Talk about ambitious. In less than a year, Sawyer Business School junior Angela Cakridas transformed a business idea into a new product that’s being sold on QVC-TV.
It all started on a family vacation. Cakridas was tired of traveling with all of her makeup brushes in a plastic bag—it was messy and inconvenient. So she came up with a solution: an all-in-one makeup brush set. She envisioned a large kabuki-style brush that would contain a blush brush, angled brush, shadow brush and liner brush.
Elevator Pitch Competition
Cakridas thought it was a great idea, but would others agree? To find out, she entered the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Elevator Pitch Competition, where she had 60 seconds to sell her five-piece BellaRush Beauty Brush idea to potential investors.
“I knew my target market would be large, because whether women go out at night, travel or go to work, there’s no easy and sanitary way to travel with makeup brushes.”
The investors saw potential in Cakridas’ idea and awarded her $1,000 to develop the makeup brush set.
She just had one problem.
“I had no idea how to get started,” she said. With a major in Marketing and a minor in Business Law, she had a lot of questions about starting a business venture.
Mentor guides product development
So in February, she met with Sawyer Business School Executive in Residence Sushil Bhatia for guidance. Bhatia is an experienced innovator and patent holder who mentors budding entrepreneurs with business ideas.
The two spoke often and met in person every couple of weeks to discuss licensing agreements, prototyping, manufacturers, and other aspects of product development. Using the money she won at the Elevator Pitch Competition, Bhatia helped her purchase inventory and make a prototype.
“Professor Bhatia has supported me from the beginning–when I only had an idea. I owe my success to him. I wouldn’t be where I am now without his guidance,” said Cakridas, who recently received a large investment from inventor, QVC-TV host and “Shark Tank” star Lori Greiner.
Orders pour in
This week, Greiner featured Cakridas’ makeup brush set on her QVC-TV show “Clever & Unique Creations by Lori Greiner” and sparked more than 850 orders.
“Lori sold more during the five-minute segment on QVC than I probably could have ever done on my own,” Cakridas said.
What advice does Cakridas have for aspiring entrepreneurs? Talk with your professors outside of the classroom. They are more than just teachers—they are mentors who can support you through whatever business endeavor you decide to take on.
“The resources at Suffolk were vital to developing my product. People here in the Business School have great experience and resources to share. You just have to be willing to work hard.”