Bri Makaric, a junior studying Advertising Management at Michigan State University, received a different kind of capstone course experience than most advertising students. Makaric, founder of BRITE bites, was a client for the Advertising capstone course before she took the class herself as a student.
Makaric started her company back in March of 2018, during her sophomore year. BRITE bites is a probiotic snack food company meant to fuel busy individuals with functional foods.
Makaric was inspired to create the company because of her own dietary restrictions and needs during her time at Michigan State. “I wanted to find an easier, more convenient way to get my probiotics in,” said Makaric. “I was looking for a way to have something more natural in my diet instead of taking all of these supplements.” Probiotics aren’t easy to find in food, and Makaric wanted to change that. The BRITE in BRITE bites stands for Balanced, Real, Integrity, Trust and Energy.
Hatching New Ideas
How does a 19-year-old start her own company while pursuing a full course load? At MSU, students can take advantage of The Hatch, an “incubator space” designed to promote student entrepreneurship. After Makaric pitched her idea to the team, they quickly saw its potential and helped her make it into a reality.
The Hatch helps student entrepreneurs navigate every step of starting a business. Students receive access to free resources and funding for everything from legal matters to product promotion and website development. The Hatch is a resource that is partnered with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor within the college.
“In the beginning, I would say it was just a lot of sampling,” said Makaric. “I was standing outside of fitness centers, doing recipe development and trying to get a product to the market before I even knew what step was next.’’
The Hatch changed Makaric’s life in more ways than one. Through working with the staff, she discovered the Advertising Management major and decided to switch from her previously designated Kinesiology major.
Management Meets Creativity
The Hatch also connected her with David Regan, an instructor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations. Regan teaches ADV 486, the Advertising capstone course that brings together management and creative advertising students to work on real client projects. Shortly after meeting Regan, Brite bites became a client of ADV 486.
“As a very consumer-facing brand, being a client for the class was a great fit for BRITE bites because the students working the company understood our demographic,” said Makaric. “The ideas they came up with were amazing, and now we’re able to use those to push our company forward. It was a great opportunity for us to see how our brand could be portrayed from various angles.”
BRITE bites will soon be launching a new campaign based on the work of the ADV 486 students.