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10.10.2013

This UGA grad is betting you’ll eat bugs ...

The idea of eating bugs may seem a bit "out there" to most of us, but one daring Bulldog has made it his business. Harman Johar (BSES ’13, BSAB ’13) launched a company that sells insects as food while attending UGA. Today, that business is putting Johar on the map.

During his sophomore year, while on a date at a sushi restaurant, Johar realized that while the idea of eating raw fish was considered outrageous 20 years ago, raw fish is common these days. Johar, a marketing and entemology student at the time, was curious what Americans would be eating in the future. It was at that moment that he began to conceptualize his business.

Johar began by enlisting the help of college friends who were majoring in graphic design, finance, biology, new media and public relations. After formulating a general business structure with those friends, Johar officially launched World Entomophagy.

Within a week, Johar attracted his first customer: a bakery in Ohio looking for a product for the Halloween season. The result was a spiced pumpkin rum cake covered in chocolate and dipped in caramelized mealworms - perfect for a spooky holiday! Other clients quickly followed and before long, he was catching the business world's attention.

Johar was named runner-up in the 2013 Global Student Entrepreneurial Awards sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Organization. He was also selected as a "Startup to Watch" in the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s 2013 Business Person of the Year Awards. Johar attended the G20 Summit as a U.S. delegate and was a social entrepreneurship panelist at the summit this year.

Now that he has graduated, the alumnus plans to open a large production facility where he can begin full production in early 2014. Johar hopes to lead a sustainable, edible insect trend in America - especially in culinary forward-thinking cities like Austin, Texas.

So, how does it work? Johar grows mainly crickets and mealworms in oatmeal and other grains so the insects are constantly surrounded by food. He adds apples and carrots that serve as water sources. The end result is a protein-rich bug. When populations reach sufficient levels, he harvests enough to fill orders and kills them painlessly in a process he developed. Then, the insects are dry-roasted, sealed in an airtight bag and shipped around the country.

I must admit I've never had a "spiced pumpkin rum cake covered in chocolate and dipped in caramelized mealworms," but I'm impressed by the creativity shown by Harman. I wish him the very best in this business endeavor - and may just have to try a creation using his "ingredients" in the future!

Read more about Harman Johar online at Mother Nature Network.

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02.25.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Sara Alread (BFA ’09)

Sara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business, Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member. 

Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."

Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.

      

Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs

Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Golden Isles Magazine, and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

To learn more about Sara and Little River Designs, check out the website and Facebook page.

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02.23.2015

Sisters Rethink “Something Borrowed”

Sisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.

The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible

Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."

The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the New York Times’ Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.

Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings. 

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02.20.2015

Amazing Student: Sarah Huber '15

From the moment she stepped foot on the campus, Sarah Huber could tell that UGA was the perfect place for her. Nearly four years later, the future dentist calls the journey an “extraordinary experience.”

Throughout my four years at UGA, I have experienced significant development in my character and drastic change in my approach to life. I entered college with an outlook that was enthusiastic, yet full of uncertainty in my surroundings and in my hopes for the future. Today, my recent acceptance to dental school and each of the incredible relationships I have formed at UGA serve as reminders of the extraordinary experience that this university has provided me over these past four years.

Read more about Sarah's incredible four years at UGA.

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