Join Julia Haber ’18, noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, November 15 at the Blackstone LaunchPad, as part of its Fireside Chats with Famous Entrepreneurs series. Haber is the founder of WAYV, a venture she started as a student at Syracuse University to create immersive experiences that connect brands directly with students in dynamic ways, in their own backyards.
As a student, Haber studied how Millennials and Gen Z create content and influence on social media, including interning at Snapchat in Los Angeles. That led her to creating WAYV – a venture that tricks out spaces as immersive popup retail spaces to give brand partners unique spaces to engage with college students who are influencers in fashion, technology and other sectors. Haber won second place in the Panasci Business Plan Competition for WAYV, and launched with a a beta project with Rent the Runway this past April at Syracuse University. From there, Haber incubated WAYV at The Wing in Soho (pictured above), a network of community work spaces designed just for women entrepreneurs. Now, she is taking her idea to college campuses and building audiences of influencers engaging them in immersive popup experiences.
Haber firmly believes that there is nothing more meaningful than in-person communication. “Millennials and Gen Z really love the popup shop culture because they crave sharing and participation with brands.”
Haber at the WAYV popup on Marshall Square Mall last April
As one of the pioneers of student entrepreneurship on the Syracuse University campus, Haber was no stranger to the popup shop culture. She organized the very first student popup shop in 2015 co-sponsored by AT&T. Serving as a retail space for students and retailers to open temporary stores in Marshall Square Mall, the project was a huge hit. Haber also started VISION, a creative club that allows students to explore innovative ideas. The club catalyzed the Bump the Mumps event last fall and engaged with more than 20,000 people in just two hours. At the height of the mumps outbreak on the SU campus, VISION provided care packages including hand sanitizer and hot chocolate. Bump the Mumps was an incredible VIRAL event that educated the student body on good hygiene practices to prevent mumps from spreading further.
To say that Haber is deeply rooted in the entrepreneurial space at SU is an understatement. In 2015, when she was just getting to know the resources SU had to offer as she was putting together the popup shop in Marshall Square Mall, she realized there had to be better way to unite the different entrepreneurship programs into one place. Working with campus entrepreneurship leaders in the following months, she became the student brand ambassador that helped Syracuse secure designation as a Blackstone LaunchPad by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. She traveled to NYC for the funding announcement in fall 2015, and was there to help cut the ribbon in April 2016, when the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University opened its doors.
Now she is returning as a successful alumni to share her story and inspire other women entrepreneurs as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.