I recently had the opportunity to have my company, Wrapped in Love, work with Michigan State University’s IT Project Management Capstone Project. The Capstone Project is a a classroom program that allows select Michigan companies to be paired with a group of MSU IT students to tackle a project for the company, providing the students with hands-on, real-world experience. As an MSU alumna, I was particularly interested in getting my company involved with the program and supporting the studies of fellow Spartans. The program turned out to be very rewarding for me, my business and it turns out for the students as well!
Wrapped in Love is an ecommerce site that sells clothing and accessories I personally design for women (and men) with cancer. My product line is designed to provide comfort, style and dignity before, during and after treatment. My line was inspired by my mom during her illness.
The goal of this project was to develop a new social media campaign that would increase followers to my website and increase the presence of www.wrappedinlove.com on Google through enhanced search engine optimization. My team of five students immersed themselves into learning about my company, my products, and my customers. Each took on a different role and responsibility.
But the world had different plans for my project and this team! Halfway through our work, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Like all colleges and universities across the United States, Michigan State closed the campus and sent all their students home for “distance learning”. This team didn’t miss a minute. Together we reassessed our plans, strategies and communications. Although we never got the opportunity to meet in person, we had our virtual weekly meetings via Zoom over a 10 week period.
I sensed the frustration the students were enduring the last few weeks as they worked remotely, unsure of what was ahead, especially for those graduating. Before the final presentation, I asked the students to give me a quote or their observation on what it was like to work on this project during these times:
“As a senior whose final classes were pushed online, and graduation ceremony cancelled, it was tough to find the motivation for class work and projects. But the incredible story behind Wrapped in Love made this project feel less of a task and more of being a part of something special.” -Taylor
“I am starting a new job this summer and this project taught me a lot about uncertainty in the business world. Because of the pandemic, we all had to go home and communicate remotely for the rest of the semester. Unfortunately the pandemic probably had an impact on some of our results, but we all worked together to do the best in this situation.” -Emma
“Although things didn’t go as planned due to the pandemic, it was great to work our way through it together. We would have loved to meet in person, and things may have been easier that way, but we were all able to grow and learn through working remotely during the pandemic.” -Kyle
“Our team got insight into real world sales/strategy and performance. Mid-semester our team had to change pace and start marketing differently due to sensitivities in the COVID-19 environment. This gave our team real-world experience dealing with a crisis.” -Austen
“We adapted the best we could during an unprecedented event. Reflecting back on the three months, I think the most important thing that helped us through the pandemic was good communication and trusting each other.” -Sean
I would say they are more than prepared to handle anything that comes their way, and a pandemic is no exception. Their persistence and professionalism will serve them well as they graduate into the real world and move past all this. As far as the project is concerned, 25% increase in social media followers and an 8% increase in web traffic! I could not be happier with the results and I will be moving forward with a list of recommendations they made for my site.
Thank you Emma, Kyle, Austen, Taylor, Sean and Michigan State University for the unique experience and insights for Wrapped in Love! GO GREEN!
Wrapped in Love is an online retailer of clothing, head covers, accessories and gifts for women and men in treatment for cancer. For more information on Wrapped in Love, please visit wrappedinlove.com.