EMBA Project Becomes Successful Beauty Business
On an evening not too long ago, Leticia Cabrera-Calvo solved two problems with one brushstroke. She needed to come up with a project for her summer Executive MBA class at Loyola Marymount University, one that provided a product or service to the public.
But first, as she was putting on her makeup, she needed to clean her brush to apply another color. At that moment the idea was born that became Color Switch, to be made by her yet-to-be formed company Vera Mona.
And with that idea, Cabrera-Calvo put in the hard work to make it happen, from conception, through research and design, to presentation in an academic “Shark Tank” setting, to breaking into the market. Color Switch caught the attention of beauty bloggers and a crowdsourced funding campaign quickly led to 5,000 followers. “I can’t believe I made something people were so excited about,” said Cabrera-Calvo. Color Switch utilizes reticulated sponges; the pores quickly and efficiently shake the bristles to remove all makeup residue.
She said her Executive MBA coursework taught her the fundamentals for running her business, covering all the financial aspects. But more, she was able to reach out to her cohort and professors for advice and assistance. That was useful when she began to put Color Switch together. She was working full time while attending school on weekends, and found the materials she needed at her workplace, which she said she is grateful to for their tuition assistance. When she was ready, she sold a few units and it quickly caught on.
Right from the start, Cabrera-Calvo’s sales at Vera Mona were doubling every month. She’s been in business for six years, and Vera Mona now makes 10 products, including brush care tools and accessories. Color Switch is sold by Sephora under the Vera Mona brand. She has added full-time employees and is always looking for new ventures.
“I knew the EMBA program would make a great impact on my career but I didn’t expect it to change my life in such an amazing way,” said Cabrera-Calvo. “It put me outside of my comfort zone which pushed me to become a better version of myself. I would recommend the program to anyone wanting to take the next step.”