I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. -Estee Lauder

Category: Social Entrepreneur

Project Entrepreneur: Investors

Last Monday, my team and I pitched to an investor who was a parent from ISB’s PTA committee. We were able to meet all the requirements and have the full 1,000 RMB funding. After pitching our idea to our investor, my group and I think we won’t make any changes to what our product will be. Another thing we won’t change is how we’re going to make our product. We’ll follow our plan of experimenting when we make our first prototype about what adhesive is the best for attaching a book cover and fabric together. Something else we will continue to do after pitching to our investor is to still donate all our profit to the non-profit organization of NEBRA, because we think the cause they are trying to help is really important.

One piece of feedback the investor gave us is that we could have told her what marketing strategies we had (Instagram account for our business) before she asked. This would be important in the future because by telling people that we had an Instagram account, it would increase the popularity of our product, and more people would buy it. Another piece of feedback our investor gave us is that we should make sure the books we’re using are actually old books that would be thrown away, so that we’re not just using books that people want and can still read.

Something new she suggested us to do is that we could expand our target audience to upper elementary school as well, because they need pencil cases too.  This way, we would have more people buy our product if not all people we surveyed in middle school who said they would buy our product, would actually buy it.

Project Entrepreneur: Mission and Team

My group and I have decided that our team name is Project Bookcycle, as it represents that our product has something to do with up-cycling books. Our mission statement is: To create sustainable products from old, recycled materials to inspire and encourage others to consume and produce responsibly.  My responsibilities and jobs for this project is to be the organizer (keeps and organizes papers), point person (communicates with our mentor), and the designer (designs and sketches product, as well as making it). Our group has also created an Instagram account for our business, and running it is also my job. 

Our mission statement

Our group member’s individual roles

Project Entrepreneur: Market Research

During this past week, my group and I have created a survey to interview middle school students about our product. Below is an image of our survey questions and results. Some things I have learned from our research is that many students said that they would buy our product, because the design looked nice, and it was also sustainable to the environment. For the people who didn’t want to buy our product, this was mostly because they already had a pencil case, and didn’t need another one, even if they thought it was a great idea. After talking to some teachers, we came up with the idea to let our consumers be able to donate their old pencil cases to us in return for a keychain made out of precious plastics. We would then use the materials from the old pencil cases to make new ones, or donate them to charities. Some thing else I learned after surveying students was that the average amount of money students would pay for our product was 20 RMB. Many of them said that they don’t like the pencil cases in the PTA stores, or thought they were too expensive. We had interviewed multiple students from both genders, and students from both groups were all interested and wanted to buy this pencil case. We established that our designs should be gender neutral, so that our target audience and consumers would be both middle school male and females.

Some wonders that I still have is that what percent of the ISB middle school will actually come and buy our product when we are selling it? Is it possible to survey the entire middles school student population? When the people we surveyed said they would buy our product, would they actually buy it? How can we let more people know about our product so they will eventually buy it?

One thing I think that our group should improve on is making sure that we are able to get our product done in time, but also making sure it’s good quality, and we can start to do that by making a prototype first.


Our survey questions

The results of our surveys analyzed in pie charts

Project Entrepreneur: Define Market and Initial Idea

My group and I are planning to make a pencil case out of old books and cloth. We found this idea online, and we thought it was a really cool idea that was also able to reuse so many books that would usually just be thrown away. We are also thinking that after “gutting” the book (taking the pages out of the book), we would have a lot of paper that might go to waste, so we’re going to make paper pencils out of the book pages. Because after people have already bought our pencil case, and don’t know what they’re going to do with their old one, we plan for them to trade in their old pencil case in return for a precious plastics or hand sewn cloth keychains. Our target audience is mainly middle school students, since we think they are the group in the ISB community that has the most need of pencil cases.

Our initial design for our book cover pencil case.

Our inspiration we found online for our pencil case.

book clutch with stationary supplies

A photo of inside the pencil case from our online inspiration.


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