With Love Cards : Spreading The Message Of Good Times

Introduction

Our startup for this week is With Love Cards, a business that aims to streamline the greeting card industry. The company was founded and launched in the August of 2018 by Kathleen Quinn, a 2nd year master of social entrepreneurship with the mission of enhancing grater human interaction through the written word. “We think having something to hold with a physical presence is getting lost among our generation,” says Quinn “The word os so powerful in making your day when you see it.” 

Quinn was inspired by a challenge she presented herself a few years ago for the season of Lent. “I wanted to do something positive for the people in my orbit for a few weeks like my doorman, my gym buddy and the feedback was so inspirational because it put a positive spin on the day.” 

The company also ties in mental health by partnering with mental health organization and supplying these partners with cards that address the stigma of suicide and depression. “Right now were measuring the impact of these cards by market surveys but were looking to increase the impact in the future.” Says Quinn. While people with mental health problems are complex, these cards reach out to people personally and talks them through their journey of struggling. 

Market

The company is selling to millennial and organizations that work with millennial all over the United States and around the world. “The greeting card industry is 7.5 billion dollars.” Says Quinn. “Five years ago, the market dropped and now its picked back up by becoming a cool, trendy, gift.”

The company mainly uses social media marketing and word-of-mouth around USC students. Three weeks ago, the company launched an e-commerce website to sell the cards with prices ranging from five to seven dollars. 

Team 

Thee business is a team of six graduate students, coming from a big, diverse background with multiple perspectives. 

Michael – Web Designer and Developer

Myra – Product Designer

Janice – Strategist for future initiatives

Romero – Marketing

Kevin – Social Impact 

Funding

The company is currently in friends-and-family stage funding and is currently planning to register for competitions and entrepreneurship grands over the next few years to push the company forward. 

Imagine I’m a customer

Th first step is to go online to the website and choosing a card theme. You would the type your message to be handwritten by company employees. “Some people have problems coming up with content.” Says Quinn. “We’d love to help ideate and come up with a meaningful message.” We have some recommendations on the content. We would love to help you ideate and come up with a meaningful message.

Compared to other greeting card companies, With Love shaves off the inconvenience of buying postage or going to the mailbox, making it faster, easier and more streamlined. 

Future

“Now that were graduating, were just getting started.” Says Quinn. “We’re all in and so are my teammates.” Our future plans include stepping up in sustainability and transitioning to recyclable paper and partnering to sell with retail stores. 

If you want to learn more head over to https://withlovecards.org\

Overlooked : Watching the End of Fake News

 

Our startup for the week is Overlooked, a online news company dedicated to the fight against fake news. 

The company was founded in November 2017 by George Sehremelis, a senior majoring in Business Administration. “In high school I was suspiciously addicted to watching CNN, Fox, MS-NBC for hours everyday,” says Sehremelis everyday. “My family’s village in Greece was home to the one of the largest percentage massacre by the Nazis in World War 2 and the sad fact was that it was based on false reports.”

Overlooked is dedicated to the spread of accurate information on current issues unlike social media sites. The problem with Facebook and Twitter is that the users could get away with lying on the site with the information spreading faster than it could be stopped. “In the US we see fake news as a matter of politics.” says Sehremelis “For the rest of the world, misinformation is a matter of life and death.”

Target Market

Overlooked’s target market include college students from places like USC, Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford any anyone who use but don’t completely trust social media. “Currently, Overlooked has ambassadors at other colleges to raise awareness on what it is we do.” says Sehremelis.

The Team 

Overlooked currently has a core team of seven members but that number is growing. In the USC Spring Startup Career Fair, Overlooked received over 600 resumes from students looking for a spring internship. From that batch, the company hopes to hire promising interns for machine learning, development, journalists, social media marketing, administrative duties, etc. 

Finances

Currently, Overlooked has raised over 110,000 dollars from angel investors. Because usage for the site is free, most of the companies revenue comes from advertisements. “It’s actually more profitable as a news site than a feed based site since people click on news articles more.” Says Sehremelis “Our CPM does down a lot so we’re a lot more capable of being profitable in the future.”

How to Use

Overlooked is unique from other social news site in the sense that it prevents people from posting. Every article from the site is web scraped from a reputable news organization and every two hours, the company scrapes the latest news article for people to get news in real time. 

Once customers log in to the site, they’ll see their personal profile. On the profile, you can see which articles you’ve read and for each one, users can vote whether an article leans to the left, the right or is neutral. The company also has an algorithm that checks the content of the article and gives it a score that determines whether it is opinionated or not. 

