At the final presentation of the “Sales Policy” course in the General Management Master’s programme the students had to impress a very special jury: Besides Prof. Dr. Torsten Weber and Christian Laaff, the lecturer of the course, Lencke Steiner was also part of it.
Lencke Steiner is a well-known entrepreneur and politician – she is a member of the federal executive committee of the German Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) and member and chairwoman of her parliamentary group in the Bürgerschaft, the state parliament of Bremen. She also gained fame for participating in her role as entrepreneur and business angel in the jury of the TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen”, literally The Lions’ Cave, the German version of Dragons’ Den. For two seasons, Lencke Steiner sat on stage alongside other entrepreneurs as a “lioness” to invest in the ideas and companies of founders – but only if she was convinced of the potential of the founders and their ideas. Convincing her was exactly the task of the Master students on this day.
Re-inventing the beanbag
In the weeks before their final presentation, the students were given the task to develop a sustainable product including business plan, sales and marketing concept, as well as a manufacturing strategy – everything should be as realistic as possible. The students developed a first idea, a really sustainably produced flip-flop made of recycled plastic. But they had to drop the idea in the process because their own research showed that sustainably produced plastics could not meet all product requirements.
Their second – and more promising – idea was the re-invention of the well-known beanbag. They improved it, and most importantly, made a sustainable product out of it. The “Sitzling” (literally: Sitling) was born. The 100% sustainable beanbag is designed to be produced in Germany and features outstanding weather-resistance. As a special highlight, a parasol can be attached to the beanbag.
The “Sitzling” project was planned in every detail. The team developed two products, a logo, a marketing concept and identified potential distribution channels. They even created an Instagram page. Both products of the “Sitzling” range of course needed a name and an individual personality, so the team selected the names “Gustav” and “Hildegard”. This way, the customer not only buys a piece of seating furniture, but also individuality, style and an appealing brand world.
The search for the right materials and possible producers was also carried out very close to reality. In some cases the team’s approach was so realistic that producers preferred not to release any information out of fear of industrial espionage.