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Innovation Studies Student Launches Business During Pandemic

Posted by:
May 28, 2021

In less than six months, Mariken Lund '22 built a website for her sustainable clothing business, received a crush of orders, and started averaging 60,000+ views on TikTok and other social media platforms. And she did it all during a pandemic.

Lund is an international student who normally studies Business and other subjects at PLU. However, during the pandemic, she returned to Oslo, Norway and took a year of PLU classes remotely. It seemed like a typical distance learning story until she began experimenting with her mother’s 25-year-old sewing machine.

“I saw this old machine sitting in the closet and wondered if I could sew a skirt with it,” Lund recalled. “After some training videos and a little effort, I was making clothes and having fun!”

During the 2020-2021 school year, Lund also worked through two courses in the Innovation Studies program with Professor Michael Halvorson. Despite learning online, the lessons stuck.

“The goal of Innovation Studies is to help us be creative and multiply our impact through teaming and social initiatives,” she said. “I was hooked!”

Lund continued to experiment with clothing design and her friends began to notice. During Winter 2020, she decided to advertise some of her hand-made products to people in the Oslo area.

The response was strong enough that she launched, a clothing business focused on women’s fashion and sustainability initiatives.

Lund’s journey into business and design was enabled by a unique combination of her talents, beliefs about sustainability, and the Innovation Studies curriculum, which trains students to focus on values and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“What pushed me to start ELSK the Studio was simply a desire to be creative and to do something on my own that didn’t feel like office work or a traditional job,” she said.

That sentiment is typical among students in the Innovation Studies program. The 20-credit minor is designed as a companion program to strengthen each major on campus and make it outward-facing. Innovation Studies is currently among the fastest-growing programs at PLU, with students enrolling with core interests in Business, Art & Design, Computer Science, History, Economics, Communication, and more.

Keep reading Lund’s incredible story on the Innovation Studies Blog.