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BW Alum and Entrepreneur Launches Unique Eye Makeup Company

Photo of Kerri Butcher - Miné StencilsTrue success often comes with a few hurdles along the way, and it can take years before an entrepreneur sees their hard work come to fruition. For Kerri Butcher '05, it took 10 years to launch her business, Miné Stencils, a health-conscious, environmentally friendly beauty company. The patented product includes eye stencil kits that simplify the process of applying eye shadow using templates to pat a gradient eyeshadow pattern onto the eyelid area.

An initiative inspired long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of Miné Stencils arrived at an ideal time. With face masks worn everywhere from work to the grocery store, many women are searching for new ways to wear makeup to highlight the only facial feature that is visible - the eyes. The stencils offer a simple and fun way to apply perfect eyeshadow, whether someone is heading to work in an office or jumping on a Zoom call from home.

Butcher's inspiration for the product came years ago while she was a bridesmaid in a wedding. She says, "Because of work and family commitments, I had limited time to get ready but still wanted my makeup to look professional. I searched for tools or stencils for the look I wanted to achieve but could not find any. As a result, I created my stencil prototype."

Overcoming Challenges to Build a Sustainable Business

Photo of Miné Stencils Ooh La La Stencil KitWhile she never imagined it would take this long to launch Miné Stencils, Butcher was able to overcome several challenges during that time, including designing and refining a cosmetic product that received approval from all trial users, identifying health-conscious materials, and finding an environmentally friendly and economical manufacturing process. This has resulted in a final product made with reusable BPA and phthalate-free, food-grade LDPE plastic.

"I did not know back then that it would take me 10 years to launch my product," Butcher says. "The process of researching materials, testing product designs, filing a patent and finalizing the design of my product took more time, energy and money than I ever imagined."

She also wanted to ensure that the products would be diverse and work for different facial features, such as the size or shape of the eye or the brow height. Miné Stencils consulted with makeup artists and tested prototypes on over 100 women of various ethnicities and ages.

The time investment was significant. Butcher says, "My nights and weekends were often spent on my startup as I worked as a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisor. I truly enjoyed the long journey, and I am grateful to have made it this far. While work-life balance is not always easy, I find it important to make time for family and friends, as life is short and the simple moments in life are often the sweetest."

Building a Foundation of Leadership and Support at BW

While she worked toward a degree in political science and international studies, Butcher built a foundation for leadership and success at BW by taking advantage of several opportunities.

She says, "I truly valued the wonderful opportunities Baldwin Wallace offered me. I look back fondly at my time as a BW Student Senator, Alpha Phi and study abroad student at American University in Washington D.C. and Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. My experiences built a solid foundation for learning and leadership. The guidance and support I received from BW faculty helped pave my path as a student."

After earning an MBA in Finance from Case Western Reserve University and building a career in her field, Butcher later connected with Lacey Kogelnik and Hannah Schlueter in the BW Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG) and received support and mentorship while launching Miné Stencils. She says, "I worked with a team of four awesome BW interns and three wonderful BW mentors from the CIG over the past few years who helped encourage and support me throughout our launch."

The CIG also connected Butcher with the opportunity to apply for funding from the Sears think[box] Community Project Fund (Case Western Reserve University), which offered Miné Stencils the funds to support product development with laser etch, die-cutting and die-cut stencils.

Early Success and Media Attention

Photo of Kerri Butcher and Kathy IrelandButcher officially launched Miné Stencils in August, which resulted in several invitations for TV appearances. She was excited to have the opportunity to demonstrate her product on Modern Living with kathy ireland on WEtv and Bloomberg, which airs in December 2020.

Miné Stencils will also be featured in numerous publications, including Crain's Cleveland Business and the Cleveland Business Journal.

She says, "I am so thankful to all the business professionals, material and product experts, makeup artists, investors, friends and family that have helped me along the way. I am genuinely grateful for all the growth opportunities BW has afforded me as I transitioned from a student to a professional and business owner."

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