Innovation isn’t just a source for success. It’s a force that illustrates passion before results and is defined by one’s willingness to think differently or to take a chance on what could turn out to be a definitively brilliant idea.
The Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship (E3) is a program that helps Emerson entrepreneurs develop and launch original business ventures. It’s a unique experience in that it relies on students to foster an idea into reality effectively making themselves the CEOs of their own companies. In short: It’s a program that relies on the potential and lasting value of innovation.
To give you an idea of what this program has to offer, we spoke with Stella Urieta, a Senior currently involved in E3 and the innovator behind Sweeten Mama, a homemade bakery start-up focused on fresh European baked goods. It’s a company that not only sounds delicious but is also a great platform for Stella to leverage her cross-cultural perspective as a citizen of both Spain and America and with a variety of experience, including internships in France and Africa.
What originally interested you in Emerson College?
“I was in between Northeastern and Emerson but what I really liked about Emerson is that the marketing program was very hands-on. The classes I’ve had here have put so much emphasis on applying creativity and creating ideas from scratch. I’m much more into marketing than I am the business side, which is what Northeastern really focuses on… And in Spain, when you go into marketing, many of your classes are pre-selected and you’re not able to adjust the path you want to go. So that’s what drew me to Emerson: You get to decide what classes you want to take and you’re almost able to create your own major inside marketing.”
What interests you in marketing?
“Since I was small, I really enjoyed watching commercials and seeing how one product, like a bottle of water, could be shown as being different from another bottle of water. I’ve always been interested in what’s behind a company, like the values of a company and what sets it apart from others…. I really want to go into luxury markets and I think part of that comes from my interest in seeing the difference between products and companies and average market values. It’s something really fascinating…
I also like that marketing is more or less the same for different companies. So, for example, I was working for a pet company in France over the Summer and I was doing a lot of promotion for pet products. But I found that a lot of the skills that I learned were applicable to different companies. It’s fascinating how the same principles can be applied to different backgrounds.”
What are some examples of luxury products you’re interested in?
“I really like cosmetics, with a focus on skincare. Not so much makeup…
I’ve always been really into fashion, skincare, and beauty. At the beginning, when I started at Emerson, I really wanted to do things like New York Fashion week but it’s really competitive and stressful. I have heard so many stories of how difficult and stressful that can be as well from some of my model friends. So skincare seemed less stressful but I am still focused on fashion and skincare through the work I do.”
Tell us more about your business!
“My business started two years ago in August 2016 with an Instagram account where I would share posts of recipes or products with my followers. And all my friends were like, ‘Stella, you can make money out of this with your cooking skills.’
I have been cooking since I was very young as it’s a huge thing in my family between my mom, my grandma, and myself. Cooking has become my main passion. So my friends told me I should do something with that skill and take it a step further.
I had my Instagram account for 1 year and then last year, during my internship, I realized I wasn’t doing anything during August and, at my beach house there are no bakeries, just one supermarket, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to see how my business would work.
I ran [the business] for about ten days and made a lot of money. I had about 120 orders which was stressful because I had so many orders but it was so rewarding to know that they actually like my product!”
Stella continues to develop her business plan for Sweeten Mama through E3 using the experience and research she’s been able to collect so far. She intends to continue promoting the business through social media while further developing a strategy for sales.