A Valuable Experience

Over the course of our last few meetings with Mark we have learned a lot and personally I think it has been very eye-opening. For me, this internship started with the expectation of taking out the coffee truck and seeing what it would be like to be a barista. But it’s so much more than that. We’re learning what it takes to operate a business.

Through the use of a proforma, we calculated expenses, operating fees, potential revenue streams, pricing, and how to stay out of the red. We did this for the multiple locations that we were considering to take the truck. (Those of which included, the Koger Center, the Florida Department of Revenue, and the Tallahassee Half Marathon. The Downtown Getdown was also suggested later on and we deemed this the best location.) A proforma is a very useful tool when it comes to comparing different markets, as the demographic differs for each, and a location with lots of foot traffic is key. A separate proforma was also made for having a sponsorship, in such case a local business in Tallahassee would give us a sum of money where we would then hand out free coffee, compliments of the said establishment. This is the idea we ultimately went with; we would be a sponsored vendor at the Downtown Getdown on November 13th.

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Mark helping us with our different proformas.

The next step on our agenda was to create a general business plan for the coffee truck. We had to write an executive summary, define our target market, explain how the sponsor was our customer, explain our marketing strategy, and create a pricing structure for the sponsorship. This was definitely easier said than done and although our business plan did not have to be extremely detailed, it was still difficult.

Upon meeting with Mark again we learned how to reach potential sponsors, what it would take to catch their attention, and how to ultimately seal the deal. He explicitly stated that we were offering them an opportunity and not asking for help. In situations like these, it makes all the difference if you allow them a few days to decide if it is something that they’d like to be a part of. Again he repeated, “don’t ask for the sale”. Presentation and correct language would be key here. Mark also suggested that we create a one sheet. This is something that provides an image of the establishment (in our case the truck) and has a breakdown of what we offer. One sheets are a good way of giving the sponsor a visual representation of what they are investing in.

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The one sheet for RedEye Coffee

It’s crazy to think that we are already halfway through this internship! I’m excited and hopeful that everything will go according to plan and that our night at the Downtown Getdown will be successful.

RedEye Internship Post 2

So picking up where from where I left off… Our third meeting (Thursday October 8, 2015) brought us one step closer to our goal of bringing out the RedEye truck. As a group, we were instructed to come up with two “pro-formas” using possible locations to bring the truck and make some sort of profit for five days. Many ideas were offered up but in the end it came down to two locations in Tallahassee: The Koger Center, which is located on Executive Center Dr. and The Department of Children and Families on Bald Cypress Way. These two were specifically chosen due to the large presence of state buildings (state workers) in the area. We summed up (through the proforma) that we would be making around $285 total, through the five days we had scheduled in each area. We also added a separate pro-forma for an event, in which we would acquire a sponsor so we could provide complementary coffee in exchange for a paid advertisement at a selected Tallahassee event. We searched numerous events and all seemed good, but just not good enough. Those offered were: Turkey Trot, North Florida Fair, FSU Homecoming parade. We decided to close things up shortly after and inform Mark on everything the next day…

After the most recent meeting (Thursday October 15, 2015) a location was selected and our business plan is now in development. After we voiced our locations to Mark we began going over each pro-forma while weighing the positives and negatives of each. Obviously our biggest concerns were the amount of foot traffic we would receive and the obstacles surrounding where the coffee truck would actually be. After careful consideration we came to conclusion of working the truck at an event. The event would be the Downtown Get-Down, an event the city of Tallahassee throws the Friday before every home game that the Florida State Seminoles football team plays. Mark gave us some extremely important contacts and advice so that we could make this idea a reality. Now, coming into our fifth meeting this Thursday we will have a business plan set out and sponsors in mind to get these wheels moving!

Frenchtown Marketplace: Collaboration and Creative Control

As the internship continues I just start to get settled into my project goals for the duration of the semester. After a recent meeting with Michelle of FHM we realized that the work-plan I had received we not reachable goals within the time which we have together, so we have made a pivot into a direction that was more accessible and would still grant me with opportunities to make connections, spread the word about the Market, and produce a couple of projects.

Recently, I was also afforded the pleasure of meeting the first Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace intern, Ean, and since then we have been coordinating to produce a campus film screening, discussion panel with local farmers, and food tasting, to raise awareness of the Marketplace for the segments of students who would are interested in learning more about the Food Movement and the aspect of equity it can provide to communities. Our second, is an end of the year market event, as the FHM’s season ends in November, our goal is to end the year leaving the community with something to remember and build relationships and interest that can endure for the seasons to come. Time to get creative!

A {Latte} of Ideas.

If asked, “How do you take your coffee?”

I reply, “Seriously, very seriously.”

