School: University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler School of Business
Team members: Eric Johnson, Sarajane Sparks, Danvers Fleury, Chris Lear, John Lerch
Concept: This team of MBA students combined their athletic, engineering, and marketing expertise to create a line of running apparel designed to combat two nagging problems for athletes: odor control and chafing.
Sportswear engineered to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria is not a new concept. However, Nolia claims to have a more green and cost-effective approach: Its fabrics will be treated with a wash-resistant, antimicrobial substance made from a bacteria-killing derivative of chitosan, which is extracted from crustacean shells and costs less than the heavy metals used in other bacteria-killing treatments.
In an effort to enhance comfort, the garments have fewer seams than competing products. To create brand awareness, Nolia plans to sponsor up-and-coming athletes, whom executives hope will evangelize the apparel at athletic events.
Timeline: Nolia plans to release its first set of products on its website and through specialty running retailers. Nolia's initial line, sold through specialty running retailers and on its website, will include sleeveless, short- and long-sleeve running shirts, sports bras, running shorts and socks, among other items. After three years, the company intends to add a line of leisure sportswear. - Brandi Stewart
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