Student makes a case for cooling beverages on the go
Bright ideas can present themselves in the most unusual places. For Logan LaMance, a junior business management major, it happened in the grocery store.
“I was in the Clemson BI-LO browsing in a section of the store devoted to tailgating, and something was missing,” the Pickens native said.
That something is what Logan, 21, presented to his ELE-3140 New Venture Creation class, taught by Chad Navis, associate professor and Arthur M. Spiro Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership, who requires students to propose business projects.
“There were coolers for beverages in that display, but it seems there was a gap between a bare 24-pack and an ice cooler. I envisioned something in between, with lunch box material and a tiger paw on it. That’s how Kase Koozee came to be.”
Kase Koozee is what Logan presented to classmates, who warmed up to the idea enough to where four of them are now joining him in a start-up that aims to manufacture and sell the insulated beverage coolers. Logan says Kase Koozee’s “scuba foam” material does for 12- 18- 24- and 30-packs what individual can and bottle koozees do for people wanting to enjoy cold beverages on the go.
“The Kase Koozee is a light and mobile alternative to those very expensive coolers that are heavy and inconvenient to lug around. Sure, they can keep beverages cold for a couple of days, but for tailgating, the beach or outdoor activities like fishing, prolonging the chill that long isn’t necessary.”
Logan, Kase Koozee president, and classmates Ryan Frazier (VP), Daniel Delegatti (Marketing), Shea Doonan (Finance) and Jake Wilson (Development) had a local seamstress create the prototype, and recently launched a funding campaign on Kickstarter.
Though development and manufacture of their product is still evolving, the students already secured a provisional patent, formed an LLC and are seeking out a partner who has a Clemson license for logo and marketing purposes.
“At this point, we’re looking for funding through pre-orders on Kickstarter. We’ve had some interest from investors, but have to show our worth in the form of a product and we need money to start producing the Kase Koozees through our manufacturer,” Logan said.
Navis said early-stage funding for a start-up like the students’ is critical, because it allows them to prove their business concept to suppliers and potential investors. “Most entrepreneurial students don’t have the resources to advance their ideas and hard work on their own. Crowdfunding channels like Kickstarter are a convenient way for anyone to support what they think is a great idea.”
According to Logan, Navis has provided the students valuable counsel “without holding our hands” as they plot a path to manufacturing and taking the product to market.
“The team is already doing an excellent job on a number of dimensions that need addressing – the design and manufacturing, target market and marketing strategy,” Navis added. “Having a manufacturer that is flexible is important, just as is experimenting to define the most effective approaches to converting their addressable market into paying customers.”
As Logan and his team chart Kase Koozee’s journey, he can fall back on lessons learned while running a summer house-painting business he started as a freshman in college.
“I learned plenty about setting up and running a business from the Young Entrepreneurs Across America internship program. The program teaches college students every aspect of running a successful summer business, from hiring, marketing, profitability and, of course, proper painting techniques,” he said. “But the biggest takeaway the experience gave me was believability in knowing I could be successful. It was a confidence builder that has helped me in the early stages of making Kase Koozee a reality.”
That experience and confidence boost may go a long way to helping Logan reach his entrepreneurial goal.
“I love the freedom of entrepreneurism and having the ability to create your own dream, rather than helping someone else fulfill theirs. We have a long way to go, but we are getting good guidance and aren’t averse to hard work. We’re excited about the possibilities.”
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