College students are expected to do it all – classes, internships, part-time jobs, and homework. On top of these duties, cleaning around their living space or making a trip to the department store for necessities can slip through the cracks of a busy schedule. Brayton Deprey, an English and Politics double major at Drake University, knows the struggle all too well. Through the trials and tribulations of a hectic lifestyle, the idea for Settled In was born.
“The concept came – partially – from recognizing that need in my own life. After working an eight hour day, night class, and then homework, I hate having to do chores around my apartment or go grocery shopping; and I figured other people probably feel the same way, so that’s what Settled In does.”
The idea became funded through one of Drake University’s entrepreneur programs. A flyer caught Deprey’s eye advertising Lorentzen Student Hatchery. The Entrepreneurship Center in the College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) gives grant money to student-funded businesses to help them get started while balancing schoolwork. “It’s a lot like ‘Shark Tank’ where you pitch your idea to a group of entrepreneurs and they decide to invest in you, or not… I’m not in the Business school, or have even taken a business class – but I thought it was intriguing.”
Since that initial pitch, Settled In has grown significantly. As a business model that mimics having a personal concierge service, Deprey and her partner, Alexi Delathouder learned how to respond to the market and their customers. They give credit to the business school program in helping them along on their journey.
The Challenges of a New Business
With a new business comes a number of challenges for any young entrepreneur. After the excitement of winning grant money and filing for an LLC, even the smallest of tasks became a challenge for the Settled In team. “We didn’t know how to build a website, how to find customers, we didn’t even really have a solid idea yet. The first month or two was just a lot of thinking about ‘what is Settled In?’” Through the help of mentors, support from friends and family, and assistance from the Hatchery, the partners carried on through the launch of Settled In.
While launching Settled In during the summer, Deprey had time on her side. By not having to attend class, she was able to dedicate her energy into working on the business, networking, and recruiting clients to help it flourish. As school began this past semester, she discovered running the business while maintaining good grades was a balancing act. “In all honesty, though, it just forces me to prioritize my time a lot better. I’ve gotten a lot more organized, and I never go anywhere without my planner.”
The Future of Settled In
Expansion is contingent upon the ultimate success of Settled In by the time Deprey graduates from college (which will be this December). Her partner is from Texas, and she is from Wisconsin, they both plan to take Settled In home with them. “If the Des Moines Settled In becomes plausible, we’d like to hire someone to run it, while we each move home and start it in our home cities. Eventually we envision having different locations all over, maybe franchises – that would be amazing!”
Deprey’s future is still being written. If there is anything she learned from the Settled In experience so far, it is to take all opportunities in college and capitalize on them.
“You never know where something will take you. I never would have realized how much I love the entrepreneurship community in Des Moines, or met some of the most influential people of my life if I hadn’t started Settled In.”
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