Why Would a Creative Agency Consult Student-Run Businesses?

mj barnes

August 3, 2022

August 3, 2022


Expanding our service offerings.

We’re excited to publicly share that, in addition to all of our traditional services, Made in July will soon offer consulting services for student-run businesses.

You just might be asking yourself, “Why would a creative agency consult student-run businesses?”

Well, let’s start at the beginning.

Our origin story.

As you may have already read, our founders (Alain + MJ) first met at Orange Umbrella, the University of Miami’s student-run communication consultancy.

Founded in 2017, Orange Umbrella was truly a startup when Alain joined in 2018. He, along with so many of his peers, applied their classroom knowledge to form and shape it into what it is today - a successful student-run business that has employed over 300 students and completed projects for over 150 clients.

During his time in Orange Umbrella, Alain rose the ranks from designer to Creative Director to VP of Creative Development. This path to upper-level management as a student gave Alain the opportunity to:

  • Expand his creative breadth and capabilities
  • Manage his peers and collaborate across departments
  • Strategize and pitch new business
  • Experience and anticipate the feedback loop in all client-facing work

In other words, he learned a lot.

Because of this, Alain was incredibly attractive to potential employers when he graduated. His experience in Orange Umbrella translated perfectly into the real-world work environment, and employers immediately knew that he could hit the ground running on day one.

Alain says it best:

"Through Orange Umbrella I was taught the confidence, tools, and work ethic I needed to continue my career post-grad. The real-world experience I gained at Orange Umbrella made my transition fluid and easy."

Likewise, MJ has been at the helm of Orange Umbrella’s development since its founding in 2017.  And she’s still leading it today.

For nearly six years, MJ has experienced the high’s and low’s - the successes and failures - of what’s possible in a student-run business. Her management and educational tactics are award-winning, and it’s clear she has a unique way of doing things.

So why does all this matter to Made in July?

Alain and MJ are both testaments to the efficacy of student-run businesses. Separately - and together as co-founders - they are the ultimate proof of concept for student-run businesses: experiential learning heightens professional capabilities.

Now couple that insight with Made in July’s reason for existing:

Made in July’s mission is to provide creative solutions for businesses often overlooked by traditional agencies.

In other words, we want to help businesses that usually don’t get help.

And the truth is, student-run businesses don’t have much help. Try Googling “how to start a student-run business.”

The results will be underwhelming, and they won’t exactly be what you’re looking for anyway.

It’s evident that aside from a journal article or two, hardly any structured support is available to educators and practitioners looking to get a student-run business off the ground and/or to make one operate at an optimal level.

So when there’s an entire industry that’s overlooked - but could benefit from our expertise - why wouldn’t Made in July dive in head-first and share what we know?

It goes beyond just our founders.

Along with Alain and MJ, our entire staff is made up of graduates and student interns who are products of a student-run experience.

And frankly, it’s a beautiful thing.

In fact, each teammate at Made in July:

  • Is a champion of experiential learning
  • Is ready to share their personal experiences and insights
  • Brings additional best practices from working full-time at professional organizations across the country

To say we have a deep bench of experts ready to transform your student-run business is an understatement.

What’s this all for?

In the end, our purpose is to fill a gaping hole in an area that’s so near and dear to us.

Because if you’ve ever wondered, “Who can help me launch a student-run business?” or “Who can ensure our student-run business is operating at its best?” we understand that the answer to those questions used to be no one.

Now the answer is Made in July 🤝.

What to expect from us.

In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to formalize our student-run business consulting service offerings.

We also plan to:

  • Publish articles detailing best practices for student-run businesses
  • Spotlight team members and their experiences
  • Share case studies of both failures and successes  

Do you have specific questions we can answer on this topic? If so, shoot us a note here. Or leave a comment for us on Instagram or LinkedIn.

We’re so excited to venture into this new territory, and we hope you’ll join us for the ride.