We caught up with alumna Lucy Smith ’13 this fall. You know Lucy from some of the amazing videos she has produced for Grandview– like this one that completely captures the community, this one about life as a Kindergarten student, and this one about graduating from Grandview.
Lucy is currently a sophomore in the College of Business at Florida State University. This past summer Lucy was accepted into the University’s selective Entrepreneurship major. Since declaring, she has been up to some pretty incredible things: for starters, founding a company called Tribe Tats. Tribe Tats are jewelry-inspired temporary tattoos– a shimmering trend that is blazing through college campuses and changing how we think of jewelry. Here’s what Lucy had to say about entrepreneurship and the trials and tribulations of starting a business:
Why has entrepreneurship appealed to you? Why did you decide to apply to the program?
I always knew that I wanted my major to fall under the College of Business. Florida State University is one of the only universities in the country that offers a personalized three-year program in Entrepreneurship for the 40 students who are accepted into the major at the end of their freshman year. When I saw the opportunity to apply for this major I immediately knew I would love the opportunity. During my senior year at Grandview I participated in the “Shark Tank” project in Mr. Sack’s economics class. I absolutely loved the creativity behind what being an entrepreneur entailed and I owe it to Mr. Sack for helping me find this passion.
What was the inspiration behind Tribe Tats?
Tribe Tats are jewelry inspired temporary tattoos. Metallic temporary tattoos are becoming a huge trend across Florida State University and other universities nationwide. There are a few companies that are offering similar products, but when brainstorming with my business partner we realized the other similar products were lacking color. Therefore, we began to research the market to create a better product. Our tattoos are mainly gold, silver, black, and blue and last up to six days. They are a perfect way to be unique with your style for any occasion.
Our students are intrigued by the process of beginning a business. Can you please take us through the steps you have taken to get to where you are today?
Tribe Tats is within its first few months of business. As of now, Tribe Tats is not an officially registered company. Tribe Tats works and operates under a Registered Student Organization (RSO). All of our profits go back to our program, the Young Entrepreneurship Society. YES then takes loans out of our profits and donates the money we need to continue to grow through a microgrant. If Tribe Tats wishes to continue in business after the conclusion of our first year of sales, then we must go through the registration process to become a LLC. This is a great way for any students who want to try out their business ideas without taking on the full liability and pressure of a company immediately.
Have you had to overcome any obstacles in this process?
Tribe Tats is relatively new and still in the growing process.Thus far, my company has overcome a few small obstacles. It was important to make sure our manufacturer was reliable. This meant sacrificing potential profit in exchange for a higher quality product. Additionally, predicting what the consumer would want to buy was also a challenge. We want to make sure the products we are making and selling are appealing to our customers.
How did you go about the process of designing and production?
The original vision for Tribe Tats was to create metallic temporary tattoos with a FSU theme. At first I looked into creating our own tattoos. I researched to find a supplier to make the product, but it was hard to find a company who could make a safe product for an affordable price. Then I went to the Florida State chemistry lab to find a student willing to help me make them on campus. Ultimately, I realized as a startup business that it just simpler to find the products and purchase them at wholesale. However, once Tribe Tats generates enough capital through this distribution method, we plan to expand and begin to actually create our own personalized designs geared toward different consumers to increase our appeal.
What is your goal for the business?
Tribe Tats is my first-ever company. My main goal is to learn how to run a business and grow as an entrepreneur through my successes and failures along the way. I ultimately have bigger plans to start bigger businesses– this is just the beginning.
How has your time at Grandview impacted the choices you have made thus far at FSU?
Grandview’s learning environment made me into the student I am today. I thrived in Grandview’s small environment and Florida State was a big change; however, Grandview’s community instilled values and a work ethic within me that gave me a passion to work hard at my own pace regardless of the huge lecture hall classes. I believe the entrepreneurship program enticed me because I knew it was a small program with a very selective application process. This is my favorite class at Florida State because I have a personal connection with my professor– that definitely reminds me of the Grandview community.
How can our Grandview community purchase Tribe Tats?
Tribe Tats has a website, Facebook, and Instagram. Our products can be ordered online through our website or by emailing me and then paying for them in cash. I will be able to hand deliver any products to Grandview or the surrounding area through November 29th, after this date the products will be shipped. Our information is listed below:
Thanks so much, Lucy! We wish you the best with Tribe Tats and look forward to an update as your business grows.