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Alumni-student entrepreneurship venture aids scholarship

By Aleta Mayne on May 29, 2012
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“One can be an entrepreneur at any age,” said Dr. Mark Mandel ’60 who, at age 73, has tapped Colgate students to help him launch a new philanthropic endeavor. Through the sales of high-end hair care products, Mandel will grow a college scholarship fund called the Foundation for the Advancement of College Education. Its acronym, F.A.C.E., is aptly named for Mandel’s lifework — he’s a longtime Beverly Hills–based plastic surgeon.

Dr. Mark Mandel ’60

Calling himself “a neophyte in the business arena,” Mandel pitched his concept to the university’s Entrepreneurs’ Club in spring 2011. Club founder Bharadwaj Obula Reddy ’12 accepted the challenge.

“I’m on financial aid, so when Dr. Mandel initially talked about how he was going to help someone else go to college, I really loved that idea,” Reddy said. “And once I got into the process, it was amazing to have the experience of launching a new product.”

Mandel commissioned two chemists who had developed all of Paul Mitchell’s formulations to create his trio of sulfate-, paraben-, and formaldehyde-free shampoo, conditioner, and glossing serum. Reddy was tasked with developing the marketing — relying partly on social media — and strategizing distribution.

Another member of the Entrepreneurs Club, Julia Won ’15, researched how other companies market to young adults. Although the line is for everyone, the team believes that young adults will have an interest in supporting a cause that benefits their own generation. Reddy has reached out to representatives at other college campuses to spread the word.

Art student Abi Conklin ’13 was brought on board to design the logos and branding. In addition, Conklin has been working with Reddy on a commercial as well as social media outreach. “As an artist, it’s awesome real-world experience,” Conklin said. “These are areas of the art world that I need to understand and make pertinent to my work.” Noting that Mandel has been open-minded and flexible to work with, Conklin said she thinks “it’s really nice to see somebody from another generation looking out for us.”

Reddy expects to fully roll out their marketing efforts by the end of summer, but the products are currently for sale in the Colgate Bookstore, campus C-Store, JJ’s Salon in Hamilton, and online. A basket of Dr. Mandel Beauty Products was also auctioned off at the Konosioni auction during Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend in April.

A minimum of three $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to eligible high school seniors this fall, and additional scholarships will be given as proceeds grow. Showing his commitment to the endeavor, Mandel will supplement any scholarship funds that the product sales do not cover. For more information, visit http://facescholarship.org and http://getmandel.com.

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