Author Archive for Joanie Brown


IdeaPaintLogo_4cIdeaPaint is a dry erase paint company that was founded in 2002 by John Goscha as a freshman at Babson College in Massachusetts. According Goscha and its other founders Andrew Foley and William Gioielli, IdeaPaint’s purpose is to inspire and encourage everyone in their creative potential through their primary product which can transform almost any smooth surface into an erasable canvas, giving people the space they need to fully explore their ideas.


Back in their dorms at Babson College, these entrepreneurs would hang large sheets of paper on their walls to have a better space to think through their ideas. However, they would constantly have to tear it down and put more up every time they ran out of room and they thought, Surely there must be a better way. The team searched for this product but, to their surprise, they found nothing. So they set off on a six year journey to make this product commercially viable. Now they are widely successful and have been recognized by Mashable and Forbes. Goscha says “I look forward to the company bringing great products to market that inspire creativity and innovation in all of our customers for many years to come.”


matt-mickiewiczMatthew Mickiewicz, along with Mark Harbottle, founded, which provides cutting-edge content for web professionals, whether it be developers, designers, programmers, freelancers, or site owners. Their mission is to deliver new ideas, emerging concepts, and teach state-of-the-art technology to their readers. They have practical tutorials, books, articles, and courses – everything having to do with building the web. They publish their content specifically for start-up web developers and designers who wish to have quality web sites.

PerfectFit Pointe Shoe Inserts

tumblr_nv8iejWQkO1tkyw1co1_1280Anyone who has done ballet long enough to go on pointe knows how much pain goes into such a graceful art. The blood, sweat, and tears are things that I accepted as a part of ballet, not even thinking that there could be a less painful and damaging way to dance. For decades, modern ballerinas have been experiencing the crippling effect of pointe shoes. Not only are their feet covered in blisters and calluses, but the basic anatomy of their feet can change as well. In my personal experience with pointe shoes, my foot shrunk two whole shoe sizes in less than one year. This just goes to show the immense pressure that is put on dancers’ feet, and with a sport where the feet are so important, it is vital to protect them as much as possible.



However, people have not tried to re-imagine the pointe shoe for decades because the only way to make it “more comfortable” is to compromise the structural safety of the shoe. But serial entrepreneur, Kelly Schmutte, decided to instead re-imagine the toe pads that go into the pointe shoes. She recognized that dancers are approaching the problem the wrong way. Instead of adding more padding on certain pressure points in the shoes and that we should add supportive padding where there is no pressure to better distribute weight throughout the shoe.
She says, “The less of your foot in contact with the shoe interior (and the more voids there are within the shoe box), the greater the pressure that accumulates at these high stress points.” The current toe pads, as well as separate accessories designed to pad pressure points, not only reduce the critical ability to feel the shoe and the floor, but also often increase the pressure in those areas.

With her new product, Perfect Fit Shoe Inserts, Schmutte says it is far more effective to take a proactive approach by filling the voids around the pressure points (so as to offload pressure), rather than taking a reactive approach of padding the pressure points. static1.squarespaceThese pointe shoe inserts work by using a type of moldable putty that you form around your foot, putting cloth around the putty, and wearing them in your shoes to get the mold of your feet. The goal is that there will be more putty to take up the “empty spaces” in the shoes so that your body’s weight can be more evenly distributed.

JackGap: Shed Session

photoTwin brothers Jack and Finn Harries have had a relatively distinct presence on Youtubefor several years now. With over 4 million subscribers on their channel titled JacksGap since 2011, it is no wonder that have some level of influence on the Youtube community. However, their normal content is not what I want to talk about. It’s a branch of their channel that they recently formed that has caught my attention. Shed Sessions is a strand of content where they showcase musicians playing acoustic music in their neighbor’s shed. Both loving quality music, Jack and Finn, are striving to expose start-up and small town musicians to a wider audience to benefit both the artists and listeners by giving them new content to listen to. While announcing the new project on their blog, Jack said,

“Music is something that I have always felt passionate about, in particular acoustic music. So it only felt natural to me to share it on our channel… There is something really exciting about being able to share music in such a raw and intimate setting. It is important to us to record Shed Sessions in one shot, with one angle. We want to capture the song in its rawest form.”

JacksGap has featured artists such as JP Cooper, Jeremy Loops, and We Were Evergreen. I myself have enjoyed listening to new artists and experiencing their music in such a natural setting. Jack and Finn recognized that no one with a significant Youtube following was promoting growing, talented musicians and so they took initiative. JacksGap has experienced significant success with Shed Sessions with views per video averaging around 1 million. The JacksGap channel continues to grow and explore new possibilities and it will be exciting to see which new avenues they will take over the next few years.





