Neha Raman believes in having a say in what her product looks like.
Ever since she was young, her interest in nail polish and nail art prompted her to consider why there weren’t enough specific color shades of polish she wanted. Thinking there would be a product to help mix different colors and shades, Raman searched online for a more customizable approach.
“It turns out nothing actually existed,” said Raman, a sophomore international business major. “So I thought about it like, ‘This might actually be a really cool product to come out with.”
It inspired Raman to create the “Rungh System,”—‘rungh’ meaning ‘colors’ in Hindi—a way to create your own nail polish. It is the centerpiece product of Rungh Cosmetics, a company she started last year.
A Rungh set is a kit with six nail polish bottles full of colorless and chemically-safe nail polish base, 18 color pigment capsules with three of each shade, a battery-operated mixer and mixing wands. By mixing two or more colors with the mixer in the nail polish base, consumers can create their own color nail polish in just 60 seconds.
Raman thought of this idea during high school, but it wasn’t until last year when she began taking the premise of starting her own business seriously. Being a little less than a year into her classes, Raman had to tackle entrepreneurship blind. Most of what she developed and learned about her business came from experience.
“I kind of had to learn the ropes and teach myself different things that haven’t really come with class but just kind of been me learning how to do things on the spot,” Raman said.
She had to research what goes into nail polish, how to make it and to determine the specifics of her mixer, which was custom-made to work with her product.
“We had to work with a lot of different details and make sure everything was safe and tested, make sure nothing would catch on fire or freeze,” she said. “It was very much testing, calling different people, trying out different samples.”
Raman received support from her parents, and she credits them for how far she has come with the company. She said the reaction to Rungh has been great so far and is ecstatic to see her nail polish being used by friends and family. She’s even caught the attention of her professors, who have complimented Raman on how much she has already learned from starting her own business.
In terms of balancing classes with Rungh, Raman said it hasn’t been too hectic yet. Her business does remain the top priority for her whenever something urgent comes up, but she is preparing herself for when things do ramp up.
Now more than ever though, it’s been key for Raman to keep consistent in communicating with her audience and establishing her own brand. It’s why Raman is constantly updating her social media accounts for Rungh and making videos on YouTube explaining how to make a specific color nail polish or showing off behind the scenes of a photo shoot.
“I really want to establish a good brand name with Rungh,” Raman said. “I want people to know that when they buy the nail polish, they’re getting a good quality nail polish. … I always wanted it to be a company, I didn’t want it to just be like a one-hit wonder kind of product.”
Raman’s next big plans include entering the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl 2016 and working toward getting Rungh Cosmetics on store shelves. In much the same way she felt starting her own potential future, Raman feels Rungh can instill people with a feeling of creative strength.
“I think it just creates pride in yourself—it makes you feel good knowing, ‘I created this,’” she said.
Albert Hong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.