Faculty of Charleston Scholar Entrepreneur of the 12 months Breaks the Mildew with FlipRings

Charleston, South Carolina, June 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — It’s wonderful what may result from a small flash of inspiration. For Nicole Birnbaum, a rising senior on the Faculty of Charleston who’s majoring in communication, such a second passed off early in her freshman yr. It was an epiphany that led to the creation of a profitable business enterprise – FlipRings – and to her profitable Scholar Entrepreneur of the 12 months for 2021-22.

Again within the fall of 2019, when the Faculty was shuttered as a consequence of Hurricane Dorian, Birnbaum spent that week at dwelling in New Jersey together with her mother and father. Her father occurred to have a black silicone ring that he used instead of his wedding ceremony band when understanding or doing different actions. The youthful Birnbaum questioned if rings like that have been obtainable in a variety of colours.

“I discovered myself enjoying with that factor,” she recollects, “as a result of silicone is stretchy and it’s simply enjoyable to play with. That made me surprise if I might discover the identical product obtainable in different colours. I went on-line, however couldn’t discover something like that. At the least it didn’t seem that anybody was making and advertising and marketing such merchandise to folks my age. So, I began considering, ‘What in case you might simply have a hoop with some enjoyable, expressive phrases on it, form of like these bracelets that was once so widespread just a few years in the past?’ That’s the place it began.”

When Birnbaum refers to “all of it,” she’s being greater than modest. Launched within the winter of 2020, her enterprise steadily gained recognition after the primary fashions appeared. By the top of 2021, FlipRings had exceeded $500,000 in product sales.

“Our first mannequin had the phrase ‘espresso’ engraved on the skin and ‘tequila’ on the within,” she explains. “Flip rings, proper? You possibly can reverse them inside or out. I really like graphic design and designing issues on the whole, so at that stage, I used to be simply enjoying round. Ultimately, I discovered a provider and ordered some samples. I confirmed these to the ladies who have been my roommates, however I didn’t inform them that I had created this stuff. They immediately cherished the idea, and it simply took off after that. The pictures of them carrying the rings have been the primary components of our advertising and marketing collateral for FlipRings.”

Birnbaum, who partnered together with her dad to get FlipRings off the bottom, has made efficient use of social media – primarily Instagram – to advertise the rings. She now has over 36,000 followers on that platform and a few 30-plus scholar ambassadors at universities throughout the U.S. And all of the whereas, she’s managed to maintain a low profile.

“Initially, I wished to create a form of group round FlipRings,” she says, “and I wished to get it on the market that the individual behind this was 19. However I didn’t really need folks to know that it was me. So, I labored to make our Instagram presence private and interactive. I believe that was the proper components as a result of we’re nonetheless doing very well with gross sales. And most of that’s as a result of our outreach speaks in the proper tone to folks my age. Basically, what we’re providing is about self-expression and having enjoyable, and I believe that resonates.”

Simply as FlipRings was getting off the bottom, Birnbaum arrange an account with the e-commerce platform Shopify.

“That’s proper when lots of people have been spending an amazing period of time on the net due to the COVID-19 lockdown,” she explains. “The timing actually helped lots as a result of the enterprise simply exploded at that time. I additionally assume it’s essential that my firm places a giant emphasis on empowerment and moods. The entire concept is to assist folks present that moods change on a regular basis, and that’s OK. FlipRings assist folks specific themselves by means of an adjunct.”

Final fall, to reinforce her enterprise expertise and pursue a minor in entrepreneurship, Birnbaum enrolled within the CofC course Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Over the preliminary weeks of that class, she grew to know the professor – David Wyman – pretty effectively. It was Wyman who beneficial she enter the Faculty’s Scholar Entrepreneur of the 12 months competitors.

“I actually wasn’t ,” she recollects. “When he instructed me that I’d must make a presentation in entrance of the judges and about 60 different folks, I knew I didn’t need to do it. I’ve anxiousness round public talking, however Dr. Wyman insisted. He mentioned the expertise can be good for me. And, he was proper. I discovered that I can’t be nervous. I imply, FlipRings is my enterprise and I do know it totally, so I simply had to talk about it in a means that related with the judges and the viewers.”

In the end, Birnbaum’s presentation prevailed and she or he gained prime honors in that annual competitors, strolling away with the $1,000 prize. However extra invaluable to her are the teachings she discovered and the connections she made within the course of.

“I’ve discovered lots by working my very own enterprise and discovering methods to put it up for sale,” she says. “The competition was one other side of that studying journey. And I’ve discovered that there are lot of scholars on the Faculty who’re working small companies. In actual fact, together with Billy Barlia and Oliva DeSisto (two different college students within the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course), we’ve began a brand new membership to assist and encourage this – the Founders Membership. We’ve solely been lively since January, however we’ve received about 15 members and everybody appears eager to maintain it going subsequent yr.”

Within the interim, Birnbaum will spend the summer season dividing her time between Charleston and her dwelling in New Jersey. She’ll proceed to handle FlipRings, however says she doesn’t need to focus solely on that.

“I’ll even be doing a distant internship this summer season,” she affords. “It’s a inventive consulting function with an promoting company primarily based in California. I’ll assist them with designs for occasions and adverts for shoppers, doing issues like selecting shade schemes and serving to orchestrate occasions.”

And, what about her future as an entrepreneur?

“I don’t actually have a plan,” Birnbaum says. “I don’t know if that’s good or dangerous; I’m simply having fun with the second. I’m increasing to different merchandise. We’re now doing cranium caps or flip beanies for winter and flip bucket hats for summer season. However my enterprise is so new. It’s solely been two years, and I simply need to see the place it may possibly go. I can do no matter I would like with this enterprise, and that’s what I really like about it.”

  • Faculty of Charleston
  • Faculty of Charleston
        

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