When you’re researching China as an export market, there’s just so far you can go with the Internet, says Katherine Hoekstra, who’s majoring in both management and entrepreneurship/small business management. Katherine and two other North Central students used Internet resources to research China as a new market for Itzy Ritzy—a Naperville-based, high-end marketer of baby and toddler products like strollers. They took on the project for the company through the Entrepreneurial and International Business Organization on campus.
Katherine wanted to take the project a step further and conduct research in China so she could further refine the export strategy for Itzy Ritzy. “I applied for a Richter Independent Study Fellowship from North Central to conduct more research,” she says.
During her 10 days in China, Katherine relied on a North Central student, Cameron Bechard, who’s majoring in Chinese and studying abroad, to assist with translation while she collected survey information. She visited both Shanghai and Beijing to determine the potential market for Itzy Ritzy stores.
“I’ve already started to change my opinion, that perhaps a mall with luxury brands may not be the place for an Itzy Ritzy storefront,” she says. “Regardless of my findings, this trip was so liberating for me—I can say I planned an entire trip to China myself. This experience didn’t just change me, it enhanced me.”