“The goal of the company is to stay ahead of fake news and make all info free and public.” says Sehremelis “There’s a real fear that in countries where news are fake or censored that nobody will know anything, and that in my eyes is unacceptable.”

Long term goals

  1. Becoming an information booth for the 2020 election that people can trust
  2. A youtube channel to complement the website on raising awareness on current events
  3. Fund raise a couple million dollars to increase growth
  4. Further develop the website in response to customer usage and feedback

To check out the site go to https://overlooked.com

Also, check out their social media:

-Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/overlookedinc/

-Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/overlooked_inc/

-Twitter: https://twitter.com/Overlooked_Inc

 

Anikiú Co : The company that will Carry you to the Future

Our startup for the week is Anikiú Co, a backpack accessory startup with a goal of pushing their message of social justice. The business was founded in 2015 ago by Annika Pašeta, a political economy major with a minor in environmental studies and theatre, who started out by making tie-dyed distressed shorts.

The company slogan is Carry the Future, and this is actively seen in the cultural and social messages sewed onto the product. “Everyday as consumers we decide what to buy and what we represent.” says Pašeta “When we wear a product with a social message like a backpack or a pouch, other people will see it just by walking around.”  For instance, one of Anikiú’s products, a pouch with the slogan “Protect the Earth” helps remind customers to recycle everyday. 

Target Market

The product lineup for the business is backpacks, pouches and other clothing accessories. While the target is young girls, the product fits for anyone and any audience. The products are made in Peru, using organic and natural materials and processes,but are primarily sold in California and Los Angeles in places like Silver Lake and Expo Park. “One of the organizations we work with is Girl Up, a UN group that supports Women Education.” says Pašeta “When walking down the street, other people see it which starts up a conversation about issue.”

Most of the sales are online with social media sites like Instagram, the main promotionally tool for Anikiú. The startup does not have any retail stores yet but that is a main goal.

Future goals

“Our main goal is definitely to get into retail” says Pašeta. Right now, the startup is small and sells only at a few events throughout Los Angeles, but the goal is to scale up, develop new products end sell across country to places like Colorado, San Francisco, New York, etc. 

While the business is currently self-founded, Pašeta plans to focus more on outreach and advertising in order to get more investments and awareness of the brand. 

For customer orders, Anikiú’s link is https://247650978644568958.weebly.com

Anikiu Backpacks : Carrying the future together

Our startup for the week is Anikiu Co, a backpack accessory startup with a goal of pushing their message of social justice. The business was founded five years ago by Annika Paesta, a political economy major with a minor in environmental studies and theatre. 

The company slogan is Carry the Future.“Everyday as consumers we decide what to buy and what we represent” says Paesta “When we wear a product with a social message like a backpack or a pouch, other people will see it just by walking around.” For instance, one of Anikiu’s products, a pouch with the slogan “Protect the Earth” helps remind customers to recycle everyday. 

Target Market

The product lineup for the business is backpacks, pouches and other clothing accessories. While the target is young girls, the product fits for anyone and any audience. The products are made in Peru, but are primarily sold in California and Los Angeles in places like Silver Lake and Expo Park. “One of the organizations we work with is Girl Up, a UN group that supports Women Education” says Paesta “When walking down the street, other people see it which starts up a conversation about issue” 

Most of the sales are online with social media sites like Instagram, the main promotionally tool for Anikiu. The startup does not have any retail stores yet but that is a main goal 

Future goals

“Our main goal is definitely to get into retail” says Paesta Right now, the startup is small and sells only at a few events throughout Los Angeles, but the goal is to scale up, develop new products end sell across country to places like Colorado, San Francisco, New York, etc. 

Right now, my real problem is I need a mentor” says Paesta “Sometimes, I don’t know where to start and it takes a bit more time and money to figure it all out and learn as I go.” While the business is currently self-founded, Paesta plans to focus more on outreach and advertising in order to get more investments and awareness of the brand. 

The Dairy Revolution : Bringing Camel Milk To The Global World

Our Product of the Week is Desert Farms, a dairy farm founded in 2014 that boasts nature’s most health beverage: camel milk. “At Desert Farms, our mission is to promote camel milk as nature’s most wholesome dairy beverage, so you can get over the hump, when you need, naturally.” 

The company began when founder Walid visited his family in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,. There,, a friend offered camel milk, a beverage you could only buy from local Bedouin Nomads and merchants. Walid was inspired by this product and knew he could use it to make an impact on the health of people around the world. 

