Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 7, 2017

Joe Mug

Joe for Joe mug

Students Sell Mugs, Benefit Vets 

Destinee Boutwell

Do you have some extra cash from your tax returns and need a place to spend it for a good cause? A class of upperclassmen business students have started their own business selling coffee mugs and Rosie’s medallions for their senior case study course. All profits are given to the Wounded Warrior Project in order to help wounded soldiers get jobs, medical care, and to integrate them back into society. So, if you buy a mug, you are supporting Manchester students and helping to provide a better life for wounded veterans. 

Rebekah Rich is the president of the business. “Our assignment was to build a business from the ground up,” she said. “This included thinking of a product, a target consumer, marketing the project and where we wanted to send the proceeds.”

The business class decided that the Wounded Warrior project was a cause they wanted to support. “When we were trying to decide a marketing slogan, a student brought up that, around World War II, coffee was rationed, and a common slogan was ‘Buy a cup of joe for your Joe overseas,’” Rich said. “People would sell coffee to raise money for the soldiers on the frontlines. It just seemed like it was all meant to go together that we would sell coffee mugs to help soldiers again.”

The business is going to continue until the end of April in various location on campus and off. “My personal goal for this project was to extend our target consumer beyond the campus,” Rich said. “We have set up tables at local events, and people are selling them in their own hometowns, and we have a music event at the Firehouse scheduled for later this month.” 

There are 46 students that needed to work together to get this project up and running. “My goal from the first day was to be as transparent with as possible; my title might be president, but it is a project for the whole class,” Rich said. “We divided up responsibilities in the beginning, so there was a vice president of marketing along with an entire team of students behind them making up the marketing department. There were advertising and promotional managers, product managers, and finance managers and leaders that took on a role in human resources.”

Managing the voices and opinions of 46 individuals can be a huge challenge. “We all presented ideas to the class, which gave people a voice, but eventually we had to make a decision, so we voted. I try to let different departments lead what they need to without having to ask me if it is okay. You are in the position you are in for a reason, so I trust that the departments are making the best decisions they can.”

The coffee mugs and Rosie’s medallions are being sold in the JYSC during lunch and dinner hours. They are also being sold at MU sporting events, Manchester high school events and on an online store. “Our class goal is to sell more and more every week. I hope we can sell out, even though I am not sure what we’re going to do if that happens," said Rich with enthusiasm. “Probably buy more, I guess.”

The Wounded Warrior Project’s mission is to honor and empower veterans who have been injured. This project extends a hand to encourage veterans as they adjust to their new normal. The WWP recognizes that vets can come back from war changed, and they provide health care and services to help them and their families begin to heal. 

This case study was a course that Manchester’s business students take, so it is an educational experience. “I learned to expect the unexpected,” Rich said. “I always think I have provided an answer for every question or problem that could arise, and then something doesn't go like we planned, and so you learn to adjust to the change as fast as you can. I learned to handle situations that I wasn't prepared for or anticipated with a level head.”