A 16−year−old Bayside high school student recently won $1,500 in an entrepreneurship contest that she said she will use for the production of an eco−friendly cosmetics line that she created three years ago.
Dana Laurie, a Bayside resident who is a 10th−grader at Manhattan’s Hewitt School, took the top prize at the NFTE−Goldman Sachs Youth Entrepreneurship contest in Manhattan Feb. 23. The judges, who acted as investors, picked Laurie’s pitch for her cosmetics line for the $1,000 grand prize, as well as awarding her two $250 prizes in other categories.
“I was really excited,” said Laurie, who already sells her product. “They called my name and I realized it wasn’t about the competition. I love my company so much and just love the atmosphere of these expos. Even if I hadn’t won anything, it still would have been a great experience.”
She said she began developing her affordable vegan cosmetics line, which includes eyeliner, lipstick and eye shadow, at age 13. Laurie plans to use her prize money to expand her company.
“I’m taking the money and putting it straight back into the business,” she said. “I’ll have to form an LLC and get my Web site up and running. A lot of people ask me, ‘Do you have to be good at chemistry?’ But it’s more like cooking. If someone can make a cake batter, then they can create makeup with the right research. I think it’s one of the only reasons my mom lets me use the kitchen. Otherwise, she wouldn’t let me use the same dish we use for lasagna if I were using chemicals.”
Laurie said her average selling price per unit is less than $10 and that she has a 60 percent profit margin.
“That way, I can look into charities and provide a product that’s not common or even exists in the cosmetic market,” she said. “It should be the norm.”
The eight businesses on display at the expo used boards, sample products and laptops with slideshows to introduce their products. Contestants, who hailed from the five boroughs, Georgia, Florida and Illinois, had a maximum 60 seconds to pitch their product to investors.
Laurie said she worked on her pitch for six months. She plans for her cosmetic line to be much more than a hobby or a school project.
“I want this to be my career,” she said. “I’ve always been drawn toward cosmetics, but being a makeup artist doesn’t make that much sense to me right now. You can’t do that unless you’re certified. It’s exciting that I could create something not only for myself, but for everyone else.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@time
©2009 Community News Group
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