Walid moved to California, a place where people valued a healthy lifestyle and were crazy on the latest health trends, to start a camel milk companyAfter selling camel milk at mosques and ethnic food festivals, Walid’s business plan won the Marcia Israel Award from USC. 

In the Midwest, Walid came upon a small, hardworking Amish community and was immediately hooked. “Networking through social media just isn’t the same as teaming up with neighbors to build a barn,” he says. “If you ask an Amish farmer why they’re successful, don’t expect a lot of soul-searching or reflection on what they do right—the Amish will likely pin the praise on anyone else but themselves.”

The Manufacturers

Camel farming traditionally is trending in places like Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and so many more places. Early US demand came form people who wanted to use camel milk to help boost their immune system, through the creation of ‘good bacteria” in the digestive system. 

Desert Farms is committed to local farming communities and families across America. All camels are pasture-raised, and specifically designed to highlight the proud heritage of American farmer families and meant to support local farms, with an average of 6 camels per herd. Some examples of suppliers include Noah and Rebecca’s Farm, the Lakeview Family farm, Dallas’s Camel Dairy, Aaron and Katie’s family farm etc. 

“Each bottle is milked, bottled and packaged at the farm to ensure the delicate camel milk is not exposed to contamination.” Says Walid. “Our camel milk is not and will never be shipped to a third-party contractor for bottling. We try to limit the number of people dealing with your products to ensure freshness and purity.

With Desert Farms’ help, farmers don’t have to worry about sales and marketing, so they can spend more time in the field, creating more milk production, better tasting milk and a high income level.

‘It’s also nice to know that the farmers treat their camels very well, often living very close to them and spending hours per day on their care.” Says Walid  ‘We observe and encourage humane animal treatment, and are glad to help preserve our country’s natural resources and biodiversity.”

The Product

The product line includes frozen camel milk, camel milk power, camel milk kefir (a middle-eastern beverage), hump fat, and camel milk soaps..

The milk contains no added hormones and comes from grass-fed hormones with GMO feed. No rBST, rBGH, and GMO free. This results in fresh, natural, and healthy milk that many families want for their dinner table. The milks pasteurized at a low temperature to maintain the fabulous flavor of camel milk, as well as destroy any harmful pathogens, while leaving valuable enzymes untouched. The milk is also non-homogenized to allow a natural sweet flavor, a sweet texture and to make better fairy based foods. 

The end result is a beverage that has been found to be rich in vitamin B, E, Zinc, Potassium, Protein, Phosphorous, Calcium. In many cases, Camel Milk tastes like regular milk: smooth, light, sweet and clean. The milk itself is great for cooking and baking, as a complement to coffee, with a meal to help control your appetite, before workout to build stamina and as a low-calorie, tasty desert.

Price

Since there are less camels in the United States than cows, as well as less camel breeding technology, the price of camel milk is a bit higher than the price of cow milk. Milking camels produce around 5-6 liters a day. Taking into account farm rent, pasture, veterinary care, workers, expenses are quick to add up. 

Frozen Camel Milk (16 oz) – 18 dollars

Camel Milk Powder (200 grams) – 74 dollars

Camel Milk Soap – 28 dollars

Studioso : A company that plays the right tunes

                  

Our startup of the week is Studioso, an online app that aims to bring the field of music education into the 21st century. Founder of the company, Ocean Salazar, explains how he developed the idea for the app: “For 14 years I have always has a passion in playing the violin. The problem is that when you start very young you don’t have maturity and discipline to be methodical and do research. I was slow in progress because most of my time in practice is outside the classroom without instruction.”

Studioso solves the info gap by helping students practice more efficiently though a streamlined guided practice, progress tracking and connections with teachers. “As soon as you leave practice, you can go back into notes and be guided from home.” Says Salazar

Studioso’s has been beta trialed by over 300 teachers and has over 160 institutions interested in purchasing. Studioso recently won the 1st place of the Minnesota Cup youth division and is part of the USC Rossier Entrepreneur accelerator. 

The team 

Studioso is managed by a six person team. The founder and CEO of the company is Ocean Salazar, a freshman at the university of Southern California, who has experience working at an investment firm and in playing the violin for 14 years. The IT expert, Charles Porth, has over 6 years of programming and IT consulting experience, specializing in back-end development, cybersecurity, and project management.

The Market

Studioso’s total addressable market in the US is worth $954 million. The brand is focused on the 32 million students who participate in in both school and private music programs. For students, the yearly subscription price is 45 dollars while for institutions the price is 200 dollars.  

