Challenge Convention, Take Entrepreneurship 202

Angelina Velasquez, Scarlet Staff

It’s been almost a year and a half at Clark for me, and I can definitely say the phrase “If you never try, you will never know,” will have my back until I graduate. I have been through a music production class that changed my life; a meme class that was too deep to be a meme class; and an environmental engineering class that made me realize I was too committed to the arts to be a scientist.

This semester, I enrolled in “Entrepreneurial Marketing and Communications” aka ENT 202 (which also gives you a POP requirement for the PLS!) and after a whole semester, I can say this class teaches exactly what Clark is all about: Challenging Convention.

Our class had less than 20 Clarkies but, we had a huge classroom inside Jonas Clark Hall. Professor Lauren Kendzierski (@thecolorfulchef on Instagram) introduced the syllabus as a website instead of a usual PDF, and almost everyone in the class shared what they looked to achieve for their businesses with this class. Throughout the semester we did fun and creative stuff like a mood board at the craft studio, listened to professionals and students share their experiences, and even did a class Tiktok!

After sharing some afternoons, Elena Perez, owner of the social-media trendy “Kindly Anonymous” (@kindlyanonymousclarku on Instagram); Jack O’Reilly, Owner of “Life Is Bad” (@life_is_bad_official on Instagram); and I had the opportunity to sit and reflect on how the class improved our companies and made us renovate the initial concept of it.

Kindly Anonymous started as a business for another class and told her professor she was probably not going to continue with it after that semester. However, someone reached out asking if they could request a bag, and their Instagram page already has more than 300 followers!

The product is a special bag filled with candy, a sticker, a crayon/pencil, and a message on a piece of paper. The company’s goal has shifted to fill out the bag with products more driven for mental health, and “useful” things, while preserving the organic and kind essence the bag holds. Kindly Anonymous’ mission is to normalize being kind to others, or yourself sometimes. “Right now it is weird to give someone something, but we want to change that, and make people give a treat as a thank you”.

Life Is Bad is an idea Jack had back in 11th grade, and when the ENT class came up, he thought it was the perfect opportunity to dive into the idea and see what could actually be made with it. “We usually see shirts with the phrase “Life Is Good” with casual and silly designs, I wanted to make like a parody of it, but mostly, light the little tiny problems that pisses off someone way more than it should,” he stated.

Following the mantra “simplicity is key”, Life Is Bad shirt designs are mostly stick figures that accidentally spilled milk all over themselves, or got their belt loop caught on a door knob and is getting stressed about it. Despite the negativity, the purpose is to make light of the bad things in life, because when they happen, it is always the last thing of the day which puts you over the top – you just explode. 

“If you can make light of those little things is just one less thing to worry about and it becomes harder to explode and in the end you think: I guess it’s just my luck today, and laugh about it” (O’Reilly, 2022).

In my case, I had no business idea settled at first! But Professor Kendzierski recommended I create one where I could “have fun” since the class was all about publicity and ways to boost social media presence (and sales of course) to reach a wider audience (but also always be loyal to your niche).

That is how I created the Climax Collective (@climax.collective on Instagram). A non-physical space that recruits (and makes open calls for) artists that want to “State-the-art”, and to challenge convention. The mission? To promote the works of each artist from the “collective”, and create a network in between members to collectively help each other in the art world. The effect ENT 202 had on my business was more in the creative way, since for every campaign I tried to expand the ways of getting engagement. Even if that took me drawing publicity on every whiteboard around the library, trying to recruit artists every Wednesday at the Red Square Pop-Up, or spending hours on doing cool designs for every Instagram post.

Overall, ENT 202 helped us to experiment with new marketing and communication techniques for our businesses. Prof. Kendzierski always pushed us to go further than our comfort zone, and try to make “connections” with the real world, rather than just do work for the grade. With ENT 202, “Something simple, something fun, and something that you like” can turn into a great creation that challenges convention.