College 

Class Assignment Gets Real

It started as a class assignment, but IU Northwest students Lindsey Liesenfelt, Branka Vukotic and Demi Kolintzas turned their required marketing plan into an online business and farmers market favorite, Truly Teas.

A class project turned into a real business for three IU Northwest students, including Lindsey Liesenfelt (below). Photos courtesy of Truly Teas.

The three met in Professor llka Azemi’s Marketing Strategies class in the fall of 2017 and were assigned a group project. At the end of the semester, IU Northwest School of Business and Economics faculty judged the class’s projects and determined Truly Teas the winner. But it didn’t end there. Because they had already designed a logo, built a website, crafted a mission and vision statement and obtained proper permits, most of the work had been done for their enterprise, “to provide customers with the best-tasting, all natural, USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified teas.”

With the continuing support of business school faculty, the company sells teas online and at local farmers markets, in flavors such as lemon ginger, coconut chai, mint and mango peach, along with sleek tea essentials, like tea infusers and stainless-steel bottles.

Starting a business as a student provided unique opportunities and a built-in support system, according to Liesenfelt. “The dean of the School of Business and Economics threw our opening party for us, and another professor helped us with our website. We have had a bunch of professors support us. They care and want us to succeed,” she said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my degree,” Liesenfelt added. “I put my skills and degree to work.”

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