Profile: Moritz Sticher ‘10
Company: Nail Nuk LLC www.nailnuk.com
Nail Nuk Co-Owners: Hector Ledesma ‘10 Tracey Shanks ’10 Moritz Sticher ‘10
Education/Professional Background: Undergraduate Degree: Optoelectronics, Graduate Degrees: MS Photonics, MBA. Project Manager/Engineer in Optics Research and Development
Years as an entrepreneur: 1
Product: Customized artificial nails sold at a kiosk in shopping malls and through an online shop http://www.nailnuk.com.
What is the value of your Thunderbird experience in relation to becoming an entrepreneur? As my goal was to start a business after Thunderbird I tried to tailor my courses to this requirement. I would say most useful in regards to that was beside to Prof. Hisrich’s Global Business Plan class the Entrepreneurship Winterim which I can highly recommend as it gives some deep insights into the everyday challenges of being an entrepreneur and the ups and downs linked to it.
How did the idea for the business come about? The technology involved was discovered by my partner Hector back in 2004 in China. During our time at Thunderbird we then developed several concepts in the Global Business Plan class of Prof. Hisrich which finalized in the startup of a company.
Do you have a business plan? How relevant is the document to the business?
We had several business plans which helped us to understand the market and the key parameters driving the financials of this kind of business. The more the business evolved the less relevant the business plan became as the reality required corrective actions to the concept.
How have you funded your venture? We funded the venture by ourselves.
How are you building your customer base? We are first of all relying on the high traffic of the shopping mall – currently Orlando Fashion Square. Moreover, we are using loyalty cards to create returning customers. As an additional channel, we tried working with nail salons to make them distribute our product outside the shopping mall.
How are you marketing your venture?
Both through flyers distributed inside the mall and in the neighborhood. Additionally, we are using different types of coupons to make customers try the product. Besides that we are using online advertisements, social media and target directly groups of interest with promotional campaigns.
What is an average workday like for you? Working at the kiosk for around 8hours minimum per day, while at the same time trying to do some work online. In the evenings we usually discuss strategic, financial and operational issues, create plans, deal with technology issues, order supplies etc.
What three pieces of advice would you offer other start up entrepreneurs?
1) Do not quit your day job till the business is cash flow positive
2) Be patient and know that it will take longer and cost more than anticipated (rule of thumb around 2-3 times for both)
3) Listen to the customer and be flexible to adapt your product or service to what the market demands most.
What motivates you? I am motivated by being able to create something new and working in many different areas at the same time. I need a fast-paced environment and constant changes to remain challenged and appreciate to have great people working with me.
Who is your greatest supporter? Our board of advisors was always there for us when we needed support besides their other obligations.
What makes you happy? If I am motivated and I feel that what I am doing is actually what I want to do and not a compromise. Other important factors that make me happy are the people that surround me and the place I am living.
If you could reside anywhere in the world, where would you live? I feel most comfortable being able to change my place of living frequently and have a hard time naming a place I would want to reside as every city has its own special charm and I could think of many I like being at.