ISU graphic design senior’s capstone project to help women entrepreneurs connect

03/25/16

Graphic design seniors Cassie Rieck, left, and Amber Tague are co-founders of Gatherie Creative. Tague organized the Bloom Conference in Des Moines to bring together women entrepreneurs and business owners to network and learn from one another.

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University graphic design senior's fledgling business sparked the creation of a professional development opportunity for central Iowa women.

Amber Tague, Granger, and classmate Cassie Rieck, Ankeny, established Gatherie Creative Company in April 2015 to provide custom design services focused on branding and special-occasion stationery. As they worked to build their business, they discovered "there's a lot of competition" and sought ways to connect with other women business owners.

"We wanted to help create a community of women entrepreneurs who 'rise by lifting others,'" Tague said. "Owning a business is a challenge. It's important to be able to network and engage in a supportive environment."

Now in their last semester at Iowa State, both Tague and Rieck are enrolled in the graphic design capstone course taught by Professor Bernard Canniffe, chair of the graphic design department. The course requires students to develop individual projects that involve research, design, creativity, innovation and evaluation to solve human problems on special topics. In Canniffe's section (one of four taught by different faculty), the projects were to be self-initiated and self-directed.

Bloom Conference
For her project, Tague organized the Bloom Conference, an opportunity for women "to come together to share stories, gain resources, be inspired and share tips and tricks to better their business while engaging and connecting with other entrepreneurial women in many different fields, she said.

The conference will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Gravitate, a Des Moines-based innovation center that provides space and support for Iowa entrepreneurs and startup companies. Seventy-five people have registered for the event, which will feature five female speakers from local businesses followed by a cocktail hour for networking.

Speakers include Rieck as a founder and partner of Gatherie Creative and

  • Marji Guyler-Alaniz, founder and president of FarmHer, an online community for women in agriculture;
  • Christina Moffatt, founder and CEO of Crème Cupcake + Dessert in Des Moines;
  • Allison Poss, founder of Girls With Ideas, a business focused on teaching girls ages 9-13 how to be confident, creative leaders; and
  • Tiffany Tokarz, owner of Modern Muse Consulting in Des Moines.

Nearly every aspect of the conference, from the venue to the floral decorations to the printing of promotional and event materials, has been donated. Tague promoted the conference almost entirely through social media (her own and Gatherie's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts) as well as the Ames Women Entrepreneurs & Professionals organization and DSM Girl Gang, a female-driven community of artists, and the rest was word of mouth, she said.

"We're excited by the level of interest in this event and look forward to sharing ideas for how women entrepreneurs can get started, grow together and succeed," Tague said.

Graphic design senior show
Tague will present the development and outcome of the Bloom Conference at the ISU graphic design senior show, which will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in the Iowa Events Center's Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. The show will highlight the capstone projects of all 76 students—including Rieck—who will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Iowa State in May. The event is free and open to the public.

Contacts:
Amber Tague, Graphic Design senior, (515) 313-7380, atague34@iastate.edu
Cassie Rieck, Graphic Design senior, (515) 450-3730, csrieck@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu

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