KNOXVILLE—Business and pleasure are one and the same for Clark Ensminger, an MBA student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
A passion for his alma mater and UT football, an artistic background, and a budding interest in business are melded together in his new business venture, Tennessee Prints.
Ensminger, from Delano, Tennessee, has enjoyed art since he began drawing in middle school. He majored in graphic design during his first year at UT, but realized he wanted to go into business. He changed programs and is now finishing his MBA with a concentration in marketing.
Additionally, Ensminger comes from a family of UT alumni and devoted football fans. He and his wife, Heather, also a UT alumna working on her master’s degree, dressed their infant daughter, Charlotte, as a football last year for her first Halloween.
Combining his artistic talent and love of UT football, Ensminger created a freehand drawing of Neyland Stadium that is now being sold in the UT Bookstore.
He began a thread in a VolNation (http://www.volnation.com/) forum documenting the project from the idea’s inception to the drawing’s completion. Many people expressed interest in buying prints of the piece, so he approached the UT Bookstore about selling his prints.
This has been a priceless experience for Ensminger as an MBA student. From the beginning, he has been careful to apply marketing principles learned in his program. Ensminger said his shopper marketing professor, Dan Flint, provided a useful framework in class that guided him in making many business decisions, including those about improved merchandising, out-of-store events, and calculated in-store product placement.
At least 130 of Ensminger’s prints have already been purchased, and he’s optimistic that he’ll sell more during the holiday gift-giving season.
Meanwhile, Ensminger’s next project is already in the works—a portrait of Pat Summitt that fans will be able to purchase. All proceeds will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.
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