Babson Undergraduate Business Pivots to Create Beauty Brand for all Women on the Go
Jamie Steenbakkers ’18 and Michael Leahy ’18 are the founders of Busy Beauty, a personal care and beauty company that helps women get ready and look better, faster. Their first product is a Showerless ShaveTM gel that helps women feel clean and look shaved whether they are travelling, in a rush, or not in the mood for “shower acrobats”. This new and improved brand came out of much time and effort in pivoting their business to reach their key audiences.
The Shaving Dilemma
Shortly after her first year at Babson, Steenbakkers had the idea of a shaving product that would give her the ability to shave inside her room and not in the cramped dorm showers. She also found that she was forgetting to shave and needed a product that was easy, convenient, and didn’t involve getting wet. She shared the idea with Leahy and he pitched it to Babson’s Butler Venture Accelerator and received very positive feedback.
“We met and began our long journey of designing, developing and sourcing a great product which fit our personal values, using the best natural ingredients that were healthy for your skin and the environment, ” says Steenbakkers.
This is when the original venture, Lixa was born.
Steenbakker and Leahy were eager to jump to selling their product. They created all the design, naming, and branding themselves and pushed their product to sales.
“From several months of selling, pitch competitions, and then entering into the Summer Venture Program we were always getting hints and clues that our design and brand did not resonate with our target market,” says Steenbakker. “The hardest part about pivoting is accepting that you need to pivot.”
The Lixa team had to take a step back from selling product and really look at the company they were building. They conducted surveys and focus groups, talked to customer and designers, and brainstormed the future of their brand.
“Everyone at Babson and ourselves (admittedly) were attached to our old brand, we had spent years on it, it was our baby, and we did not want to let it go,” says Steenbakker.
The New and Improved Brand
The team has finally launched their new and improved brand, Busy Beauty. Busy Beauty is looking to expand into a nationwide brand that resonates with millennials. The current Showerless ShaveTM product is one of a kind and they are looking to expand their product line to other fast beauty products such as dry shampoo and dry body wash.
“Women are at the point where tattoo eyeliner and lipstick are an option. In my opinion, this is a sign of desperation to skip the makeup routine, and we know there is a better solution,” says Steenbakker.
The team has a two year plan that will hopefully land them in chain stores such as CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.
The Babson Community
“Babson College has been the key to our success, from idea to pivot they have been there every step of the way,” says Steenbakker. Steenbakker and Leahy started their idea in the first year FME course and got a taste of what it is really like to run a business. That class made them realize they could make their business idea into reality. The Babson community is constantly giving suggestions on how to improve their business and brand and is always available to bounce ideas off of for improvement.
The Summer Venture Program gave the Busy Beauty team the time and dedicated space they needed to focus on the pivot of their business.
“Coming into the summer we knew our current brand wasn’t the best, but had no intentions of pivoting. After a one hour chat with our Babson advisor on our first week we had made the decision to change,” says Steenbakker. “Babson gives us the support and confidence to take risks and push forward, always knowing that someone is there to catch you when you fall.”