School project evolves into corporation

Chris Hardy -- New business idea seeks to increase environmental and social awareness among our youth.

Chris Hardy -- New business idea seeks to increase environmental and social awareness among our youth.In summer 2011, senior Brittani Ciupek was asked to develop a conceptual business for an introductory marketing course. However, Ciupek did not stop there; she was inspired to bring the concept to life.

Ciupek said she wanted to create a business that would both empower the consumer and give back to society.

The business idea is called, “Dot Culture.”

Dot Culture is represented by a series of five dots, each a different color and each representing a different cause. The causes the dots represent include: red for relief, green for biosphere, blue for water, yellow for ethne and pink for cancer. Under each dot there is a list of organizations that works within that cause.

In order to create awareness and raise funding organizations, Dot Culture will sell T-shirts and tank tops for $22.50 each. Direct donations start at $5.

“You as the consumer choose your shirt and then you choose an organization. There is a list of organizations under each dot … a direct donation is given to the cause of your choice,” Ciupek said.

After making sure the idea was realistically possible, legislation was the first step Ciupek investigated. She wanted to make sure she was protected before moving forward.

Today, Dot Culture is an active corporation with the state of California.

“It’s not necessarily a nonprofit due to the fact that it is going to run as a business but be taxed as a nonprofit. This legislation is kind of cool because it just came out this past January. As I was developing this business, they were developing the legislation for the type of business I wanted to be in California,” Ciupek said.

Ciupek invested approximately $6,000 of personal funds into establishing Dot Culture.

“I’m the sole investor of it so far … I don’t want to ask for investments at this point, only because I don’t have time to fully devote to it,” Ciupek said.

Other priorities including a heavy academic schedule, family and finances have slowed but not halted preparation for the launch of Dot Culture.

In October 2011, Ciupek began working with a Redlands pastor with web design talent on the Dot Culture website.

“Right now the heart of youth and young adults is just to have an outlet and have a voice for something but they don’t necessarily know what,” Ciupek said.

Ciupek explains that Dot Culture seeks to help educate, and several features on the website will aid that purpose.

Ciupek now expects to be ready to launch in July or August.

“The organizations have been chosen. They have been contacted. Everyone is so excited because who wouldn’t want funding and awareness for free? I’m not charging them anything, there’s no business aspect for it … I’m not doing this to make a profit personally. I’m doing this because it needs to happen,” Ciupek said.

The initial launch will include three organizations: Operation Blessing, World Relief and Compassion International.

In December 2011, Cuipek entered the Business Idea Competition with Dot Culture. She was one of five finalists.

“I got to present the idea for the first time in front of a panel of judges … I was really nervous at first to bring Dot Culture out into the open. I think it’s a great idea because it’s so simple and anyone can do this — I’m literally just making T-shirts and tank tops,” Ciupek said.

Dot Culture’s working slogan is “Rock the Dot.”

The future may very well see individuals inside the CBU community and beyond “Rock the Dot.”

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