Over this past summer, filmmaker  and youtuber Casey Neistat and former VP of Engineering for Tumblr, Matt Hacket launched a new app called “Beme”. After working on the project for over a year, the duo was finally ready to release their new format for video sharing.

“Beme” is an app that, according to Neistat and Hackett, captures the unfiltered and genuine moments in life. “Beme” captures videos with the rear camera in four-second bursts by covering an iPhone’s proximity sensor. The screen goes black so users have no way of previewing the content. Viewing others’ content is done via a snapchat like interface where you hold down your finger to play and when the video finishes, it’s gone forever. The app lets you react to other peoples’ content with the iPhone’s front camera by sending a selfie to someone as they watch the video.

So what makes “Beme” different or better than other forms of video sharing, such as Snapchat? Being frustrated by the superficiality of social media today, Neistat feels that “Beme” allows users to consciously capture their life without altering it to make it seem like something that it’s not. With such widespread use of social media, Neistat felt that there needed to be something that could capture life in the most unaffected, candid manner. Neistat states that he loves sharing apps, such as Instagram, but it’s not the right platform to share little photos of what he sees throughout the day, rather it’s a place to share beautifully edited aspects of his life. According to Neistat, social media today is built to share with the world a version of who you are. Now, “Beme” wants you to share who you really are.


Within eight days of release, “Beme” users shared 1.1 million videos and sent 2.4 million reactions. As of now, Neistat and Hackett decided on a slower, invite-only rollout to ensure that each user had at least one friend on the app. The partners said that they hope to upgrade the app’s background soon so that they can do away with invite codes and let anyone join. In addition, while this is currently only available on Apple devices, they are working to develop it into an app for Androids as well.

Suja Juice: Four Diverse Entrepreneurs Come Together to Realize a Single Dream

Juice seems like an industry where there is nothing left to innovate. Almost every food can be juiced and it seems that there is a market for even the most bizarre mixtures. So if juice production has gone just about as far as it can, what did four Californians do in 2012 to completely revolutionize the way so many people think of fruit and vegetable juices? Two words: Cold-pressed.

Since 1864, the only way that most of the world would consume beverages was if they were pasteurized. Pasteurization has done great things for science and saved countless lives, however, while it kills bacteria, it also does away with the good vitamins and minerals, and completely changes the flavor of our food. People like two of Suja’s co-founders, Annie Lawless and Eric Ethans, were frustrated by the lack of pure, organic products on grocery store shelves. So Lawless and Ethans started their own local, juicing business. They loved the idea of producing non-GMO fruit and vegetable juices on a larger scale but they didn’t want to compromise the flavor or nutrients of the drinks. The only way for them to do that would be to process the juices using a cold press, or high pressure processing.

High pressure processing, or HPP, is a cold pasteurization technique which consists of subjecting food, previously sealed in flexible and water-resistant packaging, to a high level of pressure transmitted by water. HPP not only kills bacteria, but also keeps the flavor and nutrients of the beverage intact. They were familiar with cold-pressing or high pressure processing, but did not yet have the funds or means to produce it on a large enough scale to make any money.


This is where Suja’s other two co-founders, James Brennan and Jeff Church, come in. When Brennan met Ethans he was instantly hooked on the juices. Inspired and searching for support he asked one of his previous partners, Jeff Church, to join the mission. Initially, Church was reluctant. “As a self-declared meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, I agreed to meet Ethans as a mentor but told him I probably wouldn’t like the juice. I tried it and it just stopped me in my tracks.”

Now with the more than willing help of serial entrepreneurs, Brennan and Church, everything seemed to come together for Lawless and Ethans. Since its inception in 2012, Suja Juice has become a national sensation, serving products in stores like Whole Foods and Target all over the country. In 2015, they made Forbes’ #2 spot in America’s Most Promising Companies and made an estimated $42 million in 2014, expecting it to have doubled in 2015. In an interview with Forbes in early 2014, the quarter stated that they owe much of their success to one of the only things the group has in common: their shared passion and belief in the juice they seek to sell.

There is so much to learn from entrepreneurs like these four. Not many people thought that it would be possible to produce non-pasteurized juices on this level, but here I am on the East Coast sipping on my own carrot juice produced by Suja in San Diego, California. Their passion for real organic, non-GMO food led them to completely revolutionize the juicing industry. They took a small, local business and brought it to the global level in just four years. Suja and its founders are being recognized by magazines such as Entrepreneurs and Forbes as hugely successful. What started off as two yoga instructors selling green smoothies to their friends turned into a multi-million dollar company. If that’s not entrepreneurship, I don’t know what it.