Jessica believe that relationships have power, and as a result they use their business to build relationships that have value beyond that the workplace.

As the Mayfields pointed out in their closing thoughts,

“Passion for what you are working on keeps you motivated.”

Don’t be afraid to figure out what that passion is and pursue it.

For more on Wednesday, check out their website!

Behind the Scenes at the Connections Cafe

Most COBA students with an 8:00 class have experienced the tantalizing smell of a La Popular breakfast burrito being eaten by one of their classmates. This delicacy, which is often called “the best breakfast burrito in Abilene,” is often paired with Mission Lazarus coffee. This delicious brew is made from beans grown at a plantation in Honduras that provides its farmers with fair wages.

The Cafe proudly serves Mission Lazarus coffee

You may be thinking to yourself, “What wonderful institution provides this stellar breakfast combination?”

The answer is The Connections Café.

The Connections Café is a unique entity that is run by students interested in entrepreneurship here in COBA. This organization’s main purpose is to provide students with real life experience running small businesses. The thought process behind this institution is that students should learn about taking risks and making mistakes now, before their own money is on the line.

Mychal Ricks, a sophomore management major, was hired as the Café’s manager back in November. She said that during her time at the Café, her biggest challenge has been connecting with customers.

“I think the biggest challenge is knowing what our customers want,” explained Mychal. “Technically we’ll never really understand what our customer wants…and so that’s a really big challenge.”

Because the Café has only been student-run for a short period of time, Mychal and her co-workers are looking into different ways to attract customers. One option is adding new products, such as cereal, to their selection. In order to aid them in their decision-making process, the Café has enlisted the help of a student marketing research group here on campus. The research conducted by this team over the following semester will help Mychal and her team as they make advertising and purchasing decisions.

Mychal Ricks

Mychal wants to go into management after she graduates, although not necessarily in the food industry. She said that running the Café has made her more interested in pursuing a career in management, because it’s helped her to learn the ropes of management.

One of the biggest of these lessons has to do with interpersonal dynamics.

 “I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is how to work with people,” explained Mychal. “[I’ve learned] how to separate my personal life from my business life and when to overlap them sometimes, because I can’t just be the boss around everyone. I have to somewhat get on a personal level with everyone.”

Be sure to stop by the Connections Café whenever you’re in COBA!

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of CRU Dinnerware

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!

It’s that time of the year, the one where 35,000 events occur in 125 countries, all in the name of entrepreneurship. It’s beautiful, because it’s the chance to acknowledge that it’s hard to generate and implement new ideas, but that it’s also worth the trouble, because innovation is what makes our world go round.

Here at ACU’s College of Business, we try to embrace the spark of innovation as much as possible, which is why we’re celebrating entrepreneurship through several different events:

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13: ENTREPRENEUR SPEAKER SERIES

April Anthony, Founder and CEO of Encompass Home Health

Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of CRU Dinnerware, will be speaking from 11:00-11:30 at the Hunter Welcome Center (LYNAY room), and April Anthony, Founder and CEO of Encompass Home Health will be speaking from 11:45-1:00, also at the Hunter Welcome Center.

Both of these women exemplify what it means to be successful entrepreneurs. They serve as mentors and examples to our students, especially to our future female entrepreneurs. We are incredibly thankful to have them with us to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15: SPRINGBOARD ELEVATOR PITCH COMPETITION (FINAL ROUND AND AWARDS)

Budding entrepreneurs have learned to pitch a new product, service, or business concept in two minutes or less in a competition to win $1500. The first round of the Elevator Pitch Competition took place last Saturday, November 6. Everyone is invited to watch the final round of the competition this Thursday at 11:00.  Click here to register.

START THINKING ABOUT THE SPRINGBOARD IDEAS CHALLENGE…

Do you have a great idea? If so, you should participate in our Springboard Ideas Challenge! Each team or individual submits a mini-business plan and then, if chosen as a finalist, is given the opportunity to present its idea to a live panel of judges.  Last year’s student category winner won $10,000 for his idea and the winner from the community category won $20,000! Click here to learn more about the Springboard Ideas Challenge.

Stay tuned for more information on this great opportunity!

A big thanks goes out to the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy for all of their hard work in creating opportunities that foster entrepreneurship within this community.

For Dan Austin, Social Entrepreneurship is Just Like Riding a Bike

This Wednesday the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy kicked off its Entrepreneur Speaker Series with a lunch presentation by Dan Austin, co-founder of 88bikes.

