M.H.S. Business Incubator students ready to launch product
One of the new courses offered at Mundelein High School this year is the Business Incubator Laboratory course.
The facilities for this course are housed in the school's newly completed addition and offer a simulated business environment to give students the feel for how businesses operate. One of the groups of students is just about ready to begin marketing their product, the U-Click Hairbrush.
"As a group we kicked around a number of ideas before we settled on the U-Click Hairbrush," said McKenzie Theis, one of five students working on this product. "We settled on this product because it solves an age-old problem and we expect that it will be very popular."
The U-Click Hairbrush is a brush with a detachable base that ensures a hygienic and easy way to keep a brush clean. The product includes the brush and a separate piece which fits over it. It was designed with simplicity in mind.
"By pressing two buttons on each side of the brush, a custom plastic accessory that is fitted to the base is removed to ease the process of removing excess hair," said Mitchell Zaprzalka, another member of the group. "Once the hair is removed, the base is cleaned and then it simply clicks right back on."
According to New York City dermatologist Francesca Fuscoin, if a brush is not cleaned regularly, "residue, dead skin cells and oil colonize the brush," attracting bacteria and yeast.
"We learned that cleaning a brush once a week prevents hair and oil buildup," said Kyle Combetto, another group member.
The students have been involved in a process of setting up their own business and have help from their instructor, Amy Amber, along with coaches and mentors from local businesses. Topics they learn and experience in class include: researching a topic, looking at ways to create a new product, formulating a prototype, consumer trials, making a "pitch" to business professionals, marketing their product; and possibly getting a professional to back them up. Their pitch is done in a similar manner as the popular television show "Shark Tank."
The group has now created its own website for the product, www.uclickhairbrush.com, and has a physical product ready to go.
"This has been a great experience and I'm glad I am part of this class," said Luke Schorr, another group member. "I'm interested in business as a career and this is giving me a real look at how the business world operates."
Group member Denise Gonzalez echoed that comment. "This is interesting and fun at the same time," she said.
Up next the group intends to see if they can actually sell this product. They will use trial and error to come up with the best, most practical design and also agree on target pricing. They have tentatively settled on $11.99 which includes the brush and the base.
"We spoke with some stylists and salon staffs to get their reactions and we hope to use that information to develop a successful marketing plan," Theis said.