Dayton Brother's Class Project Turns into Full-Blown Business

Nov 08, 2019 – Danielle Ruffolo, Dayton (OH), first pitched the idea of Handy Hats during her sophomore entrepreneurship program as an assignment.

Handy HatsThe idea was to create hats with built-in pouches that can conceal everyday essential items, like credit cards, cash, student IDs and even lip balm. Much to her excitement, it was one of the top ten ideas, meaning soon she had a team formulated to help make the business venture a reality. With a team of five students, a $5,000 budget from the university and the responsibility of managing every aspect of the venture, the teams would update each other in a management meeting once per week on their business's progress.

After the class ended, a professor encouraged Danielle to continue Handy Hats - and at 19 years old she did just that! Danielle utilized partnerships to take the business to the next level, working with the Pink Ribbon Girls to create hats to benefit breast cancer research. She is thankful for her Deltasig brothers, who helped sell hats during table hours, modeled for photo shoots and spread the word about the business through social media and word-of-mouth. "Delta Sigma Pi is a group that I am so thankful to be a part of," says Danielle. "It was so much more than something to get involved with, but a place where I enriched myself to become a more polished business professional, and it became family. In fact, my parents met at a Delta Sigma handy hats 2Pi event way back in 1987... so I guess that makes me a DSP baby!"

Fast forward, the company has accelerated impressively, having raised over $80,000 in sales, won $50,000 in resources and prize money form the University of Dayton, competed on Shark Tank and is currently working with a law firm to finalize patents for the design.

According to Danielle, "When I first presented my idea, I had no idea it would result in such an amazing learning experience and something I am SO passionate about." 
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