CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Continuing to highlight the abilities of girls entrepreneurs, Lehigh Valley LaunchBox powered by Penn State featured sisters and business house owners Cory Dahlia Varona and Nicol Varona Cancelmo at its most up-to-date LaunchBox Ladies Speaker Series speak held at Penn State Lehigh Valley.
At the event, titled “The Next Entrepreneur: Steps to Starting Up,” the Penn State Berks graduates shared the story behind their pure ladies’s hair merchandise firm, DN Organics, and supplied the campus neighborhood some hard-earned knowledge on the challenges of working a business.
The sisters, who refer to themselves as “sister-preneurs,” just lately competed at the third annual BeginUp Lehigh Valley pitch competitors hosted by Lehigh Valley LaunchBox and Factory LLC. There, they obtained one in all three $500 LaunchBox Boost awards to assist them develop their business.
At the start of this system, PSU-LV Chancellor Tina Q. Richardson praised the sisters’ skills and thanked them for sharing their story with campus college students who would possibly possess the identical kind of entrepreneurial drive as them.
“Today, we’re going to alternate concepts on how we are able to encourage future entrepreneurship,” Richardson stated.
From there, PSU-LV Lecturer in Accounting and Business Colleen Krcelich moderated a considerate, illuminating dialogue with the sisters.
The origins of DN Organics return to 2018, not lengthy after the sisters had made a dedication to retaining their hair in its naturally curly state. Having a troublesome time discovering haircare merchandise that weren’t full of doubtlessly dangerous chemical substances, they determined to start making their very own.
“We wished to take issues to the following stage and make merchandise that had been secure and that we may share with others,” Nicol stated.
“Once we began making our personal, we realized, ‘Wow, this really works in addition to the merchandise bought in shops,’” Cory added.
Of course, determining a manner to make and distribute their merchandise on a large-scale stage was a problem. Once they got here up with a strong business plan, the sisters received to work in quite a lot of methods, from developing with a reputation (their unique selection had to be scrapped due to trademark points) to establishing an LLC to getting an internet area to discovering a spot to manufacture their merchandise.
Plenty of hurdles adopted, together with a hearth at their preliminary manufacturing facility, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed the rollout of their merchandise by a yr.
“The fireplace was really a blessing in disguise, as a result of we discovered a greater producer,” Nicol stated.
The sisters have saved their day jobs so as to preserve monetary stability whereas rising their business. And they gave college students loads of different bits of useful recommendation, similar to: make investments closely in social media to construct phrase of mouth in your product; share your story with everybody, since you by no means know who might need entry to a priceless community; and make a concerted effort to apply for as many out there grants and competitions as potential, like BeginUp Lehigh Valley.
Of course, the sisters additionally famous it helps tremendously to have a powerful help system to lean on.
“I actually couldn’t have performed this with out Nicol,” Cory stated. “Having your sister, who you’ve identified since Day 1, that’s a partnership that’s by no means going to break.”