The Product

The company is primarily a B2B platform, functioning as a learning management system for music education. 

Studioso optimizes music education by allowing teachers to communicate assigned practice objectives, tracks practice progress in real time to motivate students and comes with a timer, a collection of efficient practice techniques, a by-hour practice target and visible teacher instructions. 

When students start a new practice session, they choose the length of the session, the repertoire and a warm up. The first quarter of practice is warmup. Once the warmup is over, students go to the main repertoire of pieces to study, what to focus on and special techniques. Students keep track of this via an in-app timer.

“What’s cool is that students can access the technique library of the app which sorts all the special techniques and methods.” Says Salazar. “It’s like going to the gym where if you randomly swing weights you’re not going to make much progress. “ 

Once students finishes a session, the app records the time and puts it in the progress tracker on the dashboard of your weekly target, for teachers to to check.

In the technique library itself, all the techniques are written by teachers. “Music teacher have always taught students their practice methods verbally.” Says Salazar. “This app changes that by creating a single place to access the practice method so it no longer has to be accessed from teacher to to student and teacher to teacher with the risk of miscommunication.”

Timeline

6 Months – Market the product and get feedback for the pilot program to improve usability and user interface.

1 year – Introduce more features and expand on a web platform. Right now its on Android and IOS but in one year we hope to expand to web to have more universality on who can use the app.

5 years – Use the data to create a music education AI algorithm to give live feedback on practice at home, while also helping teachers design a tailored curriculum. 

 

Nuleep : Job Searching Made Easy

Our featured startup for the week is Nuleep, an online job search company designed for millennials. The company was founded by Grace Park, who began the company with a group of friends. 

“Companies like LinkedIn are like Blockbuster, they’re very static” says Park. “We are more like Netflix, we keep building on.” The app considers salary, life-style commute and travel, what you do in your weekends, company culture, apartment locations, and other features of a good work-life balance. These are all highlighted in a visually appealing way to help customers make the best decisions. 

The Market

Nuleep has two platforms. One is for customers, the other is for business-business side. In the US, the online job search industry is worth 200 billion dollars. Nuleep’s target markets are college graduates looking for a job, with a projected total of 5000 users by fall, 2019. The company is especially active in Los Angeles and Phoenix, large cities where the founders are from and have a big population of the target market.

For the B2B side, Nuleep is also partnering with a lot of student groups and ambassadors in these cities. The team is currently in agreement with 100 small companies in Phoenix and Los Angeles who are interested in being sponsored in the app to potential applicants, while developing a full HR tool set for said companies to use for referrals and recommendations.

The Team

The company has four co-founders and two outsourced developers. By the summer of 2019, the Nuleep plans to hire three marketing interns. “We’re bootstrapped,” says Park. “We’ve been so busy doing beta-testing since July and we plan to launch this August.”

Sources of funding

The company is currently in a pre-seed round and are planning on releasing a friends-and-family round by fall. The company makes money via business-to-business transactions. Companies who want to be featured pay a monthly subscription fee. The company also supplies organic ad content. “For example, when we ask users about referred dress code, we also sponsor ads from companies like H&M.” Says Park 

Product 

The company focuses on three things: user-friendly graphics, efficiency and a visually appealing guide to careers. For users, the first step in answering four questions: Whether your a student, what kind of industries you’re interested in, what your lifestyle is, what your goal is. 

The user will then be directed to a dashboard showing which job fits the best for the user, which cities and neighborhoods match your personality and preferred lifestyle, what kind of rental apartments are nearby. It’s basically an online mentorship. 

Furthermore, the app considers the future of the user. “For many people your lifestyle interests will change.” says Park “When your young, you’re looking for a cheap apartment. When you have a family, you’re looking for a good school. These are all factored into Nuleep’s software.” For a lot of competing online job boards, most users apply for a single job posting and then leave. For Nuleep, users come back at different stages of your life and different career paths.

“Usually its not simply starting out as an analysts and ultimately retiring as a senior analyst or a director.” says Park “There is no straight path anymore in today’s workforce.” The app prides itself on mapping out where you want to be in 2-5 years and give recommendations on what company to apply for if you want to shift jobs.”

 

 

The Suitcase of a Green New World

The latest up-and-coming USC startup product is the Cork Duffel Suitcase. Created by Mi Terro Global,  the Cork Duffel Suitcase is a lightweight, waterproof, scratch-proof accessory made entirely of high quality Portuguese cork, the same material that protects NASA’s space rockets from re-entry into the atmosphere, and recycled ocean plastics. 

