Build, Imagine and Tell a Compelling Story

by Rhonda Shrader, Associate Director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship

Two-time LAUNCH finalist and SkyDeck entrepreneur Laurie Peterson (MBA  ’11) is redefining play. Build & Imagine has three interactive play sets to get girls (and boys) building.  Comprised of colorful StoryWalls that snap together with magnets, each set offers children a way to learn foundational STEM skills while exercising their imaginations.

Taking a break from holiday ramp up plans (including direct sales and Amazon), Peterson shared some key learnings from both LAUNCH and her time in SkyDeck.

Tell a compelling story. Peterson credits her successes at LAUNCH to tackling interesting problems, getting a great understanding of a market need and creating a story that excites people enough to rally around. “If you have a compelling story, good things will come.

Don’t be afraid to go it alone.  Peterson’s experience in developing and marketing next-gen, creative play products gave her a unique understanding of market opportunities as well how to execute optimally.  She rounded out her knowledge base by purposely seeking out positions providing exposure to additional skills and functions. 

Prepare to be creative in applying what you learn. Lean Launchpad practices dictate rapid cycles of customer validation and iteration. With seasonal sectors, however, this isn’t always possible and Peterson has adapted.  “You don’t want to scale until you have product-market fit…as long as you’re moving forward, you can keep generating hypotheses and modifying.”

Peterson was joined this summer by LAUNCH co-chair Kristen Duffel (MBA’16) as a sales and marketing intern. She describes Duffel as an “awesome thought partner” who also executed a number of key activities including working directly with buyers and onboarding retailers.

Find out more about Build & Imagine and start activating your ideas for this year’s LAUNCH!