With my time spent at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and chatting with students across the country, it is clear that students of color in predominantly white institutions struggle with feeling like a part of a community that accepts them for who they are rather than a mere number. Students of color may feel as though their opinion is not validated and often do not vocalize thier opinion because of the fear of being shunned.
This is where fashion can have a dramatic effect. The clothes we wear is a microcosm to our values, interests, and beliefs. With CATALYST, a clothing line dedicated to bringing out cultural values, encouraging taking a stand to issues that affect POC and a brand name that implies bringing upon a change greater than themself. With the purpose to inspire change in our communities, starting with my hometown Massachusetts, a starting 20%, with anticipation to increase, of proceeds goes to social justice initiatives across the state such as Boston Mobilization and the Chica Project
THE BUSINESS MODEL
The business model for CATALYST aims to direct its value proposition to the community the product will develop, the sense of unity it entails, and the contribution of proceeds to community organizations. The target customers I would reach, how I would do it, key partners for this brand, activities, cost structure and more are detailed in this business model canvas.
CATALYST aims to create a movement embracing social justice. With this in mind a meaningful logo and designs embracing elements of culture and slogans inciting action our our most important endeavors. CATALYST will start with T-Shirts and Sweaters but will increase its inventory to sweatpants and other merchandise as CATALYST expands and confronts seasonal trends. Below are examples of designs we hope to establish.
For customer research I messaged people from the Student Diversity Leadership Conference from 2018 in Nashville and the Social Justice Leadership Institute from 2019 and 2020 that was held in Massachusetts. I also emailed 3 teachers from the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) department to get feedback on their ideas. I originally had planned out an online segment to this brand that would act as a forum & area for affinity groups for students of color across Massachusetts. However, students stated that they felt more inclined towards a product. Students stated that they felt motivated to purchase when there is a greater cause that they are supporting. In terms of logistics for the product T-shirts and Sweaters were on highest demand. Along with my research I took time to learn about the brands listed below are their startup stories as young entrprenuers
These are brands working on issues of social justice and brands that started with with young entrepreneurs that served as inspiritation for product idea and anticipated designs.
AVERAGE PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS OF COLOR IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Here, the numbers are skewed by those private schools that commit solely to low income students as well as some being only K-8 schools
POLL & NEXT STEPS:
Below you can give me information that I can synthesize for the improvement of the brand. My call to action for all you viewers is to not be afraid of finding your own path of being a leader and inciting change. Whether it be passively expressing your opinion, raising up the morale of those around you, or taking part in a social movement, CATALYST is aiming to create those avenues. If you have any opinions about the idea please feel free to comment. If you know how create designs that can be used for t-shirts please let me know! This is a process that I will be educating myself more on and will continue to find ways to improve.