“At Mi Terro, we believe that fashion doesn’t have to be fast, disposable, or temporary. We believe it should begin and end with a classic collection of well-designed essentials. And we’re starting that collection with a premium, simple duffle suitcase,” says Mi Terro CEO Robert Luo.

The suitcase’s main raw materials, cork, comes from the bark of cork oaks. Since it does from bark which is easily harvested, less trees are cut down in order to produce this bag. Due tot he honeycomb cell structure of the cork, it is more durable, lighter and requires much less maintenance compared to a leather bag. The company also applies a waterproof coating to the bag, allowing it to better resist outdoor weather, unlike regular leather bags. 

Another important feature of the company and product is sustainability. Luo explains this, “We collect the plastic from the ocean and recycle them into usable material. First, we wash and sort them. Then we grind them into a powder and heat it up to pellets we can roll into a yarn. That yarn them ends up in your CDS as part of the zipper and inner lining. For each bag, we remove 2 pounds of plastic from our oceans and transform them into fashion pieces.”

The spacious design of the bar is complemented by several convenient features and utility pockets that allow for easy storage. “Whenever you are traveling for business or hitting the gym, Mi Terro CDS has enough room to hold laptops, spare clothes for 5 days, and your document.” 

      

Spend a quality afternoon with you Mi Terro Cork Duffel Suitcase and with your best friend 

Hype And Vice : The Best Game Day Gear You Will Find Next Season

This week’s featured company is Hype and Vice, a clothing brand that’s looking to change the way college students look at sportswear. The idea behind the company was developed by USC Alumni Kim Robles and Cecelia Gonzales. “Our goal is to fill the gap between traditional style of Game Day clothing that you normally buy at the bookstore and self-made clothes created by girls who cropped, snipped, and printed their own outfit” says Gonzales. 

This sports wear clothing brand is especially designed for the female segment of the market. “We see potential in the whole industry” says Robles. “I was in a sorority and saw how many girls wanted something completely different. So what they did was buy clothes from the bookstore and either cut it up to fit their personal style right before Game Day or made their own from second hand clothes. I saw an opportunity to change this problem”

The pair also want to create a powerful brand presence. In college bookstores, there is almost zero brand recognition. Most people only bought merchandise because of the college logo label. According to Robles, ” In this era,  people want to emotionally identify with the product, and so we’re creating a brand that can capture that via an edgy, innovative, modern style of clothing.”

The Market 

The pair’s main target are female college students. Furthermore, because the business in an online brand, Hype and Vice can connect with high school students and young alumni. “We’re actually extending the lifetime value of the customer, “ Gonzales explains. 

Robles and Gonzales estimate the sports merchandise licensing industry to be worth $14.5 billion in total. However for female college students alone, it is worth $2.6 billion nationally. The pair is highly optimistic about this market. “Aside from college students, we see opportunities in other license ports industries like the NCBA, NFL which we can potentially tap into.” explains Robles. 

The Team 

Robles and Gonzales are recent alumni of USC WITH Robles graduating with a degree in Business Entrepreneurship and Gonzales graduating with an Associate degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise and a Bachelor Degree in Business from Marshall.

The pair were roommates for four years and were greatly involved in USC Greek Life before going into the Business together. Of the pair, Robles handles the Finance and Operation systems while Gonzales handles the Marketing and Design. “We are complete opposites but we work well together,” says Robles. 

The Product

With regards to how the process works, it is very simple. All you need to do is go on the website and build a unique outfit by mixing and matching the product lines. This includes tops, skirts, accessories, chokers, glasses, and once you click on the Shop button, you can see the products available for your purchase.

In terms of how the product stands out compared to competitors, the product stands out because of the brand.  “We’re trying to create a brand students will recognize and identify with. We use students to model the product. We spread it on social media etc” Robles explains. “Furthermore, since we started, we saw the whole industry has traditionally been very male-oriented with Jerseys, T-shirts, oversized sweats with little apparel for women”

Vision 

The pair’s dream is to have an e-commerce website available to every University in every state across the country. Currently, the company has contract manufacturers in the Greater Los Angeles Area but as the business grows in scale, the pair plan to vertically integrate the supply chain.

For funding,  Gonzales explains the company is seeking more investments to expand and grow “We’ve been in business for three years and have money raised from self funding but we are now currently looking for angel investors in a pre-seed round.”

