Campus Cactus began with a single question: how could I help incoming college students adjust to campus life? Partenerd with Ryan and Kim Habbyshaw of Local Supply Co. We answered this question the best way we could. With cacti.
Company Development and Branding, Experience Design, Event Coordination
we built a brand.
Establishing Campus Cactus' presence, especially online, was important to getting the ball rolling. We collected content for weeks. A website outlined the important details. Instagram connected us to potential customers and a Facebook event gave students something to look forward to.
We made connections.
It takes a village, as they say. I partnered with Loyal Supply Co., a Somerville based design shop, to make Campus Cactus a reality. Together we made supporting local businesses and building a sense of community a priority. For example, our cacti were supplied by a Massachusetts based nursery. And, of course, these events couldn't have gotten off the ground without the support of the Tufts community
We designed an experience.
This was more than just a cactus sale. Our events cultivated creative thinking. By establishing an encouraging social environment around the event, students built the confidence necessary to go from saying "I don't know which one to pick!" to having a whole backstory for their new spiky friend. And let's face it — the googlie eyes were the perfect final touch to really bring the cacti to life.
A legacy left behind.
Since its start, Campus Cactus has welcomed the incoming freshman class at Tufts for two years. We also spent weekends at Harvard, Union Square, and SOWA open market. Following my graduation from Tufts, Campus Cactus is continuing in Loyal's hands.
Hundreds of cacti connections made.
It was time to see LovePop vendors in action. Observing and interviewing shoppers at a handful of LovePop stops ranging in size and varying in location answered a lot of questions — What makes the sale? Who is buying LovePops? What works and what doesn't work?
Our research didn't stop with LovePop vendors. Ryan and I wanted to look beyond greeting cards for potential inspiration. A candy shop, german power tools, and sustainable displays for upcycled bags (among other things) were some of our best sources of inspiration as we moved into the next stage of development.
Guided by the findings of our research, Ryan and I went back to the drawing board to brainstorm potential solutions. We iterated through the good and the bad of our ideas until we eventually landed on something that fulfilled our user needs and product requirements. But before we went back to the LovePop team to present our solution, we needed to make sure it could work. Developing a prototype to be tested in shop allowed us to get some real-world observations and tangible user feedback to justify our solutions with legitimate research and data.