The Pitch: Kaje Notebooks

Student entrepreneurs pitch their start up company to Erasmus Magazine. This edition, Julius Neu and Frederikc Rustler, IBA students from Germany, present their company Kaje Notebooks. Julius and Frederick sell notebooks that work just like a whiteboard. Name: Julius Neu (21) & Frederick Rustler (21) from Germany

Study: International Business Administration

Company: Kaje Notebooks, started in May 2014.

In short: ‘We want to help people save paper and provide them with a better feeling of writing by using our notebooks that work just like a whiteboard’.

Turnover: ‘Since we just started, we don’t know yet. The notebooks are for sale since September and we sold around 150 of them in the first month’.

The idea: ‘We saw similar books for sale in Canada on the internet and immediately thought it was a cool product we wanted to have. Since there was nothing like it here, we decided to redevelop it so we can sell it ourselves.’

Setting up the business: ‘We came up with the idea in February this year and registered as a Dutch company in May. We did some research, contacted suppliers and tested different materials. We haven’t done a survey or market research, we just developed it. Now we are looking who are most interested in our product. We aimed at students first, but we noticed there is a lot of interest from companies as well. It’s great for in house marketing for example, instead of those boring sketchbooks you normally get at meetings. The notebooks get a lot of attention, we where even mentioned in Forbes lately.’

Unique Selling Point: ‘The unique writing feeling, the fact that you can reuse it and that it really feels like a whiteboard. We focus on customized designs, which is why we are not afraid another company will copy our idea.’

What we learned from our study: ‘A lot of students complain it’s not really useful in real life. We noticed that when you decide to start a business, you have the tools and the skills to make a business model. We now have a lot more fun going to lectures, because we know exactly what we are doing it for.’

Most important personal lesson: ‘Just go out en do it, even if you can’t do it perfect the first time. Expose yourself, get out there. Most people think you have to conceptualize everything first and need to have Superman powers to make it happen. Once you do it, you will make progress along the way.’

Kaje Notebooks in five years: ‘We have a lot more idea’s, not only for Kaje Notebooks but for other products as well. Maybe Kaje Notebooks can become some sort of holding company. In the short term we want to improve our product and get more colour and customization options.’ BK