The winners of this year’s annual Millersville University Shark Tank competition have been announced – congratulations to Clémence Hie for her “Ink Renewal” idea. Hie and her pitch were supported by fellow entrepreneur students Matt Shamany, Olga Urteaga Contīn, Kaelin Gable and Gabriella Messenger. The team won $300.
Hie is an exchange student from France who is in her first year of a master’s program in international business. Back home, she takes business, entrepreneurship, management and marketing classes. Hie attended Millersville during the spring semester.
Hie explains the Ink Renewal idea is for a tattoo shop that proposes flesh-colored tattoos to cover up scars. “The tattoo would be free, because it’s meant to improve mental health,” says Hei. “I think that we must make people feel better about themselves no matter the size of their wallet.”
“I’ve always been interested in tattoos and hope that one day, after working as a product manager for a while, I’ll open my tattoo shop,” she continues. “I started with the fact that we all have scars or marks on our body that bother us. Sometimes we prefer to hide them, so I wanted to give people an option to ‘erase’ these scars permanently. Lots of people may not want a tattoo with color because they are afraid of people judging them. The flesh-colored tattoo was then, for me, the best choice.”
Hie says that the process of developing this idea began in her art of entrepreneurship class. Each student had to develop a new product or service to present at the University’s 60-second Pitch Event. Overall, the team had about 2 weeks to take the idea from the 60-second pitch and prepare a 10-minute presentation for the Shark Tank event.
“For this 60-second speech, I was already talking about Ink Renewal to the judges,” Hie says. “My speech got me selected for the Shark Tank event. In the class, eight students were selected for their ideas, and these students were assigned a team of three or four people.”
Hie explains that she let her group carry out various tasks that would help her with her Shark Tank pitch, like conducting a survey to see if there was any interest in the tattoos, researching if insurance could potentially cover the tattoo or looking into what competitions the service would have, like laser removal.
“It was a really interesting experience,” says Hei. “As an international student speaking in front of judges in a language that is not your mother tongue is stressful. Being able to develop an idea that could exist is very motivating.”
Hie also added that one of the challenges of Shark Tank was the short deadline the team had to prepare such a project. “The event is pretty late in the semester, so everyone is busy studying. I didn’t want to overcharge the team with lots of work when this event doesn’t technically count as a grade.”
She continues by explaining that what helped her eventually win the competition was the personal importance the project had for her.
“It’s not a random idea,” Hie explains. “It’s way more motivating to be in a project that has a meaning. Winning the competition made me proud and comforted me by saying that my idea is good and that I should really develop it!”
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