                   

 

 

Rheya Beauty : Designing A World For You

Our Startup of the Week is Rheya Beauty, a digital startup that aims to disrupt the makeup industry as we know it by providing makeup and cosmetic products personalized for the 21st-century woman.

The idea behind Rheya Beauty was developed by Junyi Wu and Sahar Rohani as part of the LavaLab incubator project in the fall of 2018. Rohani recounts her experience of the problem, “Essentially, I am always busy with everything in school, extra-curricular activities. I always find myself running out of makeup. In high school and my freshman year, I had more time to run errands, but as I entered into my sophomore year, found that I genuinely did not have time to keep buying makeup”

The pair also want to focus on sustainability. “Junyi and I are really interested in using this project to give back to the environment. The makeup industry is massive, yet there has been zero effort to make it more sustainable in terms of the packaging and product which we at Rheya do by making the plastic containers and equipment long-lasting.”

THE MARKET

“Our target market is Gen-Z College Women. We also target working moms who have to juggle taking care of their kids and advancing their career. We recognize and admire these amazing people and we wish to provide them with the better, affordable, and personalized cosmetics so they can focus on making themselves successful,” Rohani explains.

Rohani and Wu estimate the cosmetics industry to be worth 500 billion dollars today with the potential to grow to 700 billion over the next few years. “It’s definitely a hot topic with products like Kylie cosmetics and makeup artists on Youtube. People literally make a living putting on makeup so it’s much more ingrained in our society nowadays and deserves our attention

Wu added “Beauty is important but we want to pay more attention to mascara. In terms of mascara, the immediate market is 10 billion. That is not to say we are only focused on mascara. If we show traction, we plan to take refillable products to a broader view.”

THE TEAM

Rohani and Wu are current students at USC with Wu majoring in Business Administration and Rohani majoring in Computational Neuroscience. Other members of the team include Aidan Maddox, majoring in USC Iovine and Young Academy, Ali Malamud and Emily Lu, majoring in Media Arts and Practice, Praneeth Batte and Leigh Rubin, majoring in Computer Science, and Glory Kanes, majoring in Computer Science and Business Administration.

Rohani’s role is being the visionary. “I’ve had experience using makeup as a consumer since I was 14. I’ve been exposed to this world at a very young age, yet few questions have been asked on how to improve the industry. In Lavalab, I was given the platform to address these flaws.” Wu adds “Sahar is the product vision. It was her idea, and her vision on how to revamp her experience.”

Meanwhile, Wu’s contribution lies in operations and marketing strategy. “I’ve previously worked in beauty and marketing at Johnson & Johnson on the Neutrogena and Clean & Clear businesses. I’ve been getting myself involved in the world of beauty by trying out the product, interviewing potential customers. So from my end, that brings out an unbiased point of view.” Wu’s partner, Rohani agrees with this. “Junyi is extremely proactive and hands-on. He handles all the operation and administrative side: setting up interviews with potential customers, setting up meetings, doing a ton of research.”

PRODUCT

Rohani explained how the product works, “On our website, there are a series of simple steps. First, you pick your case which comes in a range of different colors. Then you pick your brush. We’ll let you know which brush is healthier for your eyelash. Next, you pick your mascara formula whether that be lengthening, volumizing, curling etc. Then you pick your time. If you wear mascara a lot, I would recommend you refill your pots and cartridges every two months. So there are four options and once you click okay then you never have to think about it again.”

In terms of how the product stands out compared to other products, Wu explains the brand’s competitive advantage, “When we researched people’s habits, a lot of them switch products because they like the brush on one mascara or the ingredients of another. So this personalization is one thing that is not currently offered in the standard beauty industry.”

VISION

For Rheya Beauty, the potential for growth is huge. Rohani explains, “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from customers, angel investors, venture capitalists and there’s a lot of hype in our company because we are entering a niche market with a simple solution.”

Wu talks about the current plans for the business. “When we launch in the market soon, the business will be all online. We are currently in talks with different kinds of manufacturers on the molds for production, mascara formula. For future products, we want to involve the consumer and so, if there’s interest in refillable mascara there’s a customer base we can listen to and crowdsource other products”

MONEY MATTERS

On the basis of money, Wu and Rohani are entertaining a lot of possible sources “We have invested a lot of our own personal savings. We’ve raised an initial investment from an angel investor, and have recently expanded our pre-seed financing round to $150,000. We have just begun our search to raise the remaining amount. Based on the angel investors were dealing with, and our soft launch.

                                                             
Sahar Rohani                                                                                    Junyi Wu