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Nina Hooper Feel Good Cake: Learning from the Student Entrepreneur

Nina Hooper is a Harvard astrophysics student by day and a “guilt-free,” vegan, chocolate lava cake baker by night – well, by early morning.  At 6 a.m. several days of the week, Hooper gets up to bake cakes for her business, Holistic, which is now a project on Kickstarter.

We’re featuring this entrepreneur in our spotlight because we admire her work and drive. Also, she insisted bringing in her cakes for the whole FBU team as an introduction to her brand, which is high-function bribery. In addition to having brilliant and creative marketing ideas — one of which resulted in a tweet from Sir Richard Branson himself — the path Hooper is following as she develops her product in the market will resonate with a lot of our newer entrepreneurs. Like Hooper, they may be juggling a full-time occupation along with their startup business.

We talked with Hooper about her background and the experience of producing, funding, marketing and distributing products on her own. As the daughter of a certified nutritionist, Hooper was exposed to health and wellness at an early age, but explained that her main driver for starting a food business was her interest.

When FBU asked how Hooper balances the responsibilities for school and run a business, Hooper graciously ran through her day for us.

“I typically get up pretty early around 6 or 7, and will usually make a batch of cakes in the morning and then I have Chinese class at 9 a.m. So after I make and package the cakes and deliver them, I’ll then run to Chinese and sit in class for an hour — and then I usually have 10 a.m. to 1 or 2 free until my next class, so I’ll probably go to the dining hall and drink lots of coffee and do marketing stuff, so it’s just constantly reaching out to people. — I definitely put in a solid number of hours every single day into doing all of that.”

Catch the rest of Hooper’s entrepreneurial story and experience of starting up on FBU.  Part two of our interview with Hooper will focus on Kickstarter and ways of using it to both fund and bring attention to your brand, along with an introduction to the Harvard Innovations Lab, which Hooper is a part of.

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