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How Chaifetz Senior Diana Crump Transformed Her Sweet Tooth Into a Nearly Six Figure Business

Social media provides ordinary people with a platform to showcase their creativity. Discovering various desserts on Instagram inspired Diana Crump, a senior studying marketing and entrepreneurship at the Chaifetz School of Business, to launch her own cotton candy business, Cloud Nine STL.

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Chaifetz School of Business student, Diana Crump, started her own cotton candy business.

"In high school, I took a marketing course that started my love for business. I realized I could harness all my creativity into designing ad campaigns, coordinating public relations events or even creating revolutionary products and services that improve the way we live," Crump said.

The increased popularity of desserts from cake pops to rolled ice cream inspired Crump to join the growing trend. After officially launching Cloud Nine STL in 2015, Crump has experimented with ways she can put a creative spin on  traditionally flavored sweets, such as producing a kosher product and serving it on glow cones.

As Crump continued to enroll in marketing classes and expanded her interest to entrepreneurship, she realized how much goes into owning a business. The Chaifetz School's business programs allowed her to apply the knowledge gained from her classes in improving her techniques as a young business owner, she said.

"It's safe to say that Cloud Nine STL would have never survived without the help of SLU’s entrepreneurship program," Crump said. "Throughout my courses in this program, I’ve gone from recording my transactions on a very unorganized excel document to being able to accurately forecast revenue for the next couple of years." 

SLU's entrepreneurship program also provided Crump with networking opportunities to showcase her business to event planners in the St. Louis area.

“The professors teaching these classes have so many connections, and if you need a mentor from the St. Louis area who is doing something in the same field, then they can connect you to the best of the best," Crump said.

Through the Chaifetz School's SLUvisor program, an opportunity to receive career advice and coaching from alumni, Crump has learned useful tips to assist her in developing her business.

"I’ve learned how to manage my time and to manage a team to the best of my ability," Crump said. "I’ve learned how important making connections is and maintaining those connections."

Incorporating her passion for marketing, entrepreneurship and sweets, Crump has implemented the skills she's learned as a young business owner as she grows her cotton candy business. Crump has gone from earning an average of $200 at birthday parties to catering 40+ events per year, earning her roughly six figures, she said.

"SLU is definitely the right place for anyone who’s trying to start a small business because they really have the resources you need," Crump said. "If you’re wanting to start your own business, then this is the perfect area."