May 6, 2013
For graduates, the eight semesters of coursework leads to one of a college student’s most coveted items – a diploma. But undergrad student Carly Paul, a 2010 alumnus, had a much bigger achievement after her graduation: her own patented project.
The project, called Synji, is a blend of organic ingredients that helps wash the face and clear the skin of acne, improving skin quality and complexion.
Synji has a growing popularity in Colorado Springs. It’s sold in five local areas including the Broadmoor and UCCS. However, it didn’t start out as a big project. Paul, who has a degree in nutrition and is currently set on obtaining a Master of Science degree, prepared it by accident in the shower.
“I had just gotten my hair done,” said Paul. “I wanted to keep the black dye in so I made this product which I [used] on my head and on my face. [Afterward] my skin looked amazing, my face was so clear.”
Completely excited, Paul sought feedback from her friend and now business partner Lupita Carrasco.
“It looked and smelled really bad,” Carrasco said. “But I put it on myself and was amazed. [My skin] went from being scratchy to really supple and soft. I put it on my son. It just worked.”
Synji was born.
The two friends worked closely to bring it to the public.
“I have the ideas, but Carrasco is the voice of reason,” says Paul. Together, they brainstormed the needed steps to getting a patent.
The process to obtaining her patent was not easy, Paul said. “I started giving it out in plastic bags to everyone in the street.” It was during this time that Paul began to have a bigger image for her product.
“I told my mom, this happened and I need to patent it, Lapita said so,” said Paul.
Paul said her mother paid for the patent attorney. “That was really good; things that you think that do not matter really do. It was the worst final exam – we didn’t have a formula.”
“The attorney wanted to know everything,” said Paul. “That was the biggest initial struggle…he wanted to know every teaspoon.”
“We didn’t have a formula,” said Carrisco.
Synji has been patent pending for two years, and the process could go to seven. But this does not bother Paul.
“It’s my idea, and because I did this before I sold it, I am protected. I have a worldwide protection,” she said.
The next major obstacle was to get the product ready to be sold in individual units and stores around town. Paul wanted her product to look the most professional and spent the bulk of her time preparing Synji right in her own home.
“It was exhausting,” she said. After months of preparation, Paul’s first attempt to get her product on the shelf was at Poor Richard’s. However, inexperience proved fatal for her first contact and she was not able to persuade the company to by her product.
“I wasn’t ready and I learned from that experience,” said Paul. She repackaged and reassessed her development of her product, spending countless hours in final preparation.
It paid off.
Synji went from being sold at two craft stores last fall to being available at local shops and on display at UCCS.
“I talked to Kim Webber, she was so nice,” Paul said. “The UCCS bookstore was the first place I didn’t know anyone and had no connection aside from graduating there. But I talked to Kim and it was easy.”
Next came four other local shops including the Broadmoor.
“It’s at the cosmetic shop, the equivalent to being at Nordstrom,” said Carrisco. “They’re really high end, we’ve had great success there.”
Despite growing sales, the duo doesn’t expect to see the product in a major business such as Whole Foods. And that’s how they would like to keep the product.
“The whole thing behind Synji is that we want to get behind small business,” Carrasco said. “As a company, its whole goal was to support small business, local; it won’t be in Whole Foods.”
Since its creation, Paul has received much support. “My family has helped and everyone that has started,” Paul said.
“I’ve always wanted to make things like that and buy them instead of buying them, and now I know how to do it. School taught me so much and UCCS [had] a big part.”
Though she has accomplished a major goal, and she hasn’t stopped yet.
“I was disheartened and discouraged, but when I did this with Synji, I believed in God and it put into perspective that he believes in me,” she said.
“I’m not discouraged. I would not have been able to do it without school. I’m glad I finished, you never know how things will turn out, keep placing one foot in front of the other.”
Synji is available at UCCS in 8 oz. and 1.2 oz. containers for $25-$40 and $10-$15 respectively. Those interested can learn more about Synji at synji.com.