When Kyleigh Mazer graduated in May, not only did she have a full-time job lined up –she was the CEO of her own company, Bend N' Bright.
In high school, Mazer aspired to be in theatre, but when she came to Ball State, her dreams shifted. She decided that she wanted to be a CEO and run a company, a dream that she thought would be achieved when she was 30 years old, not right out of college.
But a junior year class helped lead her down a “bright” path.
A professor challenged her class to go home over Thanksgiving break and think of something that they did every day that could be simplified. Mazer thought of brushing her teeth, and different ideas began to bounce around her head. She continued brainstorming in class and did research on the oral care industry then she re-visited the idea her senior year.
“For pretty much the entire year, I really just kinda thought this is the idea that’s gonna get me through the program," Mazer said. "It’s just gonna be a business plan idea, it’s just gonna be something on paper."
During her final presentation on April 12, however, two men approached her curious about her future plans with the company. She didn’t have one, but continued talking to them, realizing that her idea could become a business.
“It was a shocking moment to really sit back and be like okay, I have this plan for my life, and now I’m going to add something just as big to it,” Mazer said. “I had just accepted a full time job with another startup in Indy, so that was my plan. … Now I’m adding a startup for myself in there, too.”
Bend ‘N’ Bright focuses on creating toothbrush's designed for ages 2-11. The toothbrush itself folds in half to prevent germs and dispenses the right amount of toothpaste by pushing a button. Each toothbrush comes with three cartridges, and each cartridge lasts for one month.
Mazer recently appeared on Inside Indiana Business and went to a pitch competition to continue to get feedback on her idea. She is still researching and figuring out the cost for her product, as well as testing it and finding test markets for her prototypes.
Her future goals are to get her idea patented and appear on ABC's "Shark Tank," a television show that gives entrepreneurs the chance to bring their business ideas to fruition.
While her current product targets kids, she would like to develop a similar toothbrush for adults and have a buy one, give one model for her business. Meaning that for every toothbrush bought another one would go to homeless or adoption centers, natural disaster relief and placed in military care packages.
“Having the opportunity in a business or as an entrepreneur, I think it’s so important to give back any way you can," Mazer said. "I guess that’s the biggest piece I would ever push with Bend ‘N’ Bright."
Krystal Geyer, assistant director of the entrepreneurship center, came to Ball State in December and was welcomed by Mazer. Throughout the spring, they continued to interact. Geyer also serves as the academic advisor for entrepreneurship majors.
Geyer said getting offers from investors is the hope for students, but it is not common.
“To see someone work so hard at something for so long, and then see them get that kind of success, it’s awesome,” Geyer said. “Everything about her. Her energy, how willing to help she is with everything, how hard she works … she’s the kind of person who people want to be around.”