Brittany Miyahara turned a homemade carpet hair brush into a shared apartment convenience – and then a Kickstarter project.
Miyahara, a senior at BYU from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., said she had taken clumps of hair out of her apartment’s vacuum twice in two months and was growing tired of it.
That’s when Miyahara created a rudimentary carpet comb by attaching a pet brush to the end of a broom stick to pick up the hair off the carpet. Miyahara and her roommates used their new carpet-cleaning tool for several months and even passed it around to almost a dozen other apartments, she said.
About a year later, Miyahara took an entrepreneurship class for her experience management major, in which she had to start a business with three other students. She decided to revamp her carpet hair comb idea.
“So (the carpet comb is) made entirely of wood now, and we were able to (buy) the bristles of a pet brush,” Miyahara said. “There is a single bend in the bristle so it picks up the hair and holds onto it.”
One of her friends, Jeff Shwarting, teaches a class at BYU focusing on Kickstarter, an online threshold pledge system for funding creative projects. Miyahara showed him her carpet comb idea a year ago when she first created the initial one. Shwarting encouraged her to turn it into a Kickstarter project, but she was hesitant to do so.
“I encouraged Brittany to enter her project mostly because I like to see people try,” said Shwarting, a BYU graduate in business management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. “Kickstarter allows people to try out ideas with minimal investment and risk, both short term and long term, so it’s the perfect mechanism for the aspiring entrepreneur to play around a bit and see what works.”
After Miyahara entered her remodeled Carpet Comb for her entrepreneurship class, she went back to Shwarting for help to get it up and running on Kickstarter.
Shwarting advised Miyahara to place her Kickstarter goal under $1000, where it would be placed in a small-project category that gets more traffic.
The class group launched its project on June 10 and made almost $200 on the first day; the group has until July 10 to reach its goal.
“We definitely have plans to continue it,” Miyahara said. “As part of the class … we have to get a provisional patent on our product.”