These past two weeks my team and I met with Mark and he challenged us to bring our ideas so that we could use Proforma, excel style input program that calculates, “what if” situations, to project potential profits. After teaching us how to create one of these data sheets, Mark told us to create two more of these documents with the other ideas we came up with. The guys and I met up in Dirac Library that week to complete the task. This was a more difficult assignment than I originally thought because we wanted to come up with better ideas than the one we made with Mark. We sat down for over an hour and bounced ideas around till we eventually arrived with two more Proformas. At our last meeting we looked at the new Proformas and brainstormed more about how exactly we would put our plans into action. We listed names of people we should contact, and potential sponsors who would be willing to help out a few dedicated FSU interns. I am looking forward to seeing how close we will get to our projected goal.

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Girls on the way to The Color Run

Over the last two weeks Girls on the Run has been preparing for The Color Run. GOTR has been chosen as The Color Run’s charity partner for the Tallahassee run on October 24th. For each volunteer recruited by GOTR, The Color Run will donate $40 towards girls’ scholarships. Our goal is to recruit 100 volunteers and we have almost reached our goal! Volunteer recruitment efforts have included reaching out to our community partners, the FSU Women’s Basketball team, Junior League Tallahassee, and Gamma Phi Beta. GOTR has also been promoting The Color Run through flyers and Market Wednesday involvement.

Working to recruit 100 volunteers for The Color Run has been a learning experience that has taught me so much. It has been great to communicate with GOTR’s community partners and collaborate on this exciting fundraising opportunity for GOTR. It’s exciting to get to share the GOTR mission with so many people when asking them to volunteer and encouraging to get such positive responses. It’s reassuring to see so many people get behind our girls and volunteer their time early on a Saturday to benefit GOTR.

In the upcoming weeks I will be finishing up The Color Run and begin transferring focus to our end of season 5K, securing volunteers and sponsors. There are always exciting things to look forward to with GOTR!

Greater Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace #2

Who knew how quickly this internship would go by? Already halfway through, I have faced some challenges and experienced success.

   In terms of success, the Frenchtown Heritage Fest went off without a hitch. Even though the bad weather kept some folks from coming out, the people who came had fun. People of all ages came out. Plenty of kids with painted faces were playing games in the street, while the older folks listened to a local jazz band and ate good local food. There were vendors of all sorts. Along with the usual local organic food vendors there were artists, home-made good producers (such as home made soaps and perfumes), and a few local organizations trying to enhance Tallahassee. My personal favorite was the “Butter Queen of Tallahassee.” This lady worked at the a local historical society and has been making homemade butter since she was a child in her grandmother’s kitchen. I also bought some local honey, and found out that honey collected from bees in the fall is sweeter than its spring counter part. I.e. Go get some local honey before it’s too late! I really enjoyed the festival. It was nice to see families having fun together in a place that has such a bad reputation.

20151003_125320` Isn’t she adorable?

   As for challenges, the initial goals set by Michelle and I had to be reworked. As I was talking to people about the prospect of bringing local food onto campus I came to realize that one semester was not enough time to really accomplish that goal. We decided to regroup and to instead make it our point to make more students aware of the importance of food in society and culture. In honor of Food Day, October 24th, the documentary “Food for Thought, Food for Life” is to be released. Without giving too much away, the film is about how mass agriculture is affecting the environment, and what we can do change the course we are on. Lookout for “Food for Though, Food for Life” at a campus venue near you.

-Ean

Automating Help For Our Homeless

My internship with Unhoused Humanity thus far has been full of excitement, learning, and self-discovery. The feeling of receiving donations that will potentially turn someone’s life around is so exhilarating, and fills me with a sense of purpose. I have worn many hats within the organization already, from creating forms and spreadsheets to keep track of donor and client information, to recording and sending thank you videos to donors, and creating new pages for the website. Ramon, the founder of the organization is extremely passionate about his work, wants to create true systemic change, and holds each person we help close to his heart.

For the next few weeks I will be working on automating everything on our website, since we are going to launch a huge campaign to knock out homelessness in all of Tallahassee in the next month. We expect tons of donations to be rolling in, and cannot wait to get everyone informed and pumped for what we are doing, but need to make sure the databases and forms are ready to accommodate such a high volume of donors.

I have been working hard to make sure my skill set is up to the challenge of creating a fully functioning website, and managing and creating databases to keep track of this highly important information. It is definitely challenging at times to feel that I am capable of doing these things, as a student still learning skills and techniques, but I am so appreciative of everyone’s support and how they always are willing to help and work with me to learn new things. I am excited for the rest of the semester and can’t wait to create changes in my own community with the help of my team at Unhoused Humanity!

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Ramon and I recording a donor thank you video