Previously published in the November/December 2019 issue of The Patriot Post, this article, extended to include more on each profile, follows three student entrepreneurs who took their ideas and turned them into realities.
Known both in and out of school for his makeup line Formula Z Cosmetics, senior Zachary Dishinger takes the term “student company” to another level. Inspired by a desire for inclusivity in the makeup industry, Dishinger decided to develop his passion for makeup into his own brand.
Dishinger’s interest in theater would lead him to discover the transformative power of makeup. From there, his love for makeup would grow. “Throughout the years, makeup has totally just consumed my life, but I’m not represented in the cosmetic market. I can’t walk into a makeup store and see myself. There had to be something done about that,” Dishinger said. “I wanted people like me to go into this store and feel comfortable about being themselves.”
With this mission in mind, Dishinger met with chemists to develop a unisex makeup brand. Beginning with a multipurpose lipstick, Dishinger named one of his first (and favorite) lipsticks Bowie after the musician David Bowie. He has since branched out to more makeup products and hopes to include more in the future.
As Dishinger gains popularity, he hasn’t forgotten his initial purpose. “What motivates me most about the brand is that makeup has the power to help people. It’s not just makeup; it’s a movement. We give 50% of our net proceeds back to the largest crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization in the world. They’re called the Trevor project, and they help LGBT youth. Through my own research of depression and suicide amongst LGBT youth, I learned they are four times as likely to commit suicide than normal heterosexual youth,” Dishinger said. “So I created this initiative called Mission Z that benefits them.”
Through his company, Dishinger wants to distinguish himself. “As I always say, if you want to be heard, wear lipstick,” Dishinger said.
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Many people are no strangers to the makeup field. Senior Danielle Bess takes a hands-on approach to this industry by applying synthetic eyelashes to customers’ own eyelashes.
Bess began her company, Dani Cosmetics, about a year ago. “I’m really into cosmetics,” Bess said. “I like making people feel better about themselves. I like making myself feel better. I said, ‘Okay, this is what I want to do.’”
In order to get her company up and running, Bess began selling the synthetic lashes without actually applying them. After she saw she had a market, Bess became a certified beautician who applies the lashes to her customers. Bess charges, on average, $80 to $100 for the application and lashes which last three to four weeks.
“I apply individual lashes on to their natural eyelashes to make them look longer, fuller and bolder,” Bess said. “I love seeing their reactions when I finish applying the lashes.”
Bess sees herself continuing this line of work in the future. “I want to open my own cosmetics line with lashes, lip gloss, everything,” Bess said. Check out Bess’s company on Instagram (@danicosmetics.co).
Rather than solely make plans for the future, junior Yanelle Hernandez decided to take action and open her own company now: Mafia Ties Apparel. The clothing line, which currently features t-shirts with different designs and will expand to include hoodies, has a theme that centers around business-oriented success.
To raise the necessary funds to create her company, Hernandez got a job at the American Heritage Summer Camp last summer. From there, Hernandez brought her ideas to life.
Hernandez previewed different materials before deciding on a sturdy yet lightweight material. She then began printing and advertising on her personal Instagram (@yanelle.hernandez) and company Instagram page (@mafiatiesapparel) and on the company’s website www.mafiatiesapparel.com.
The main theme for her merchandise centers on financial success. “My slogan is ‘Obtain success and get a bag,’ which inspires those of all ages to go out and achieve their goals,” Hernandez said. “On all my products there’s things that have to do with money.”
Because the importance of a company’s name cannot be overlooked, Hernandez took time deciding on the right one. “I had many different name ideas. When you think of a group, you think of a little gang of people. I was going to call it like a mob of people, going out to achieve their goals, but instead I chose ‘mafia,’” Hernandez said. “It’s like how the mafia used to go out and do things for money. I’m taking my own twist on the word, one with a positive connotation.”
Now, Hernandez promotes her merchandise at vendor events and on social media. “Being able to watch people go out and do such good things while wearing my shirts brings a big smile to my face,” Hernandez said. “It’s really good.”