‘Making personal care personal’: QU student starts skincare small business

Neha Seenarine, Arts & Life Editor

Brian Ziegelhofer (left), a business administration graduate student, turned his interest for skincare into a small business, Composure Products. Photo by ( Ephemia Nicolakis/Quinnipiac University)

Brian Ziegelhofer, a business administration graduate student at Quinnipiac University, spent his summer in 2021 making lotions as a hobby. He then took himself to Google on how to flip a knack for a small business named Composure Products.

However, a business does not happen overnight. Ziegelhofer took his time to discover what methods were best to bring Composure Products to life.

“I spent so much time trying to figure out the right way to start my business,” Ziegelhofer said. “I didn’t know what to do first and dealing with the IRS and the state seemed super daunting…There are several step-by-step guides that all essentially say the same thing and make the process easy to digest.”

Composure Products is a skincare business focusing on “making personal care personal,” according to Ziegelhofer. The company is dedicated to homemade products for consumers’ individual needs.

“My formula was unique, super effective for moisturizing, and something that I could monetize,” Ziegelhofer said. “I then spent the remainder of the pandemic on research and development so I could eventually expand into other products ranging from shower steamers to massage oil.”

The global skincare industry is projected to reach USD $200.25 billion by 2026 according to Fortune Business. Zigelhofer saw the rise in the demand for skincare and took a chance on it on his own. However, he wasn’t concentrated on the profit, but rather on the people Composure Products would reach.

“(The skincare industry) is predominantly dominated by two companies, Bath and Body Works, in the domestic market and Lush in the international market,” Ziegelhofer said. “These giants are profit-driven rather than people-driven. My goal is to create an affordable, people-driven personal care company that can adequately compete in today’s market.”

Ziegelhofer received opportunities from Quinnipiac University to expose his business to the community around him.

“There have been pop-up shops on campus which have allowed me to sell and network with my peers,” Ziegelhofer said. “ There have also been individual vendor opportunities at the tables outside of Tator Hall. I was even given a partial grant from the Innovation Hub to help pay for labels for my room sprays.”

Composure Products has made its appearance at two Quinnipiac pop-up shops, Ziegelhofer said the feedback is the most rewarding part of owning a small business.

“The feedback from recurring users has easily been the most fulfilling part,” Ziegelhofer said. “I did the pop-up shop at the beginning of this year and several people recognized me from last year’s pop-up shop and told me how much they have used and liked my product. It is a small scale at the moment, but the positive feedback is super fulfilling.”

When working for a company is a traditional path after graduation, 61% of college graduates are interested in starting their own businesses according to The CT Corporation survey.

“Starting a business or a non-profit is super do-able,”  Ziegelhofer said. “Even if it does not end up becoming the next Google or Tesla, it is reasonable to create something semi-successful. If you have an idea that could potentially improve someone’s life, but do not know if or how to get started, starting anywhere is better than never starting at all.”