When computer scientist Regina Ye came back from the 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration to her college dorm in South Hadley, MA, she discovered that something hadn’t quite worked. The bottle of her make-up remover oil had leaked inside her suitcase, ruining all her clothes.
As both a globetrotter who traveled in 22 different countries and a consumer of beauty products, Ye felt the need to find an effective solution for packing shampoo, conditioner and other beauty essentials since a very young age. But her entrepreneurial insight stayed in the background until the summer before her junior year, when two things happened that made her become the founder of ZIRUI – a retail company selling a magnetic beauty case that stores liquids safely.
First, Ye interned as a user experience designer in Berlin, Germany and the whole experience gave her knowledge and awareness on how users interact with products. Second, that disastrous experience with her suitcase in October 2016, after coming back from the biggest gathering of women in science in Texas, fueled her ambition to find a solution once and for all.
“I still have a stain right now on my suitcase,” Ye, currently a senior at Mount Holyoke College (a female liberal arts college), said in an interview. “That was the last drop.”
Back to campus, Ye pitched her idea for an anti-leak beauty case in her entrepreneurship class and to a few friends, family members and college community. In January 2017, she made her first prototype by using the 3-D printer at school and kept improving it during the spring. By summer 2017, she had to choose between a bunch of computer science internships and the Valley Venture Mentors, a summer accelerator program based Springfield, MA.
She picked the accelerator program. Fast-forwarding until November 1st, Ye launched a Kickstarter campaign that currently raised almost $15,000.
Here’s a short video showing how the product looks like:
The final prototype of the ZIRUI beauty case includes a mirror and four modules: three 1-ounce bottles that can be filled with liquids and one box for other beauty items. Each pump on the bottles – which are triangle-shaped to save space – is lockable. All the components come together in a travel-size case that is 4.6 inches long.
Currently, early Kickstarter bidders can buy a ZIRUI case for $47, but the full package (that includes the four bottles and a mini-sized brush to clean them) costs $75.
Ye said that the product will be manufactured in China.