This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
Founder: Doyinsola Oladimeji-Stevens ’20
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
Oladimeji-Stevens: O•pal•es•cent Nails is a custom handmade press-on nail company for the booked, the busy, and the bougie. Our purpose is to give people back their time, convenience, and money without sacrificing on quality. We are targeting people who are tired of spending hundreds of dollars a month on nails that on average only last 2 weeks before they have to go in and do the same thing all over again. Millions of dollars are spent annually on nails that might last for 3 weeks at best. Why buy something temporary when you can invest in something long-lasting?
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
Oladimeji-Stevens: I had always been interested in nails and nail art. In high school, I would spend hours on a Saturday doing a nail design on my left hand that would end up chipping by the next week. I initially bought some nail tips sophomore year of college to be able to do the same designs but in a form that I could reuse. I first came up with my business idea in October and it was as if a light bulb went off. I honestly thought to myself, “Why hadn’t I been doing this sooner?!”
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
Oladimeji-Stevens: I did presales in mid-February and launched my business’s Instagram. I officially launched on April 17, 2020 and have been slowly but surely growing since. I was also accepted into the Terp Startup Accelerator for the Summer ☺.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
Oladimeji-Stevens: I honestly love what I do. I found something that no matter how difficult or strenuous the work, research, and promotion may be, I would not want to do anything else. I’m constantly thinking of designs I can put on nails or looking for ways I can be inspired. With nails, I can express myself by putting my art and vision out into the world. I am also helping others explore their creative and fashionable side.
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
Oladimeji-Stevens: I love being surrounded by so many ambitious people like myself. Most of their business ventures are very different from mine, but I can still gain insight from them especially as people who do not understand the world of nails. I can see things through their eyes and the same can be said about them when they try to pitch their products and services. It’s very easy to think you can do everything on your own, but help and advice from others is super important to growth and fruitfulness.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
Oladimeji-Stevens: During Terp Startup, I want to learn the legal aspects of running a business because I want to see Opal grow into a large international company that rivals companies like Kiss and Static Nails. I also want to learn how to become better at marketing because it is such a different thing when you are running a business and you want to have a professional side but at the same time have fun with it. Financials are a really important aspect of running a business, as well and I want to learn how to manage them better and be able to show them to investors when I do pitches. I hope to grow my page’s Instagram followers to at least 500 and to finish research on other product offerings.