"The pandemic gave people the opportunity to reevaluate their passions and find something they connected with," she said. "For me, that was connecting back to my old love of illustrating greeting cards, this time with my iPad instead of crayons and colored pencils. I have always been a very creative person and love to paint, draw, or any outlet that allows me to be artistic."
Her stationary business, Lemon Milk Paper Co, offers stationery products in the form of greeting cards, academic planners, notepads, notebooks, stickers, and wrapping paper.
"Once I started my stationery business and realized how fulfilling it is to be your own boss and have customers who love your products, I was hooked. I knew I had to switch to Entrepreneurship to chase this newfound passion," said Severs. "It provides me with a creative outlet while using my products to keep people connected to one another."
As of today, Lemon Milk Paper Co supplies over 160 retailers and fulfills their stationery needs.
Severs admits that her parents guidance, as well as the support from her professors and WVU's LaunchLab, has only helped her business grow into what it is today.
While running her business, Severs remained a full-time student and was involved with Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, the WVU Fastenal Sales Team and other extracurricular activities across campus.
"At first, it wasn’t hard to manage school and a business because I launched my business during covid. My extracurriculars didn’t really exist and school was online. Once everything started going back to in person, I thought to myself, “This is why people don’t start businesses during college.” Although it is challenging to balance school, extracurriculars, and a business, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My friends and professors have been so supportive and I have made so many business connections that I will carry with me post graduation," said said.
Severs is not only graduating this December as a young and successful entrepreneur, but she is also walking away from her time at the Chambers College as a recent competition winner.
Last month, she participated in the 15th Annual National Sales Challenge at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
The competition consisted of both speed selling and sales role play competitions with multiple rounds, and there were 37 competitors from 16 universities across the nation.
"Speed selling was a two-minute elevator pitch showcasing your skills and experiences. The sales role play was a scenario between Baroan Technologies, a technology company located in Elmwood Park, NJ, and Krypton Metals. Students acted as sales representatives for Baroan Technologies and had 15 minutes to meet with a “buyer” from Krypton Metals to sell BT’s technology services. To advance to the next round, you had to gain commitment to another meeting from your “buyer” at Krypton Metals," said said.
Severs took home first place in speed selling and second place for role play.
"This was my first competition as a member of the newly formed WVU Fastenal Sales Team," she said. "I felt a lot more prepared for this competition through my classes and the training the WVU Fastenal Sales Team provides. Although we were competing in the competition individually, my teammate, Luke Erny, and I prepared for the competition together with the help of our sales coaches, Professor O’Connell, Dr. Brauer, and his father, Coach Brauer. We researched Baroan Technologies, brainstormed possible objections we may face, and formed questions to ask our buyers to properly uncover their needs."
"It felt absolutely amazing to win first place for speed selling. The best part is speaking about two things I hold so close to my heart, my experiences growing up alongside my parent’s candle company and starting my own business during college, won me the competition. Also, I did not expect to win second place overall, so I was completely shocked. I couldn’t have been happier," said Severs.
As much as an accomplishment winning was, Severs says it was the friendships and business connections she made that will last a lifetime.
"I met so many students at the National Sales Challenge and some connections turned into actual friendships," she said. "The “buyers” and judges for the competition were employers from various companies, so I was able to network with professionals as well. After my first round, my “buyer” offered me a job with his company, and I was so honored and flattered."
While Severs has had a busy fall semester, and last couple of years at WVU, she agrees that graduating next month is bittersweet.
"There are so many things I will miss about WVU. It is hard to grasp that I’ve made so many friends, connections, and memories here, just to leave and move on to another chapter of my life. I will miss the little things like walking to class and seeing a friendly face, and all of the organizations I was involved in."
CONTACT: Shelby Hudnall
WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Strategic Communications