Babson Alumna Startup: Meet Eugene
During her freshman year of college, Brianna fell in love with a boy, and together they decided to get a pet…
“Needless to say, our epic love story ended with my broken heart, and he with our chinchilla,” said Brianna Stiklickas ‘15. “I was distraught; I lost my love and my pet, and quickly made the decision to take a serious break from boys, and to focus on my studies, my future, and myself. So what did I do? I got a hedgehog!”
Eugene, Brianna’s 3 year-old African Pygmy hedgehog, is now the only boy she depends on. She takes him to the movies, to dinner, to work, and he was even often spotted with her in class here at Babson.
Last year, Brianna took Eugene to the vet where she was told that her hedgehog was obese. She then found out that obesity, digestive issues, and fatty liver disease are three of the top killers of hedgehogs.
Many hedgehog foods on the market do not contain the proper ingredients to help support a healthy diet – and in turn are contributing to these issues. An average hedgehog lives between four to six years – but the sad truth is that if they are fed correctly, and don’t contract cancer or chronic disease, they can actually live to be nine years-old.
In realizing this deficit, Brianna decided to create her own food formula in hopes of helping Eugene maintain a healthy lifestyle and lead a long life.
The new formula, which contains high quality, all natural ingredients that help minimize obesity, digestive issues, and Fatty Liver Disease, has worked wonders for Eugene – so how could she not share her breakthrough with the rest of the hedgehog community?!
Meet Eugene is an exotic pet company that is currently focused on its first product line for hedgehogs, and will eventually sell products for an array of atypical pets and their owners. The company is building off of three segments – one for the hedgehog, one for the owner, and another to serve as an educational brand.
- The hedgehog sector includes a food line, hedgehog toys, clothing (yes, for the animal!), eco-friendly ceramic feeding bowls, accessories, cages, and more.
- The lifestyle brand will provide an array of items for purchase for the hedgehog owners themselves, including clothing, mugs, cups, wallets, stuffed animals – you name it.
- The educational platform will feature children’s book series, written by Brianna and her team of experts – with the first being called Meet Eugene. Each series will incorporate true facts about exotic animals, while providing fictional circumstances and lessons to be learned. Additional exotic pets will be introduced down the line, with the potential of also being incorporated into the company’s animal and lifestyle brands.
“At Meet Eugene, we provide our family members with the resources that allow for their hedgehogs to be well cared for, while inspiring and nurturing their love for these amazing creatures,” added Brianna.
In addition to developing a successful hedgehog brand, Brianna hopes to provide all exotic pet owners and enthusiasts with products that help them care for their animals.
Additional pet lines may include Sugar Gliders (flying squirrels), Degus (mini chinchillas), and Prairie Dogs. The team will eventually create an LLC called The Exotics Family, and each new line will utilize the same Meet Eugene model.
Brianna shared that she has been extremely fortunate to have gone to Babson for her undergraduate degree.
“I’ve utilized so many different Babson resources, including the Venture Accelerator program, the WIN Lab, and my current focus- the Summer Venture program which has already helped in launching my Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been able to cultivate a group of advisors who have helped me develop my business model and expand my ideas, and I have also worked on my company in all of my entrepreneurship and IT classes. Through each, I’ve been able to create marketing plans, work through financials, code my own website, develop a WebMD-like application for hedgehogs, and even launch my Kickstarter campaign. I have also taken advantage of Babson’s networking events to make as many connections as possible, and teach people about Eugene, the company, and our mission.”
Most Commonly Asked Questions When People ‘Meet Eugene’
- Is that real?
- What is that, a porcupine?
- Can I touch him?
- Does it hurt?
- Wait, those are pets?
- Is he sneezing?
- Does he roll in a ball?
- Are they fast?
- Where can I get one?