Athlete Scores Entrepreneurial Fellowship to Launch Apparel Company
March 24, 2017
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— When she started playing lacrosse six years ago, Claudia Richman
’19 couldn’t find a large selection of hoodies or caps representing the sport she
had fallen in love with.
Now Richman seeks to meet that market need, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the IWU Entrepreneurial Fellowship. Richman has created 1890 Lacrosse, a company providing casual lacrosse-themed apparel for youth girls through college
female lacrosse players.
It’s a market Richman knows well. She plays on the Illinois Wesleyan women’s lacrosse
team, and at St. Charles (Ill.) North High School, she was team captain and All Upstate
8 Conference her senior year.
“Sports have always played a large role in my life,” said Richman. “As I got more
involved with lacrosse, I wanted to spread the word about the sport and an apparel
company seemed like a great opportunity to do that.”
Richman’s company name is taken from the first documented women’s lacrosse game, played
in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1890. She has already produced long sleeve shirts, hoodies
and hats, and she has enlisted a classmate, art major Anthony Lunsford ’18, in creating
new apparel designs and a website. She’ll use the funds from her fellowship to travel
to national lacrosse tournaments to sell directly as a vendor, for inventory, and
for marketing expenses.
A recent NCAA report indicated women’s lacrosse participation rose 109 percent from
2000-2014, with men’s lacrosse participation up 95 percent.
Funded initially by Illinois Wesleyan alumnus Marc Talluto ’94, the IWU Entrepreneurial
Fellowship provides a $5,000 stipend to help a student develop his or her idea and
take the idea to market. In addition to the funding, student recipients receive support
and guidance from a faculty member and an entrepreneurial mentor.
“I believe starting this company is important for my long-term career planning,” said
Richman, who is majoring in psychology and minoring in coaching with plans to become a sports psychologist. “I am learning
how to drive a business and become business savvy. Not many people can say they ran
their own company while still a student and an athlete.”
Richman is the third student to receive the IWU Entrepreneurial Fellowship. Previous
winners include Cameron Loyet ’18 for his company Honey Moon Chocolates, and Tim Leiser ’16 for developing an app to help nonprofits track volunteer hours.