The Zell Lurie Institute’s campus-wide business plan competition, the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), concludes on Friday, March 15. ZLI will highlight each of the student teams competing in the MBC Finals.
MBC Semi-Finalist Team
Acqua e Rosa – Mariam Jalloul (MBA/MPH ’19)
How did you come up with your team name?
Acqua e Rosa is Italian for “Water and Rose”! We loved the literal translation of the description of our signature product, which is a clear, acrylic box that allows the full stem and flower arrangement to be visible, with a layer of water sitting at the bottom.
Tell us briefly about your venture.
Our business started when my sister was looking to buy a unique and luxury flower arrangement for her best friend’s engagement party. Knowing her best friend is typically a high-end shopper, she was looking for a high-end product that would be unique and one-of-a-kind. Failing to find what she was looking for in the local Detroit market, she instead purchased a clear, acrylic box online, filled it with roses, and gifted it to her best friend. Almost every guest at the event raved about how beautiful the arrangement was and began asking her where she purchased it from. We knew in that moment that we had a product that high-end customers were seeking and willing to pay for.
We hope to grow Acqua e Rosa into a national aspirational flower brand so that when high-end customers want to purchase the very best, they are purchasing Acqua e Rosa.
How has the MBC experience helped transform your approach to business strategy?
MBC taught us that no facet of a business strategy is too small to consider. Every aspect–from our addressable market and indirect competition to our marketing strategy–cam significantly determine whether we would be successful or not. MBC challenged us to be better entrepreneurs who thoroughly address every aspect of business strategy.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?
The biggest takeaway from this experience is that you must really love the work involved in launching and running your business. The amount of time it takes to ensure its success necessitates that you are passionate and dedicated to the business.
If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?
We will drive to Dearborn, pick up our family for a celebratory dinner, and surprise them with the news that we won! Our family has been incredibly supportive at every step of the business, sharing in the excitement, and even letting us use our home kitchen like an assembly warehouse for the first two holiday pop-ups we had! We would want to share this win with the people who made it possible!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
While launching a business with family can have its own challenges, it has been so incredibly rewarding to work as sisters on this venture. We’ve gotten to spend significantly more time together, and it’s nice to run a business with someone who will extend grace in times of difficulty or drawbacks. We really have been a dream team!
Learn more about these great student startups by attending the Michigan Business Challenge Semi-Finals and Finals on March 15.