Blackstone LaunchPad Client T-Shirt Design to Be Sold in Kent State Bookstore

Branding, marketing and strategic business planning were put to the test in the second annual Blackstone LaunchPad T-Shirt Supremacy Competition held recently.

Three finalists, Braisha Owens, a fashion merchandising and marketing major, Vivaldi Gloire Kiyindou Nik, an economics major, and Julie Norton, a public relations major, competed for the opportunity to have their T-shirt design sold in the Kent State University Bookstore.

“T-shirt businesses are often a good entry-level opportunity for students to get engaged with creating their first business,” says Zach Mikrut, marketing and events manager for Blackstone LaunchPad at Kent State.  “Our annual T-shirt competition challenges students to develop a well-thought-out business strategy and pushes them to test their marketing skills by directing fans to vote online and in person for the students’ T-shirt entry over the span of a week.”

The winning T-shirt was designed by Norton, a freshman, whose T-shirt art features the word beautiful in 16 different languages.

"I am beyond thrilled to have won the Blackstone LaunchPad T-shirt design competition,” Norton says. “Entrepreneurship has become a new interest of mine, and I hope to continue to pursue it. This brand represents that although there are different outlooks of beauty, the definition remains the same across cultures and unifies each and everyone’s unique form of beauty.”

Norton was awarded a $250 gift card to the Kent State Bookstore and will have her T-shirt design sold in the bookstore for a limited run. 

“This is the second year that the Kent State University Bookstore has supported Kent State student entrepreneurs through the Blackstone LaunchPad T-Shirt Competition,” says Susan Aylward, director of the Kent State Bookstore. “We found Julie’s (Norton) winning design complementary to the message of diversity and cultural awareness that our store regularly promotes and look forward to offering her design for sale to the wider Kent community later this summer.”

Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad promotes entrepreneurship as a viable career path. Through mentoring, workshops and events, and connecting entrepreneurs to resources, Blackstone LaunchPad helps Kent State students, faculty, staff and alumni to create new startups or grow existing businesses in Northeast Ohio. For more information about the Blackstone LaunchPad program,

The Kent State University Bookstore offers official logo merchandise, software and online ordering.
For more information about the University Bookstore, visit

POSTED: Monday, April 28, 2014 12:00 AM
UPDATED: Thursday, June 20, 2024 12:27 PM
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