Bright Lights, big idea

Mount Royal University Bachelor of Business Administration - Marketing student, Carsen Kendel never imagined that his love of electronic music and unique sense of style would turn into a successful business venture.
Carsen Kendel's idea is benefitting from his education and it's beginning to pay off.

Mixing his creative side and business drive, Kendel is lighting up nightlife in Western Canada as the proud owner of Night Envy - a high-quality, illuminated clothing company.

"This past summer (2011), I took my business to three different electronic festivals, Fozzy Fest, Motion Notion and Shambhala Electronic Music Festival," says Kendel.

Not only did Night Envy gross over $ 10,000 in sales, but Kendel was awarded "Best New Vendor" at Shambhala.

"A few years ago, I originally created the product for myself, but people really responded to it," explains Kendel.

"Some guy tried to buy my hat off of me for $200."

I had made myself a hat, tie and shoes with electroluminescent wire and went to Shambhala - Canada's premier electronic music festival," explains Kendel.

"Everywhere people were taking my picture and it clicked in my mind that there was a great opportunity there."

After that, Kendel hit the ground running.

The glowing entrepreneur

Kendel admits that he has always had an entrepreneurial mindset.

"I was out shoveling sidewalks or making lemonade as a kid - whatever I could do to make some extra money," Kendel says.

Kendel took his "glowing" idea of electroluminescent clothing and brought it to the Mount Royal entrepreneurship program where he crafted a business plan with the help and encouragement of his peers and faculty.

Associate Professor, Margaret Brown is one faculty member that worked with Kendel to help bring Night Envy to life.

"[Carsen] believes in the product and continually listens to the feedback from his current and prospective customers, all of his instructors and those in the business that have valuable experiences that he can learn from," says Brown.

Kendel's journey with Night Envy is a story that many students can learn from.

"I love the quote 'Life begins at the end of your own comfort zone'," says Kendel.

The knowledge is there and when it is time to take that first step from classroom to business you are well-armed and sometimes without knowing it."

Making it happen

In addition to a full-time class schedule and work, Kendel finds time to work on his business every day.

"It all stems back to passion and you have to be out there representing your business," explains Kendel. "The marketing side of things has been a very organic process for me"

Kendel's enthusiasm for his clothing line is so contagious that his excitement for electroluminescent clothing has rubbed off on some pretty key players in the electronic music world.

"I have a few internationally acclaimed DJs wearing my products," says Kendel. "DJs are as famous as rock stars and very iconic within this particular sub-culture, so people see them in my stuff and they really connect to that."

Although the support Kendel receives in the electronic music community is growing, nothing compares to the support he receives at home.

Having his girlfriend's help in crafting some of the products and another friend who always lends a hand during production time, Kendel is ready to take his business to the next level.

"You need to have support around you and the right kind of environment to be successful," says Kendel.

"It keeps you going when that negative inner voice comes up and you take it with a grain of salt because you have inspiring support."

"For me, it all boils down to being a little bit lucky, but having a lot of support."

- Angela Sengaus, Jan. 19, 2012