Capstone Project: Student Start-up Tanley Textiles


Founders Tianli Zhang and Joey Yin in Yokohama for the MIM Asia Trip.

In the fall of 2012 MIM student Tianli Zhang had an idea to start his own business. Actually, he had several ideas as he is continually inspired by the potential around him. He began sharing some of these ideas with MIM classmate Joey Yin who agreed that most of the ideas had yet to be seen in the marketplace and could create demand among college students. Thus, Tianli and Joey joined forces to establish Tanley Textiles, a home textiles company selling innovative solutions to college students.

By the time I heard about Tanley Textiles, the duo had developed their first product, The Pocket 1.0, with inventory on the way, however, they had yet to create promotions for their product or a channel in which to sell them. As the end of spring loomed, Tianli and Joey also faced another dilemma; the team needed more time and resources to develop their company, but were constrained with intensive coursework and the possibility of a demanding exit project. After deliberation with the capstone project coordinator, they were able to transform their business into a unique


Co-founder Joey Yin during one of our first product photo shoots at the International Rose Garden.

capstone project that would focus on product marketing. Tianli and Joey also began to share their business plan with the rest of the MIM cohort, soliciting others to join their team for the capstone project.

I was intrigued by the first product, a bed sheet set with pockets on the sides to hold nighttime items, but even more so by the team’s enthusiasm. So I decided to join Tianli and Joey in their endevour to promote their products and to see how the marketplace reacted. We began by establishing an ecommerce website and social media channels for Tanley Textiles, then went on to do product photography shoots, design and distribute flyers, dabble in video production, talk to potential customers, conduct marketing research, advertise through social media, participate in campus events, etc.

Through all these marketing initiatives we learned a tremendous amount about the assumptions we had made, the actual sales drivers behind this product category, what types of promotions were most effective, and where advantageous pivot points may exist for Tanley Textiles. We still have a few weeks left in our capstone project and will implement another short marketing campaign before our final presentation. It was a pleasure to work with both Tianli and Joey on this project and I can’t believe how much we learned over the past six months. To learn more about Tanley Textiles and The Pocket 1.0 visit


Juli Tejadilla

juliJuli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. Her travels have taken her all across Western Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and most recently to Japan, China, and Vietnam. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.


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Filed under Common Questions, Coursework, Entrepreneurship, Juli's Entries

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