From Business Idea to Reality

Hi readers! My name is Sara Raffa and I’m one of your editors of TBE. I’m also a second year student here at Booth, pursuing a not so traditional path of entrepreneurship – more specifically, building my own start-up. Throughout this past year at Booth, I’ve taken my business from just an idea in a journal to an actual company, and I can’t wait to share my experience with you.

My company, Eislee, is a socially-conscious fashion brand that creates chic, high-quality apparel and accessories made from alpaca yarn, with a focus on mindful sourcing and production. Our goal is to introduce alpaca to a broader, more stylish market, and through these efforts, contribute to a more ethical fashion industry.

Booth has been truly invaluable in helping me get to where I am today. Between workshops with the Polsky Center, to the Social New Venture Challenge, to hands-on entrepreneurship classes, I have taken advantage of so many resources and couldn’t be more grateful for the many ways they have helped me refine and build my business.

This past summer, Eislee was one of ten teams selected to participate in Polsky’s Accelerator Program (AP). During the summer, I worked closely with my business partner, two interns and three dedicated mentors on customer research, design, production and branding. There was also weekly programming and access to lots of free resources.

Above all, the greatest benefit I have gotten out of Booth and all of these resources has been the network. Anytime I have a question or feel stuck on where to go with my business, there are so many people I can turn to – the staff at Polsky or the Social Enterprise Initiative, so many knowledgeable professors and alumni, or any one of my hundreds of accomplished classmates. Through this network, I’ve been put in touch with dozens of company founders, marketers, investors and even our manufacturer in Lima – who just so happens to be a close friend of one of my classmates.

Thanks to an intense, fun and successful summer, we are almost ready to launch our first product line – cozy, stylish scarves. A week ago we had a photo shoot to share our product. Check out some pictures from the day below, and if you want to learn more, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and check out our website – don’t forget to sign up for email updates at the bottom!

For anyone out there looking to pursue entrepreneurship at Booth – what are you most excited about, and what do you want to learn more about?

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