Pivots and Progress During a Pandemic
The pandemic has affected all our professional and personal lives, but Babson student and alumni entrepreneurs are undeterred. They have continued to build their businesses, take advantage of opportunities, and take their businesses in new directions when the times call for it. Read on for a few updates from our community:
Fan Bi ’09 has taken his multi-unit retail clothing business Blank Label in a new direction: branded masks for corporate clients. Today, masks comprise 50% of Blank Label sales. Fan has adapted to the new reality, for example decreasing Blank Label’s retail presence, and will remain flexible until the core business of shirts and suits returns, hopefully in 2021.
Marc Baghadjian ‘21 is building Replay (formerly Skippit), a dating app that uses short video and voice content to allow people to express themselves. Marc plans for a soft launch of the app within 90 days. In the meantime, he is adding executives with deep experience in tech and product development to his board and team. Interested in learning more? Listen to this BBC Sounds podcast – Sacha McElligott, President of Replay, talks about dating app algorithms starting at 15:35.
Prabaarja Bedi MBA’20 and UNfabricated are producing and selling facemasks in India. She is selling the masks on a buy one, donate one basis. Since June 2, she has sold and donated over 300 masks. UNfabricated is now shipping masks to the United States and Canada.
Hayoung Park ’21 ran two charity auctions on HYP, a social bidding platform for exclusive releases in fashion, art, and more. He auctioned off “Stay Home” Nike Dunk Lows and Highs. The two pairs sold for a total of $11,801 and HYP donated the proceeds – amounting to $10,278.07 – to GiveDirectly and UnitedWay’s COVID-19 relief funds.
Marissa Goldstein MBA’15 pivoted her business Rafi Nova, a sustainably-sourced, vegan luxury bag brand, to produce masks. She launched a new, clear mask called the Smile Mask, which helps to restore visual cues like lip-reading and facial expressions for those that are deaf or hard of hearing, but also for many others who depend on seeing mouths in order to communicate. Actress Millicent Simmonds recently teamed up with Rafi Nova to design the Millie Smile Mask, and all profits from the sales of this mask benefit Deaf Women of Color and Texas Hands and Voices.
Noah Doris ’20 launched an online store for his business Goba Tea on August 1. He is offering three flavors – Pomegranate Green Tea, Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Mango Green Tea – in the online store and has seen great traction, adding 1,000 social media followers in just one week.