With an audience of nearly one-hundred-and-fifty, Dan spent the better part of an hour regaling his audience with tales of life as a social entrepreneur.

Dan Austin, Co-Founder of 88bikes

Originally an author and filmmaker, Dan began his journey with 88bikes in 2006, when he and his brother, Jared, took a biking trip across Cambodia. At the conclusion of their journey, the two donated their personal bikes and 86 additional bikes to children at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Seeing the joy elicited by their gift of 88 bikes, the pair was moved to action, and they began pursuing their vision of “joy-inspired philanthropy.”

Since their initial gift of 88 bikes, Dan and his coworkers (none of whom receive salaries) have connected donors with children all over the world through their one-to-one giving model.

Because of the unique giving model implemented by 88bikes, donors know exactly where their money goes. Furthermore, they receive a picture of their child standing next to their new bike with a picture of their donor in hand. Through this photo exchange, 88bikes is able to create a unique international connection.

Children receiving bikes and photos of their donors from 88bikes

As Dan explained, this one-to-one connection is fundamental to 88bikes, and—in his opinion—to any social entrepreneurship venture.

As part of this presentation, Dan offered three critical pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs:

 1.  Connect one-to-one.

2. Raise the bar.

3. Go local.

As Dan went on to explain, the success that 88bikes has found is largely due to these three components.

88bikes’ one-to-one connection creates loyal donors who are truly invested in the organization and the children it serves. In addition, the organization raises the bar set by traditional aid agencies by focusing on the intrinsic human need for joy as well as physical needs like hunger. Finally, 88bikes employs local bike merchants and mechanics in order to boost the local economy. As a result of these strategies, 88bikes is continuing to grow and thrive.

Cassie Powers, a junior here in COBA, is currently in a Social Entrepreneurship class. “The biggest issue that I have learned so far in social entrepreneurship is that you need to set yourself up for failure because it is going to happen,” said Cassie. “You have to work around it to make it work or come up with a new idea.”

Dan talking with ACU students after his presentation

While listening to Dan, Cassie was really impressed with the way that she saw her class curriculum align with Dan’s real world experience and advice. “It really connected when Dan Austin spoke about the barriers he had,” continued Cassie. “One thing he said was to have your organization grow organically. Meaning if it happens it happens.”

All in all, the inaugural event of the Entrepreneur Speaker Series was a huge success, and undoubtedly had a profound impact on everyone who attended.

Be sure to check out the next speaker in the series, Jarrod Brown, who will be joining us next Tuesday to talk about his work in Honduras with Mission Lazarus. For more information on the Entrepreneur Speaker Series, please click here.

For more on 88bikes and the incredible work that Dan and his organization do, click here, and be sure to thank the Griggs Center and the members of our CEO organization for all that they do to make these events possible.

Dan with COBA students after his presentation

Connections Cafe under renovation to introduce Wildcat, Inc.

The College of Business and the Griggs Center are excited to introduce Wildcat, Inc. This new program is giving COBA students the opportunity to launch and manage an on-campus business as part of their studies.  The Wildcat, Inc. program provides a great opportunity for students from all of COBA’s majors to work together in an entrepreneurial context.  In the next few weeks the Connections Cafe in the Mabee Business Building will transition to a 100% student-run operation.  A team of student leaders has been selected and are already hard at work on the transformation.  We are grateful to ACU’s Business Services department and to Aramark for their partnership in making this opportunity a reality.  We invite current students to watch for our grand opening in just a few weeks and for future Wildcat, Inc. projects currently in development.

COBA’s Griggs Center sponsoring ACU Entrepreneur Bootcamp this Friday

ACU Entrepreneur Bootcamp                                                                                                            

The ACU Entrepreneur Bootcamp is a full-day training program designed for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Abilene area. The training session assists two types of individuals: those who are interested in entrepreneurship but do not have a specific concept in mind, and those who have a business concept and need help launching the venture.

The bootcamp concentrates on the key tools, perspectives and approaches used to successfully create and launch a business.  Presenters include ACU faculty members and successful area entrepreneurs. The presenters will share advice and expertise, focusing on applying concepts and ideas to the attendees’ business ventures.

ACU Entrepreneur Bootcamp takes place Aug. 10 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in ACU’s Hunter Welcome Center.  Space is limited and prior registration is required. Early registration is available for $99 per person through Aug. 1.

Register for the ACU Entrepreneur Bootcamp