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University of Alberta law student turns entrepreneur with new beauty product

Courtesy of the Edmonton Journal and Post Media

Law student Ola Cislik isn’t daunted by the long hours needed to keep up with her studies — she has also launched a company she hopes will take the world of beauty products by storm.

Cislik, 24, has created GlamPods, ventilated plastic shells she sees filling a niche created by the need to properly store popular tear-shaped sponge brushes such as Beautyblender used to apply makeup.

“They’re very common. There’s millions of them sold a year … (but) they hadn’t launched anything to carry the sponge in,” the second-year University of Alberta law school student said.

“People would do these do-it-yourself solutions. They would poke holes in plastic bags.”

While she was working at a drugstore in the summer of 2016, she decided there must be a market for a better container and spent the next six months creating one, developing a sketch of what she wanted that she discussed with store customers.

Then an artist used a 3-D printer to come up with about 20 prototypes until she saw what she wanted.

“We had this beautiful rendering of what the product should look like — very sleek, modern, compact. It’s a process to get to that point.”

Once the final version was ready, Cislik looked for a manufacturer. She talked to a couple of factories in China, but she wasn’t comfortable with the communications barriers and distance and eventually linked up with an injection moulding company in Airdrie. 

The GlamPod was finally launched last July. Cislik, who leads a team of three, juggled a summer legal job at the Alberta Investment Management Corp. and nights that lasted until 1 a.m. running her company.

“I truly love working on this. For me, it doesn’t feel like work. Some people do other things. I spend my evenings and weekends working on this.”

So far, she has sold a few hundred GlamPods, which cost $21, or $25 with a sponge, and has a goal of cracking 1,000 sales in early 2018. The factory can make and ship 10,000 units a week, so increased capacity isn’t a problem.

Most customers are makeup artists or travellers, with purchases made online or through an American beauty school, although Cislik hopes to sign a deal with a major retailer such as Hudson’s Bay.

GlamPod is already self-sustaining, even though she isn’t being paid yet and has invested thousands of dollars into the operation.

But the budding entrepreneur said she wouldn’t have started her venture any differently, saying she learns more about the business world every day.

“It’s nice to look back a year in and you have created something … Try to connect with people who know more than you and can help you not have so much self-doubt,” she said.

“There’s always competitors. It’s up to us to bring it to market before they get to us.”

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