Majors: Economics, Film Studies

What is your current role? What was your journey in arriving there?
Currently, I serve as co-founder of a company that brings to life a passion project my dad and I have nurtured for over two decades. Inspired by all of the couch forts we built during my childhood, my dad envisioned a unique children’s couch that could transform into a playhouse and a castle. This year, we decided to turn this dream into reality and started a company to introduce it to the U.S. market.

Getting to this point has not been a linear trajectory though. Following my graduation from Wesleyan University, I dedicated myself to community service, spending time at an NYC special needs activity center, serving as a team leader in Americorps NCCC, and working as a program coordinator at a youth development program. These experiences honed my skills in content creation, leadership, and community engagement.

While each endeavor offered valuable lessons, when my dad invited me to join him in pursuing this crazy couch fort project I knew I had to do it. In this role, I contribute to product development, marketing, and overall business strategy, drawing upon the skills and insights gained from Wesleyan and my previous jobs.

What do you enjoy about your work? What challenges does your industry currently face?
In my current role, I enjoy the dynamic nature of my work and the opportunity it provides to continually expand my skill set. Each day presents a new learning curve as I delve into diverse fields crucial to our project’s success, from mastering CPSC child safety regulations to navigating patent and intellectual property protection, understanding the nuances of the global playroom furniture market, and even delving into website development.

As an entrepreneur, the necessity of being a perpetual student is evident. Every obstacle we encounter becomes an opportunity for growth, demanding adaptability and a thirst for knowledge.

However, our industry is not without its challenges. We confront the volatile nature of raw material costs and the fierce competition within the market. Despite these obstacles, we remain resolute in our belief our product has great potential. We’ve devised innovative solutions and strategies to differentiate our product in the marketplace, but certainly acknowledge the uphill battle ahead.

How did your time at Wesleyan influence your career choice/journey?
My experience at Wesleyan profoundly shaped my career journey, particularly through my double major in Film and Economics.

While my economics courses captivated me with topics like data analysis, consumer behavior, and industrial organization, I initially envisioned a career in film after graduation. However, halfway through my senior year, I began to reassess my path. I realized that my passion for filmmaking rarely stemmed from the artistic aspects of cinema. More often, it lay in the chaos of a film set, where I thrived in the collaborative spirit of problem-solving with a dedicated team. I found real pride and satisfaction in supporting a team as they crafted meaningful stories from scratch.

Following graduation, I pivoted away from traditional film projects in pursuit of environments where I could harness these traits while making a positive impact. Wesleyan instilled in me the confidence to recognize and pursue the type of work that truly resonates with me. It provided me with the space to explore diverse interests, refine my skills, and ultimately, discover my professional identity.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about entering your industry?
As someone relatively new to the juvenile furniture market myself, I can’t claim extensive expertise. However, based on my own experiences, my advice for students considering starting their own business is to embrace curiosity and always be ready to pivot. The landscape is constantly evolving, so staying informed about emerging trends, technologies, and market dynamics is essential. Additionally, building strong working relationships with experts in relevant fields can greatly enhance your understanding and effectiveness in navigating the industry.

Moreover, I would encourage students to cultivate a diverse skill set. While expertise in a specific area is valuable, having a range of skills fosters greater flexibility and adaptability in addressing the challenges of entrepreneurship. It’s important to invest just as much time in education and skill development as you would in networking and relationship-building. Striking a balance between learning and outsourcing/delegating ensures that you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions and seize opportunities as they arise.

 

 

Updated April 22, 2024

Work Experience
  • Co-Founder
  • Royal Vermont Couch Fort Company
Communities
Entrepreneurship & Start-ups, Exploring, Nonprofit & NGOs
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