We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here. Our series of alumni spotlight blogs feature Profs who have stayed connected to the Rowan community after graduation. Here we speak with 2016 graduates Cassie Aran and Brandon Lucante, who own Cookie Munchers.
Shortly after their May 2016 graduation, new alumni Cassie Aran and Brandon Lucante partnered with local Rowan Boulevard business Ry’s Bagels to bring their own business idea to life. They established a late-night cookie delivery service called Cookie Munchers that, in less than two months, rapidly expanded, attracting many after-dark, sugar-craving customers from the Glassboro and Pitman areas.
Cookie Munchers currently delivers seven different types of cookies, including seasonal pumpkin spice cookies and, of course, milk. With the fast approaching holidays, Cassie and Brandon are working intensely on expanding the menu and perfecting current recipes. In the near future, the menu will include cookie cakes that will have to be pre-ordered, and possibly some ice cream and brownies. “I like marketing Cookie Munchers, except now we are hiring a marketing intern because we don’t even have time,” admits Cassie, as the startup simultaneously plans to expand to market to families and grow its menu.
The whole idea behind the business was to save enough money and go for a year-long backpacking trip across the world. Cassie and Brandon have enough travel experience to pull it off, as both of them visited nearly a dozen countries already and lived in Australia for five months. The adventurous couple even participated in the RedBull “Can you make it?” challenge with no cell phone or money, but with only RedBull as their currency trying to get from Berlin to Paris in a week. The challenge was a risky but great entrepreneurial experience.
After the couple leaves for their future trip they hope that Ryan, owner of Ry’s Bagels, will take over the business. “We won’t let Cookie Munchers die,” says Cassie. For now two Rowan grads are enjoying building and expanding their startup idea, but as Brandon mentions, in the future they will shift gears to pursue their main goal: “Business in a travel field is what we want to do, because that’s our passion. That’s what we love to do.”
Cassie and Brandon unanimously agreed that Rowan prepared them to start their business. Since freshman year, two of Cassie’s entrepreneurship professors within the Rohrer College of Business, Dr. Linda Ross and Dr. Robert D’Intino, have always supported and pushed her to attend networking events and conferences to meet with entrepreneurs. She joined Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) club freshman year, and the following year became a president of the club. The club connected her to national conferences, where she met a lot of mentors and public speakers, like participants from Shark Tank, who are still helping her today.
Brandon double majored in PR and advertising within the College of Communications & Creative Arts. “I love to write, but I also like the creative aspect and freedom advertising offers.” Two of his main mentors were Professor Cristin Farney, who was his first PR professor, and Professor Asi Nia-Schoenstein, his Basic PR Writing professor who really helped him improve and fine tune his writing skills. During his college years, he joined Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and PRaction, the University’s student-run PR firm and he occasionally attended CEO meetings. He remembers that his Publication Layout & Design class was very helpful and taught him how to communicate creatively by through design, things he uses in his business today when designing fliers.
Watch the enthusiastic couple learn how to run a startup saving up for the trip around the world on their “Behind the Scenes” Vlog.
Feature photo courtesy of Cassie Aran and Brandon Lucante
By: Natalia Panfilova