Nina Karlin '24
I knew it was a great business school, and the small classes were very attractive to me. I'm not a big test taker, so I couldn’t go to a big state school and be in a lecture hall for two hours. I don't want to be a number. I want my professors to know me personally.
You’re already an active entrepreneur. Tell us about Fresh Kick.
It's a three-in-one shoe accessory that helps prevent creases, eliminates odor, and also absorbs moisture. As an athlete playing Division 1 basketball here at Bryant, and in high school playing three sports, I've always had stinky shoes. It wasn't always the most appealing to my parents when I got in the car.
I looked on the market and there was no product that did all three of these things, so I was like, this is a perfect opportunity for me. I've always had a passion for marketing and selling. When there's a need, I want to be the problem solver and fix it. When I'm passionate about something, nothing will get in my way.
Bryant gave you a $1,000 entrepreneurship grant. How did you use it?
I hired an engineer on Upwork, which helped push forth this idea [and evolve the design]. I'm very thankful to Bryant for that opportunity.
Any courses that are helping you raise your game?
New Product Development, with Adjunct Professor of Marketing Tim Wolski. The class is constantly asking us, “What are you going to do in this scenario?” It's all about developing real-world knowledge that will help me in the future.
Professor Wolski is always just a call or text away — and he's always willing to talk with me before or after class. But he doesn’t tell me just what I want to hear. He’s always challenging me to do more. I want my professors to help me fail so I can get past it and succeed. I think that failure is a huge part of success.
Any other professors who’ve made an impact?
Senior Lecturer of Management Adam Rubin, who taught Global Foundations of Business during my first year. I’ve gotten his opinion on manufacturers, the name of my product, and even the logo of my product.
Have you done any internships?
Yes, with Trailblaze Marketing, founded by Christopher Parisi ’10, and House Enterprise, co-founded by Willliam Tondo ’19 and Jake Zimmer ’19. These two internships really opened the doors to so many different opportunities that I would've never had.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that the connections you make are everything. There are so many people who have connections to different opportunities, and they all want to help each other. There’s a real entrepreneurial spirit and focus on innovation that people want to share.
What’s ahead for you?
I applied for and won a two-year fellowship with Adventure for America, a national nonprofit that places you in a city to get firsthand knowledge with a startup. After that, I’m going to hit the ground running even harder with Fresh Kick.
Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea, just go with it and see where it takes you. Don’t be afraid to fail. I failed numerous times in my life, and I wouldn't be where I am today without that. You're going to learn from it.
Hear more from Nina on Bryant News.
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